Arctic Winter Games

Organization Sponsor: Arctic Winter Games International Committee

URLs: 

Program Description

The Arctic Winter Games is a high profile circumpolar sport competition for northern and arctic athletes. The Games provide an opportunity to strengthen sport development in the participants’ jurisdictions, to promote the benefits of sport, to build partnerships, and to promote culture and values. The Games celebrate sport, social exchange and cultures. The Games provide an opportunity for the developing athlete to compete in friendly competition while sharing cultural values from northern regions around the world. In 1970, Government Officials from Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories (NWT) and Federal Members of Parliament worked together to host the first Arctic Winter Games [AWG]. Further, contingents from Northern Alberta, Greenland, the Sapmi people of Northern Scandinavia and the Russian Province of Yamal now participate in the Games. The goal of the Games has remained the same over the years: to furnish the opportunity through sport, the social and cultural meeting of Northern peoples regardless of language, race, or creed. The Games are held biennially usually during the month of March. Prior to the start of the Games, participating contingents will determine which athletes will be participating on their representative teams at the Games. Several teams have a selection process which is used to determine the composition of their teams for the Games. This process is conducted by holding regional trials and then territorial trials. The regional trials are normally held in November/December while the territorial trials are held in January, preceding the actual games. The Games are designed to promote traditional aboriginal games, sports and cultural activities based upon survival in the north. There are three categories of sports that are included in the Games: sports with wide participation (e.g. hockey, volleyball, soccer, cross country skiing), traditional northern sports (Arctic Sports which include Inuit and Dene games such as Alaskan high kick, wrestling), and emerging/potential sports (such as snowboarding, table tennis etc.). In the 2012 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, there were 18 different sporting events. The Games offer a venue where developing athletes from across the north meet to enhance their athletic skills, and to share their respective cultures. contact : Mr. Gerry Thick

Funding Sources: 

NORTHWESTEL, Government of Canada

Strategies For Sustainability: 

Today, contingents from Greenland, Sapmi of northern Scandinavia, and the Russian Province of Yamalia, and now participate in the games. The goal of the games has remained the same over the years: to furnish the opportunity through sport, the social and cultural meeting of Northern peoples regardless of language, race, or creed. The games are restricted to youth of the circumpolar region of the arctic. The success of the Arctic Winter Games over the years has in large part been due to the clarity, specificity, and importance of the mission and goals of the games.

Impact Of Program: 

2012 ARCTIC WINTER GAMES IMPACT STUDY Confirms "the Games continue to be a positive influence for the athletes, their families, and for the communities from which they come from. With almost 1,500 athlete participants, the Arctic Winter Games are becoming more popular among the people of the Arctic North. The goals of the Arctic Winter Games with regards to the spirit of fair play, competition, inclusion, development, and understanding of other people are clearly being realized throughout particiapation within the Games. The Games enhance self esteem and promote growth in personal outlooks, promote socialization and cultural awareness, promote positive exoperiences and personal benefits, provide healty nand social opportunities, and promote a sense of belonging and stengthens community ties"

Evaluation Tools: 

Data shows that the Arctic Winter Games, in relation to youth development, have an impact within the following areas. • Promoting Physical Fitness • Encouraging Community and Civic Pride • Promoting Socialization • Promoting Decision Making • Promoting Cultural Understanding Amongst the Different Athletes • Enhancing Family Cohesion • Promoting Positive Role Models The goals of the Arctic Winter Games with regards to the spirit of fair play, competition, inclusion, development, and understanding of other people are clearly being realized throughout participation within the Games. As a whole, the findings for the study show that the Games enhance self-esteem and promote growth in personal outlooks, promote socialization and cultural awareness, promote positive experiences and personal benefits, provide healthy and social opportunities, and promote a sense of belonging and strengthens community ties.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

The AWG is designed to include the promotion of traditional aboriginal games based upon survival in the north. There are three categories of sports that are included in the games: major sports, northern sports (Inuit games, Dene games, snowshoeing, dog mushing, Inuit wrestling), and emerging/potential sports. Overall, in 2012 there were more than 18 different sporting events. The Games offer a venue where developing athletes from across the north meet to enhance their athletic skills and to share their respective cultures.In support of this three-part mission, the Arctic Winter Game supports the development of competent certified coaches who play a key role in promoting these values and operating principles. The games allow both male and female participants to improve their skills and develop personal values and traits that enhance their self-esteem and thus their ability to have success in other aspects of their lives.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

With the games rotating every two years between Whitehorse, Fairbanks and Yellowknife, there was less enthusiasm to host the Games, diminished corporate support, volunteer burnout and indifference on the part of the participants who had seen it all before. The 1990 Games in Yellowknife were considered a great success due to the support of the Honourable Gordon Wray, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the major support of the City of Yellowknife. The decisions that were put in place from the Dawson City meeting produced the following immediate and positive results: · Team competition was enhanced · The excitement of having Greenland and Russia participate enhanced corporate fundraising and volunteer recruitment · CBC carried the Games highlights on the national network for the first time · A highlight package also appeared on CNN and was seen across the United States and in some other countries. The 1996 Games in Chugiak Eagle River were also a pivotal Games. The Host Society did an enormous amount of promotion, attracted some major sponsors and had expanded media coverage throughout Alaska. Their games ended with a substantial surplus and as a result were able to establish several legacy funds in the state. During the elected officials meeting, the Arctic Winter Games Strategic Plan was also approved.. It was also during this meeting that the addition of Nunavut was approved

Length and Stage of Project: 

The first Games were held in Yellowknife, NWT in 1970 with the three contingents coming from Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska.

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