Northwest Territories Recreation and Parks Association

Two older women walking through snow using poles for balance

Vision, Mission and Membership

The offices of the Northwest Territories Recreation and Parks Association (NWTRPA) are located in Sǫm̀ba K’è (Yellowknife) on Treaty 8 lands, the home of the Yellowknives Dene, though the organization serves and works with Dene, Inuvialuit, and Métis communities and people across the Northwest Territories. Founded in 1989, the NWTRPA envisions “a territory where everyone has access to recreation programs and spaces that foster healthy families, strong cultures, and vibrant communities”. NWTRPA’s mission is to promote recreation by supporting leaders, communities and partners through training, advocacy and networking. The NWTRPA has about 150 members drawn primarily from the recreation, community wellness, healthcare, and education sectors, though the organization’s programs have a much broader reach.

How NWTRPA is Supporting Inclusion and Access for Persons with Disabilities

The NWTRPA is actively working to provide recreation leaders and community members with tools and strategies to create programs that are accessible and inclusive to all residents in the Northwest Territories. Access and inclusion have been a consistent theme at NWTRPA conferences in recent years. The NWTRPA and Youth Centres Conference is an annual professional development opportunity for recreation leaders, health care staff, students, youth, elders, youth centre staff, and volunteers from across the territory to explore trends and issues in recreation and receive training related to programming, leadership and facility management. The NWTRPA is also working with the Government of the Northwest Territories to implement the Northwest Territories Disabilities Framework.

Community Spotlight: Elders in Motion

Started in 2009, Elders in Motion has become one of the NWTRPA’s signature programs. Elders in Motion was designed to improve access to and the quality of recreation opportunities for older adults (many of whom live with disabilities) by building the capacity of people working with elders. Through training and mentorship, community members enhance their knowledge, skills, and confidence to organize and lead safe, engaging, and culturally appropriate recreation programs for older adults. Elders in Motion training and resources have been adapted by the NWTRPA from evidence-based workshops created by the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging to fit the Northwest Territories context.

The Elders in Motion programming brings older adults together to engage in physical and social activities at a recreation centre, elders’ home, or on the land, thereby also addressing other contributing factors to frailty, such as nutrition and social isolation. Elders in Motion can also meet the needs of older adults accessing home care. In some communities, Elders in Motion may look like a more conventional exercise program. In others, Elders in Motion activities may include dance classes, berry picking, walking bingo or hide tanning. Each Elders in Motion program is unique, reflecting the geography and culture of the host community, as well as the needs of local elders. Thus, the Elders in Motion program promotes wellness of body, mind, and spirit, independence, intergenerational connections, and functional mobility for older adults from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of abilities.