September 12, 2002
One doesn't imagine how large this country truly is until they travel it. Fredericton to Iqaluit was a 7-hour journey on both Air Canada and then First Air. First Air graciously sponsored our Ottawa to Iqaluit and return portion of travel. We're grateful for their fabulous contribution to this tour!
As we approached Iqaluit it was a landscape that left an indelible mark. The red rocky terrain was the predominant colour amidst a sea of brightly painted homes and businesses. We're above the tree line so there was no sign of green, which is quite unusual for those of us who live south of 60. No snow yet - but it was a chilly 4 degrees. Whatever signs of barren existence were completely washed away as we entered the terminal at Iqaluit. Beautiful smiling faces greeted us and whisked us over to the high school to begin our workshop. We didn't think it could get any better but it did - 400 students gathered in the rotunda of the Inukshuk High School to hear Dave, Tom and Susan conduct this important seminar. Many of the youth were still agonizing from the recent loss of a young well-known hockey player, but most importantly, when Tom asked the question - "Do you know of someone who has expressed suicidal thoughts or behavior" - the entire room stood up. Dave commended the youth for their bravery in admitting this problem existed in their lives. Susan spent a few minutes talking about her life struggles and accomplishments reminding the youth that even celebrities are human and have feelings that are difficult to resolve alone. She encouraged the youth to remember that they had great potential, to hang onto it, and to "find what you want and then do it for us". The hour went by like seconds but our memories remain.
The group of us sat down for a great dinner courtesy of the community and then we played to a packed house of over 700 people in the school gym. There were lots of laughs, great music and wonderful stories shared after the event. CBC Radio covered a lot of the days' activities and although we weren't around to hear all the stories after we departed, we did get copies of the article written in Nunatsiaq News.
Big hugs and special thanks go to Sheila and Tamara, Bryon, Alexina, John, Charlotte, Errol, Lou, Mehrun, Terry, Allison, Greg, Terry Y. and the local sponsors who made this event rock in Iqaluit! Proceeds from ticket sales support the CASP conference coming up in May 2003 in Iqaluit.
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