This is it! After six wild and thrilling weeks, we have completed our initiative in Fort Providence, Northwest Territories!
In our final week, we had the pleasure of teaching in every classroom at Deh Gah School, which meant we often taught five to seven classes a day, keeping us very busy. In our older classes we focused on sexual health and puberty, covering topics such as physical and emotional changes, protection, STIs, pregnancy, consent, and more. As always, our 7-12s were eager to ask us questions in the question box and although we all had some giggles, everyone had fun while learning! In addition to teaching the older students, we had the opportunity to teach the K-3s all week for the first time! Although we knew most of them from after school activities, it was fun to hang out with them in the classroom too! Our days were filled with colouring pages and lessons on healthy eating, bullying, emotions, and self esteem.
While in Prov, we taught in the Grade 4 classroom everyday which resulted in over 25 classes in our time here! In our final class on Friday, we made friendship flowers, where the kids wrote nice things about their peers in each of the petals. It was wonderful to see the students express how great they think each other are! On our way out of the last class, we were surprised when the entire class got out of their seats to give us a giant group hug. Teressa, one of the teachers, snapped a great picture of all of us and their beautiful friendship flowers!
Although we are sad to be done at Deh Gah, we are both proud of what we accomplished in the classroom, and grateful for the support and attentiveness from the students and staff. In our time here, we covered many topics and strived to implement a health curriculum relevant to the community. We will both miss teaching every day!
The week was also filled with many extra curricular activities. As per usual, we hit up our weekly boot camp, basketball and volleyball games. We will definitely miss the challenge of playing against the kids and trying to prove our own athletic ability. The last six weeks have been filled with burpees, situps, pushups, pressups and stepups – thanks for kicking our butts at bootcamp on the weekly, Beth!
We also hosted a pizza making night with the high school students, which resulted in many smiling teenagers, lots of laughs, and lots (five!!) of homemade pizzas. We compared and contrasted our pizza making ability from the South (cheese underneath the toppings) with the way it’s done in the North (cheese overtop of all of the toppings). Ultimately it was decided the students were right: cheese is best served on top. Safe to say by the end of the night we were all very full!
On Friday night, we stopped by the weekly Youth Safe Space hosted by PAW. Some of the highlights included pulling the kids around the gym on scooters and making up our own version of monkey in the middle, complete with signature moves. We found ourselves laughing and competing to prove who could show off the best moves.The night was a blast, complete with healthy snacks and many more laughs as we said our goodbye to most of the students.
On Saturday night, our friend Rachel hosted a goodbye dinner party for us to celebrate some of the wonderful friendships and memories we have made in our time here. Whether it was inviting us over to watch The Bachelorette, our weekly 10KM walks, we always felt welcomed and at home in Fort Providence!
On Sunday, we were convinced by a last minute invitation from two of our students, Dallas and Sadeedi to go “mudding” one last time before we left. Many people own quads or ‘side-by-sides’ that they take on the back trails, and often right through the mud. After 20 minutes of driving through the forest, the quad got stuck, followed by the side-by-side getting stuck! Although it took a very long time to get both out, our spirits were high and there were lots of laughs. We were all covered in mud from head to toe (literally, mud in our boots and hair) but it was an unforgettable afternoon! After mudding, we packed our bags, said our final goodbyes and headed to Yellowknife. On our way out, we saw not one, but two bison! We arrived at our cozy B&B around 12am, where we still stay until our flight home tomorrow! Today also happened to be Christine’s birthday! We spent the day checking out the Legislative Assembly as hiking around the picturesque Frame Lake. As much as we already miss Fort Prov, the NWT is truly spectacular!
All in all, this has been an extraordinary experience. Thank you to everyone who has supported Queen’s Health Outreach over the past year, and thank you to our Program Directors Meg, Koo, and Jill as well as our fellow Northern Peer Educators. Finally, and most importantly, thank you to Fort Providence for welcoming us into your community. The kindness and compassion from everyone was endless and we will never forget it! Mahsi cho (Thank you)
As we sign off for our final time, we thought we would highlight some of our experience by the numbers:
- 10 Hours of traveling from Toronto to Yellowknife
- 9 Musical.ly videos made by the students showcasing our dance moves
- 8 PM when evening intramural sports started (yay for basketball and volleyball)
- 7 Classrooms we taught
- 6 Weeks in Northwest Territories
- 5 Units: physical health, mental health, substance abuse, healthy relationships, and sexual health
- 4 Boxes of cereal we (mainly Christine) finished
- 3 Seasons of Grey’s Anatomy binged-watched
- 2 Northern Lights & bison sightings
- 1 Incredible experience
Sending our gratitude and love!! We will miss you Fort Providence, this is our final goodbye!
J & C (known here as the Queen’s Girls)
Our first & last day in the North