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Record number apply for program

Students spreading message about Nunavut Youth Abroad

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Baker Lake (Dec 19/01) - The cream always rises to the top.

This year's recruitment drive for the Nunavut Youth Abroad program (NYAP) attracted a record 75 applicants. A full 30 of the applications came from Kivalliq students.

Chris Dasilva of Keewatin School Services says selection teams reviewed the applications and short-listed candidates last week.

Successful applicants and alternates are expected to be announced this week.

"We want a fast turnaround because we want to give it as a Christmas present to the kids who worked hard to apply," says Dasilva. "There's also a lot of work they have to do through the winter term, so we have to get them started."

NYAP was piloted in the summer of 1998 and is now entering its fifth cycle. Program applications have risen in three of the past four years.

"Last year we saw a slight dip because we didn't do as good a job recruiting as we would have liked. We were too busy trying to raise money and keep the program going and didn't put as much focus into the recruiting phase," Dasilva says.

The main reason for the increasing number of applications is word of mouth between the students. Dasilva says an ever-increasing number of kids are wanting to join the program because of the positive experiences their friends or siblings had.

He says teachers are referencing students they think will benefit from the program.

"This is really helpful to us because we're looking for very specific types of kids -- ones who are responsible and hard working, but who haven't had all the breaks. It's important we attract that type of kid because we know they'll be turned on by the experience of being involved with the NYAP."

A CD was sent to every school in the Kivalliq this year containing a presentation on the NYAP. Everyone community radio station in Nunavut also received a professional spot on the program.

Dasilva says the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has been with the program since its first year, funding the entire international phase at $90,000 a year.

"CLEY has been with us for three years, but its funding has dropped from $58,000 to $15,000," he notes.

"We've attracted a couple of corporate sponsors the past few years (Canadian North and the Royal Bank) and that really helps when you approach the government for funding assistance."