Kuujjuaq, Initiation Camp

Finding the right spot on Stewart Lake

As we landed in Kuujjuaq, we could see Stewart Lake - the location that would become our snowpark for this Easter weekend's activities. To help us transport the equipment, the community of Kuujjuaq kindly provided us with … a bright orange truck, a skidoo and a kamutik, bearing the community flag! Joby, an active member of the community, and his family, helped us move 600 pounds of equipment from the airport to the lake in search of the perfect spot to set up our base camp tent. Within two hours of arriving, Minnie Hanahatak, our Paraski instructor from Kangirsuk who came to be an instructor for this initiation camp, was already teaching our helpers the basics of Paraski sail handling. more pictures...
 
 

On the road for a first full day of activity

On our first day, we got to Stewart Lake early, thanks to Ghislain (an Individual Program Learning teacher) who provided us with tools and wood pieces from his school's workshop so we could quickly finish our road signs. On this bright morning, as we began our first full day of activities, we were lucky to have steady winds of 20 km/h - perfect for mid size sails for the first guests we received. In the afternoon, the wind reached 30 km/h with gusts of up to 40 km/h. The cloud of snow that blew one metre above the lake did not scare off any of the participants. In fact, sails were transformed into storm mode, and six locals sailed out only to bring back the bright Artic smile. more pictures...
 

Fast learners!

During initiation camps throughout, we often discovered talented young people. Kuujjuaq was no exception. Lukasi, ten-year old, was flying across the small bay of Stewart Lake in no time. Two days later, he was fixing sails in storm mode and assisting other beginners - a future instructor? For her part, Minnie was demonstrating great instructor skills and instincts as she sailed in and out assisting and coaching participants scattered over this wide snow park. more pictures...
 

Air Inuit Staff and local teachers

On our last day, the Air Inuit staff joined us on Stewart Lake to give Paraski a try - after all, it's just another flying machine. Soon others joined them, including Ghislain, whose initial skepticism was transformed into an adrenaline rush and much enthusiasm for Paraski. more pictures...
 

Special thanks to:

The community of Kuujjuaq and all the participants.
Luce Fortin and the Kativik Regional Government whose extraordinary efforts helped make this camp happen.
Minnie Annahatak, Alain Gingras and … Lukasie for their professional assistance at the snow park.
Air Inuit and First Air for their support and collaboration.
by Guy Laflamme
 
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