On a rainy Thursday in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, last week a group of children, using paper and a sewing needle, built an amplifier for the turntables they were learning to make.
It was part of a four-week camp in July that incorporates traditional learning with science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM fields.
“I think it’s unbelievable,” said Olivia King, 10, who was part of the camp. “The people here are amazing, they really care about everyone. Make sure they’re safe.”
Turntable making was part of the music and storytelling camp, where King and more than 15 other young people in Tuktoyaktuk learned about the history of music recording. On the day he joined with local elders giving drumming dance lessons.
Another week the group learned about planting seeds.
One activity, and King’s favorite project, was the last week of camp where they worked with college and university students on STEM projects, including making papier-mâché planets while learning about the solar system.
That week was a national youth-to-youth initiative called Actua Canada, which travels the country offering youth camps designed to break down barriers to youth participation in science, engineering and technology. The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) invited the members of Actua.
Happy Friday!✨ We enter the second month of delivery of Camp Actua!
“We are very grateful to have their resources and to be able to work with them,” said Vivianne Kupovics, a student from Montreal who is one of three students who came with Actua. “It’s fantastic and it really helps kids have a strong structure too.”
The team, through various activities, taught coding and robotics, and did projects with the children such as making toy volcanoes, rockets and instruments.
“It helps kids understand,” Kupovics said.
For over a decade, Actua has been offering STEM programs throughout the NWT
Meeka Steen is the leader of the IRC Summer Camp in Tuktoyaktuk for children ages 5-12.
“Kids really enjoy it because it’s stuff they’ve never seen or done before,” he said, referring to listening to vinyl records and learning how it works.
Steen said some STEM activities helped her and local educators bring new ideas to the community.
Before reaching Tuktoyaktuk, the Actua group visited Sachs Harbour, Inuvik and Gamètì.
They then go to Nunavut to visit Kugaaruk and Cambridge Bay, and then to Fort Chipewyan in Alberta.
Ottawa student Jordyn Hendricks is with the Actua team and will start her first year at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto.
Hendricks said being able to have cultural elements tied to these camps is one of the “most important” aspects of the camps, especially since group members are guests in these communities.
“Especially as an indigenous person, I really value connecting with other indigenous people,” Hendricks said.
“I have been very grateful to have this experience, to share a bit of my southern culture with my own teachings and spirituality and to learn about other teachings and spirituality from other nations and indigenous peoples.”