NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Familiar face at centre
Inuvik's Walter Rogers brings passion to co-ordinator position

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 13, 2014

He may be new to the Inuvik Youth Centre, but Walter Rogers is one of those familiar faces that most people will recognize around town.

nnsl photo

Walter Rogers is finding himself at home in his new role as the co-ordinator of the Inuvik Youth Centre. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

Rogers was born in Inuvik but raised in Alberta as a foster child. He's been back home for about 11 years. In mid-November he parlayed his interest in youth activities and concerns into a full-time contract position at the Inuvik Youth Centre as it's new co-ordinator.

"I came here because I have a passion for working with youth," he said Feb. 7, as he prepared for the youth drop-in session scheduled for later that afternoon.

"I've got young children of my own, and nieces and nephews throughout the community and outside the community. I just felt this would be a good position.

"I'm just really enjoying interacting with youth," Rogers said.

"I enjoy playing sports with them, I enjoy playing chess, I enjoy just sitting down and talking."

The job at the youth centre takes him back to his roots, before he spent many years working in the "mechanical business."

"I've been involved with youth as a student. I was in a youth counselling program there," Rogers said.

"I've been involved in the community with fundraising efforts, and from there I went to friendship centres."

The biggest component of his job, as he sees it, is simply to provide a safe, welcoming atmosphere. That's his priority.

"I just want them to be comfortable and know they can come by anytime," Rogers said.

"I greet them at the door, tell them what the schedule of activities is for the day, and we go from there," he added.

"I've used my experiences."

His familiarity in the community, and his family connections, make it easy for him to establish rapport with the youth attending the centre.

"You betcha it makes it a lot easier to interact with them. I find it very easy, I just greet them at the door, and it's more open for them and myself."

There's no lack of activities for youth to become engaged in, he said.

From the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex to sports to helping out with things like the Muskrat Jamboree, there's no reason why youth should say that they are bored or have nothing to do.

"We have a lot of youth that do volunteer at these events, and that's good to see," Rogers said.

He says that one of the things he wants to work on is improving the interaction between adults and youth.

"Youth find it hard to socialize, to interact, to ask an older person, 'Can you show me how to do this?'

"It's harder for them to do that because a lot of youth today are in the mainstream of using computers and Facebook, and there's a loss of the interaction of playing outside, of sliding, road hockey, and that kind of thing, you know," Rogers said.

"That's what I'm trying to bring back, those kinds of activities, showing them that there are more kinds of activities than Facebook and iPads and that kind of thing."

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.