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Adventures in leadership

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 02, 2007

INUVIK - After 18 days of paddling in whitewater, a few Inuvik youth are equipped with new skills and memories for life.

Jodie Maring was one of 12 youth chosen from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region to partake in the 2007 Arctic Leadership Expedition.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

This group of youth was on the Horton River in 2006 for the leadership expedition. This year, another group took the trek. The trip is hosted by Outward Bound Canada and is sponsored by the Inuvialuit Development Corporation. - photo courtesy of Martin Landry

The trip had the youth in canoes, paddling the Horton River, which is located East of Paulatuk.

The group was accompanied by two guides from Outward Bound Canada and a filmmaker.

The group set out on July 11 and got back into Inuvik on July 26.

Maring said the group paddled for 16 days straight.

"We would leave at about 10:30 in the morning and stop at around 6:30," said Maring.

"We paddled a few kilometres each day."

Maring said that the trip was done through whitewater, into canyons and across flat land.

"We were close to the coast and saw a lot of wildlife," she said.

This marked the first trip on the Horton river for Maring, but she is accustomed to being on the land at whaling camps with her family.

"I've been out to the whaling camp at Whitefish station," she said.

She has been in a canoe before, but Maring said that being in the back of the boat is different.

"We went through rapids, it was pretty intense," she said.

Maring said that she encourages anyone to try the trip.

"I know a few people who didn't want to go and they lost out," she said.

"It was a great opportunity and I learned a lot."

Noel Cockney was another participant in the excursion.

This was Cockney's second time on the Horton with Outward Bound.

He was along this time to learn more skills as part of the alumni program.

Cockney said the trip was tough, but the team of youth banded together and overcame the weather and conditions.

"It was a challenge, but we all came through," said Cockney.

He added that even though the trip got tough, the group maintained their humour.

"It was cold at times, but we always managed to laugh about it," he said.

"The whole trip was good."

Cockney is one of two youth selected for another trip, this one is farther south.

"The trip starts in Nanaimo B.C, it's an alumni course," said Cockney.

"There will be rock-climbing and sea kayaking."

Being older helped Cockney with his second trip on the land with Outward Bound.

"I was able to appreciate everything a little more than I did when I was younger," he said.

Peter Traynor, one of the organizers of the trip, works with the Inuvialuit Development Corporation, who sponsored the journey.

"I worked with a lot of the logistics for the trip," said Traynor.

Traynor said that for most of the group, a tour of southern universities was planned.

"They left to Edmonton the day they got back in town," said Traynor.

The trip was different this year because it was a group effort by corporations from the ISR, Alaska and Nunavut.

Traynor said that the Nunavut team left first, then the local youth and finally, the group from Alaska would leave on the river trip.