Northern Youth Abroad a valuable experience
My husband, my son and I have had an opportunity this summer to work with a great agency, Northern Youth Abroad, a not-for-profit organization that cultivates youth leadership, individual career goals, cross-cultural awareness, and international citizenship amongst youth from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories aged 15-21.
We have opened our home and our hearts to two young ladies, Amber from Gjoa Haven and Lavinia from Grise Fiord, who have become part of our family and who have taught us so much about life in the north.
It surprised me how little we know about our northern territories, particularly Nunavut, where our northern youth are from.
People in the north are faced with many hardships including high percentages of high school drop outs, high rates of suicide, a high level of drug-alcohol use, high rates of teenage pregnancy, limited opportunities to travel, and very few school or training opportunities. Based on these studies, a group of educators came together and developed Northern Youth Abroad.
My family and I are very thankful to have had this opportunity to meet both Amber and Lavinia, and to have learned so much about Nunavut. It amazes me that such a wonderful place is right here in Canada and yet we know so little about Northern Canadians.
Our questions and curiousity sometimes seemed strange, but I kept reminding them that we are not intending to be ignorant, we really don’t know about life in the north, but we want to learn.
We are very glad we participated in the Northern Youth Abroad program this year. The things we’ve learned and the friends we’ve made have been amazing.
We hope to someday visit our new friends in Nunavut and see for ourselves the caribou, whales, northern lights, iceburgs, glaciers, inuksuks, musk ox, polar bears, and the midnight sun!
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