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Starting in 2016, and every year since, the Ayalik Fund has sponsored several youths to participate in the various programs offered by Northern Youth Leadership, a Yellowknife based organization which seeks to inspire confidence in youth, to develop the inner and outer resources needed to overcome challenges, reach their full potential, and create positive change in their communities. NYL serves the NWT community but generously makes space available to youths from Nunavut. Each year offers new opportunities of camps, canoe trips, and a youth forum out on the land, always with a traditional knowledge component layered onto the experience of being part of a team, making new friends, having new experiences.

Eric Amagonalok, 13, from Cambridge Bay
Eric Amagonalok, 13, from Cambridge Bay
Eric paddled with a group of boys for an 8-day canoe trip on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake. They fished, and swam, and picked berries, played games and cooked, endured some bad weather, and laughed together – all part of learning to work in a group.

Jill Avalak, 13, from Cambridge Bay
Jill Avalak, 13, from Cambridge Bay
Jill participated in a traditional skills wilderness camp program in the remote and scenic Mackenzie Mountains, west of Norman Wells, NWT, where she joined a group of Dene and Inuvialuit girls for eight days of camping, hiking, canoeing, swimming, learning traditional land skills from elders, and so much more. During discussion groups, they talked about sexual health, consent, bullying, and other important issues for young teenagers. During camp, each girl sewed a pair of traditional Dene rabbit fur mitts.
Boys from Nunavut
Boys from Nunavut discovering the thrill of climbing a tree during an NYL camp in the Mackenzie Mountains.

Kyla Komatsuit (13), from Cambridge Bay
Kyla Komatsuit (13), from Cambridge Bay
Kyla attended a March camp with Dene and Inuvialuit girls from across NWT. During their week in camp, the girls enjoyed a full program of new exciting activities: fishing through the ice (with great success!), preparation of traditional medicines, ptarmigan hunting, preparation of caribou skins, beading, cross-country skiing (with former Olympian Sharon Firth), traditional games, yoga, snowshoeing, and evenings of personal exploration through group discussion around the campfire.

Boys from Nunavut attend week-long camp
Two boys from Nunavut attended a week-long camp to share the experience of making a traditional Dene drum.

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Tall Ships Expeditions Canada
Encounters With Canada
Canadian Canoe Foundation (Coppermine River 2018)

Outward Bound Canada
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Canoe North (Keele River Expedition)

For an account of a special one-time expedition on the Keele River, organized
in partnership with Northern Youth, click on the Canoe North logo above.