Recreation leaders from across the Yukon celebrated excellence in community recreation and active living at the territory’s annual recreation gathering held in Haines Junction from October 6 to October 8.
At this year’s gathering, the Government of Yukon presented its annual community recreation leadership award to four recipients. Marty and Mary-Ann Knutson were honoured for their work to develop a swimming hole in Dawson City, Gurdeep Pandher was recognized for promoting active living through bhangra dance, and Agnes Seitz was given the award posthumously for her diverse and outstanding contributions to recreation in Mt. Lorne and the Yukon as a whole.
The Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon (RPAY) also presented the 2020 RPAY recognition award and the 2021 Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA) award of merit to Sue Meikle for her long-term contributions to the field of recreation. Joshua Wilcox and Colin Dubois received the 2021 RPAY recognition award for their outstanding contributions to the delivery of recreation in the community of Faro.
The Government of Yukon and the Recreation and Parks Association of Yukon co-host the annual recreation gathering every year. As well as the presentation of awards, this year’s event included recognizing the 20thanniversary of the Yukon’s Active Living Strategy, sessions on physical literacy and concussions, recreation planning and the work of the Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle, and a keynote address by Dr. Aggie Weighill, professor at Vancouver Island University, on gender in recreation and sport.
After 20 years, the Yukon’s annual recreation gathering is only getting stronger, creating yearly opportunities for our territory’s recreation leaders to network, foster their skills and further their knowledge. It’s an honour to co-host the event once again with the Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon and to recognize the outstanding contributions of our community recreation leaders. Agnes Seitz, Gurdeep Pandher and Marty and Mary-Ann Knutson are such wonderful examples of how individual Yukoners can inspire us all to live more active and connected lives.
Minister of Community Services Richard Mostyn
The annual fall recreation gathering offers Yukon’s recreation leaders the opportunity to network and learn from each other. This supports the planning and delivery of recreation opportunities that are meaningful to communities.
Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon executive director Anne Morgan
The Government of Yukon first created Yukon’s Active Living Strategy in 2000 and renewed the strategy in 2012. The strategy supports the quality of life of individual Yukoners and healthy and sustainable Yukon communities through the promotion and support of recreation, physical activity and sport. Yukon’s annual recreation gathering is one initiative established under the Active Living Strategy and has been held since 2002.
Marty and Mary-Ann Knutson are born and raised in Dawson City. Long-time supporters of community recreation, the couple built a swimming hole as part of their reclamation work following the end of their mining claims near the Klondike River. This swimming hole has become a vital recreation facility in the Dawson area.
Gurdeep Pandher shares his passion for bhangra dancing both in-person and through social media, with Yukoners across the territory and others around the world. His passion for dancing is an exceptional example of how one person’s passion for active living can inspire others.
Agnes Seitz worked for 14 years as the executive director of the Lorne Mountain Community Association. She passed away this year and her legacy lives on in Mt. Lorne and across the territory. She created countless opportunities for recreation in her community, everything from establishing ski races to dance classes to a community teaching garden. She was also a passionate advocate of northern gardening, sharing her knowledge online and through Yukon University.