WHAT IS NORTHERN EXCHANGE?
Building on the rousing success of MCHA’s recent used equipment drive for remote northern communities, MCHA has been presented with a unique opportunity to grow our support for grassroots hockey in northern Canada, while providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Mimico youth to experience life in the Canadian arctic.
Following a selective application process, MCHA had been awarded a significant grant from Experiences Canada, a charity supported by the Government of Canada, to fund a youth hockey exchange during the 2017-18 hockey season. This grant (worth approximately $75,000) will allow 30 youth (2 teams) to participate in a reciprocal homestay exchange program with youth hockey players from our “twinned” community, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. In addition to funding, Experiences Canada (formerly known as SEVEC) provides logistical and program management support to ensure our youth gain an enriching education and cultural experience, and create lifelong memories.
About the Exchange Program:
- What are the objectives of the exchange program? The Experiences Canada – Exchanges program objectives are: a) enhance youth knowledge and understanding of Canada, b) connect and create linkages between Canadian youth, and c) help young Canadians enhance their appreciation of the diversity and shared Canadian experience.
- Who can participate in the exchange program? The MCHA-RIMH exchange will involve one team of Atom players and one team of PeeWee players (approx. 30-32 youth) from each community. The Atom and PeeWee Select teams have been selected to participate, pending confirmation of participation by individual families. Should these families decline to participate, others MCHA youth may be invited to participate up to 30-32 total participants.
- When will the exchange take place? There are two segments to the exchange. Rankin Inlet youth will travel to Mimico in early October 2017, while Mimico youth will travel to Rankin Inlet in late April 2018, coinciding with the Rankin Inlet spring festival.
- How long is the exchange? Each segment will be 8-10 days, including travel. Participants would be absent from school for a week in October and a week in April.
- What is the cost to participate in the program? While the Experiences Canada funding defrays a significant portion of the costs, travel to the Canadian arctic is extremely expensive – a return plane ticket from Toronto-Rankin Inlet costs $2,000+ alone. At this time, a preliminary budget of $1,500 per participant has been set, although group fundraising is expected to cover a significant portion of this cost. Final budget figures and fundraising targets will be set once program participation and trip itinerary is confirmed (April-May).
- Who is organizing the exchange program? Lee Barter is the Mimico Group Organizer who will liaise with Experiences Canada and Katie Bell (Rankin Inlet Group Organizer). An Organizing Committee has been formed to focus on specific areas of responsibility, including:
- Learning Program – Beth Jones
- Communications – Lynn Van Gastel
- Fundraising – Chris Szarka & Michelle Nolden-Szarka
- Hosting Trip Planning – John & Brandi Zarand
- Visiting Trip Planning - Erinn Graham-Barter, Michael Wolfe
Commitment and active engagement from participating youth and families is essential to making this exchange a success. At least one parent or caregiver from each family will be asked to join on of the organizing sub-committees. All participants will be expected to participate in fundraising efforts, including the youth participants.