Caldwell returns from Eat Fit trip to Nunavut - Aug. 30, 2018
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Westfield-area student Grace Caldwell is now back from her recent trip to Nunavut and she says it accomplished exactly what she hoped it would.
Caldwell, who is part of the school board’s Student Senate program, was first approached through the program to take the trip as part of the Eat Fit Project. Caldwell, nine other students and a handful of adults, all made the two-week-long trip to Canada’s newest territory last month.
The group travelled to Nunavut in hopes of creating a two-week day camp for the children there, teaching them to prepare healthy meals and to stay active throughout their days.
Caldwell is the daughter of Ian and Sarah Caldwell of Nature Centre Road in East Wawanosh.
One of Caldwell’s teachers approached her with the opportunity and she soon found out there was a space available if she wanted to take it.
While being part of both the Student Senate and Eat Fit programs have been invigorating and were reason enough to go on the trip, Caldwell said what she was really hoping to accomplish with the trip was to learn about the culture of the territory and its people.
“So many people travel to experience the culture of people from another country and there are so many unique cultures here in Canada,” Caldwell said in an interview with The Citizen.
She said that Nunavut isn’t a part of Canada you hear much about, so the culture there is still very much a mystery to most Canadians. It was for that reason that she wanted to experience it.
Caldwell said that she and her fellow travellers didn’t do much preparation ahead of the trip. Aside from one organizational meeting, they largely just wanted to be immersed in the area’s culture once they made their way off the airplane.
The group travelled for two days before members made their way into Iqaluit, Nunavut’s capital city. They took a train from Stratford to Toronto and then from Toronto to Ottawa, where they stayed overnight. Then, the next day and flew to Iqaluit and were shuttled to Cape Dorset, which is where they would host their camp for the next two weeks.
She said that while many of the residents where they were spoke Inuktitut, just about everyone spoke English, which is the language that is taught in schools, so communicating wasn’t a problem.
Once the students were at Cape Dorset and had the camp set up, they began teaching the locals about preparing and cooking healthy meals, whether it be lunch or dinner. As far as fitness was concerned, Caldwell said, they didn’t have much to teach the locals. Because they all have to walk everywhere, she said that fitness was not a concern there like it is in other communities.
Nevertheless, Caldwell said, they arranged physical activities for the local youth every day, whether it be games, sports or even one day a local spin on American Ninja Warrior and its now-famous obstacle course.
She said that many of the students paired up with local youth during their time there. Caldwell remembers climbing a mountain with a three-year-old girl there named Rose who immediately took to her.
Caldwell said she loved her time there, but said that the 24 hours of daylight certainly took a little getting used to.
In the school they stayed in, the windows were boarded up to keep most of the light out throughout the night.
This is the second trip Caldwell has taken through her school. When she was in Grade 9, she went to Saint Martin as part of a school exchange. While there, Caldwell and her fellow students attended a local school for two weeks and welcomed their students to Huron County for two weeks in the months that would follow.
The trip, Caldwell said, is meant to be a type of “leader camp” that teaches students of promise what it takes to be a leader in their workplaces or communities in the years to come.