On Tuesday December 3rd 2019, the Larch Hills Junior Ski Team will be welcoming 30 young skiers all aged 13 from the Club de Ski de Fond Nakkertok (Nakkertok Cross-country Ski Club) along with their 5 chaperones. The Ottawa-area skiers will be coming to Salmon Arm as part of a one week exchange facilitated through Experiences Canada.
During their one week stay in Salmon Arm, the Larch Hills Junior Ski Team has an extensive program of activities to showcase the Shuswap to the Nakkertok skiers.
Upon their arrival Larch Hills will be hosting an opening event at the Broadview Church Foyer where the Mayor, Alan Harrison, Ed Bouma, President of the Larch Hills Nordic Society and Abigail May, head coach of Larch Hills Junior Ski Team will welcome the guests.
“It’s a great opportunity to show-off the Shuswap way of life. We’ve got an awesome schedule and it’s going to be so much fun! I’m really looking forward to getting to know my exchange partner.” Remarks Hazel Brooks, 13, youth ambassador for the Larch Hills Junior Ski Team.
On Wednesday December 4th, 2019 the day will be focussed on learning about the Indigenous experience in the Shuswap. John Sayers, a first nation artist will give instruction on local carving techniques. Meredith Rusk, an Indigenous Resource Helping Teacher with School District 83 will do some traditional storytelling and singing. Snowshoeing will also be part of the day’s itinerary. A priority for the exchange program is to instill the importance of meaningful reconciliation processes with first nation communities.
“A huge part of reconciliation is the recognition and validation of Indigenous ways of knowing and being.” says Rusk. “Indigenous knowledge is gained from experiences. The acts of carving and singing are indigenous ways of learning. Walking on the snowshoes, connects them to the land of the Secwepemc people.”
Other activities on the itinerary include a visit to the Salmon Arm Art Gallery and new Makerspace, a Salmon Arm – style Amazing Race, rollerskating, an evening at a Vernon Vipers hockey game and a trip to Caravan Farm Theatre to see their winter sleigh ride production of The Nutcracker. Of course, the group will also spend lots of time on their skis enjoying the scenic trails both at Larch Hills and at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre near Vernon.
The exchange is subsidized by Experiences Canada, a government-run organization that promotes cross-cultural experiences across Canada. In late January 28 participants, aged 12 – 15 from the Larch Hills Junior Ski Team along with 3 chaperones will travel to Ottawa and spend a week in that bilingual community.
“It’s important to form connections with other youth across the country who share interests with us. It helps us learn about the diversity of our communities and the values that tie us together as Canadians,” reflects Hazel Brooks.
Press are welcome to the following events:
- Opening Event – Tuesday December 3rd, 2019Broadview Church Foyer 3:00 – 4:30350 30 St NE
- Visit to Salmon Arm Art Gallery – Thursday December 5th, 201970 Hudson Ave. NE
You can follow the exchange on Instagram with @xcskiexchange