Youth in Rankin Inlet

The youth scene in Rankin Inlet is quite different from the youth “scene” in the south. There are not many places for youth to “hang out”, so sports become very important to youth, and participation is high.

Since Rankin Inlet is Jordin Tootoo’s hometown, it’s not surprising that hockey is big here. There are hockey teams for all ages, and the arena is fully booked with practices and games. Kids here start playing hockey as soon as they can walk and when they are not on the ice, they are playing hockey in the streets, under the streetlights in winter.

Hockey tournaments are very popular, with teams coming from all over Nunavut to participate. These may be youth teams, or they may be adult teams, and there are even hotly-contested “old-timers” hockey games held here.

Other sports are popular as well. Baseball (mostly slow-pitch softball) is popular in the summer, and the ball diamond teems with activity into the long summer nights.

Indoor soccer is also popular, and is part of the physical education program at the schools. Rankin has had some super soccer teams in the past, with one team even going into international competition.

Many sports prepare young people for competition in the Arctic Winter Games. This is a high profile circumpolar sport competition for northern and arctic athletes, held every other year. In 2004 the Games were held in Fort McMurray , Alberta , and in 2006 they will be held on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska . The Games include not only the conventional winter sports such as skiing, speed skating, hockey, and biathlon, but also traditional native games, and there is hot competition in all phases of the games.

Many Rankin youth are involved in snowmobile racing, and many customize and maintain their own machines. These races include drag races, cross-country and obstacle races.

Computers and Internet surfing is a favorite of many Rankin young people and the two CAP sites and Internet sites at the schools are in constant use. Many young people stay in touch with other Nunavut youth and “Internet pen pals” in other parts of the world by email, sending notes and photos by email.

Girl Guides and Scouting are also popular in Rankin, and there are ample opportunities for young people to get involved with these activities.

Others are involved in music groups, either bands, or choral groups, gospel groups, and traditional Inuit music groups including drum dancing, throat-singing and ayaya singing.

The Royal Canadian Army and Air Cadets program is popular across all of Nunavut and the NWT. This program, for ages 12 to 18, provides opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills, good physical fitness, and to learn more about the Canadian Forces. Local volunteers are the mainstays of this program, with military advisors from the Dept. of National Defence and Canadian Forces assisting in many ways. Cadets in northern communities receive training in marksmanship, biathlon, navigation, survival, close-order drill, military knowledge and first aid. Cadets in the Rankin Inlet program have done well in national competitions for drill and marksmanship.

Gallery of photos of youth activities in Rankin Inlet.