From January 1-10, 2016, Volleyball Nunavut’s High Performance Volleyball Teams (one male and one female, ages 15-18) will have the opportunity to train and compete in exhibition matches on the island in Caribbean that is home to the countries of Sint Maarten and St. Martin.
Many of these athletes have never been outside of Nunavut, let alone Canada. This trip to train in the Caribbean is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these young athletes as it will allow them to explore a part of the world that is so different from their own and experience a culture that is completely different from their own.
About Volleyball Nunavut: The Territory of Nunavut in Canada is a beautiful and magical place. It is a place where winter averages 10 months of the year and the average winter temperature is -29 degrees Celsius and +8 in the summer. Nunavut is a vast Territory covering over 1,877,787 square kilometres, with 26 communities and a population of just under 37,000 people. The majority of the population of Nunavut is Inuit, and many keep with traditional hunting and fishing to feed their families.
Sport in Nunavut is growing but the lack of competition makes it hard for athletes to improve their skills and succeed in sport beyond high school. Most of the communities have one school which houses all grades. The bigger communities, like Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet, have one high school and rarely enough students to fill a full volleyball or basketball team.
Volleyball Nunavut hosts one tournament a year for ages 19 and under. The community teams usually practice twice a week throughout the year to prepare for only one tournament. If weather is bad and planes cannot land, those communities will miss the tournament and those athletes then go an entire year without competition.
The biggest obstacle for sport in Nunavut are all communities in Nunavut are fly-in only. There are no roads that connect the communities of Nunavut or Nunavut to the southern provinces in Canada. Flights are very expensive because of this, so trying to form a Territorial Team is very difficult as the teams cannot train together more than twice a year.
Volleyball Nunavut has chosen athletes from all over Nunavut to make a high performance team that will compete in the Arctic Winter Games in early March 2016 in Nuuk, Greenland. Through training trips to places like the Caribbean, Volleyball Nunavut hopes to give these youth opportunities to see the other parts of the world, develop personal skills, and become confident in their abilities.