NURRAIT | JEUNES KARIBUS is a non-profit organization that is present throughout Nunavik. With our headquarters in Kuujjuaq, we offer an annual extracurricular outdoor education program for students aged 12-18. Schools from all 14 northern villages are welcome to participate in the program.
NURRAIT | JEUNES KARIBUS was inspired by Projet Karibu a four-month ski journey between Montreal and Kuujjuaq. During the school year 2013-2014, students from Jaanimmarik School had the opportunity to follow four professional outdoor guides; Jacob Racine, Bruno-Pierre Couture, Sébastien Dugas and Marie-Andrée Fortin, on their 2200 km expedition. After meeting with them upon their arrival in Kuujjuaq in May 2014, many were inspired by them and encouraged to take on a challenge as well.
Building on this energy, Maxime Saunier was able to convince people as Valérie Raymond from Jaanimmarik School to make his dream come true and create NURRAIT | JEUNES KARIBUS. At the beginning of the school year, in August 2014, students were encouraged to sign up for the outdoors option class which became the project’s framework. In fact, it is during this course that students prepared for their undertaking.
From August to March, the group of NURRAIT | JEUNES KARIBUS prepared physically by training through different physical activities but also worked on their team spirit and logistical preparation. They also learned how to use essential material.
In addition to this, Marie-Andrée Fortin from Projet Karibu joined the team as a mentor, motivation vector and experienced outdoor guide and educator.
To promote social development among Nunavik’s youth through an outdoor education intervention program.
For the pilot project, a group of seven students skied from Kuujjuaq to Tasiujaq. The expedition took place from March 19th to March 27th 2015. The group skied a total distance of 141 km in seven days. You can find more details, photos and videos about this journey on the project page.
After the pilot project edition many youth and community members were inspired by this initiative in Nunavik. Therefore, in the coming years, it is a goal to make this a regional program. Already, in 2015-2016, four communities on the Ungava Bay and one on the Hudson Bay are participating.
However, now that the program has solid foundations, a greater focus will be put on curriculum development to reach NURRAIT | JEUNES KARIBUS’s goals. Multiple preparation activities will be done throughout the year to strengthen academic knowledge, team bounding and leadership. It is hoped that the latter will all lead to higher perseverance amongst Nunavimiut youth.
For the next edition, the communities of Kuujjuaq, Kangirsuk, Tasiujaq, Aupaluk, and Kuujjuarapik will gather and make this a regional event.
A team from Kuujjuaq and Tasiujaq will merge and ski from Tasiujaq to Aupaluk while teams from Aupaluk, Kuujjuarapik and Kangirsuk will unite and ski from Kangirsuk to Aupaluk. This way, all five schools will meet in Aupaluk at the end of their journey.
In addition to this regional expansion NURRAIT | JEUNES KARIBUS aims at developing an educational curriculum in order to academic knowledge in the program by building hands-on activities. This will be an even greater motivation catalyst for students to stay in school and complete their education.
Furthermore, the Kativik Regional Government has also shown interest to work alongside with their outdoor adventure guide program in order to develop youth employability. Moreover, Parks Nunavik would also like to collaborate in order to have a team building outing in Kuururjuaq Park and share knowledge about the specific geography, fauna and flora present in Nunavik.
In short, NURRAIT | JEUNES KARIBUS is only at its beginning but has great potential to influence in a positive manner youth of Nunavik in particular and community members as well.