The NWT Recreation and Parks Association is launching an Intergenerational Programming Toolkit for the NWT to connect people across age groups. The toolkit, a first for the territory, was developed in partnership with the NWT Seniors’ Society and the GNWT. It was adapted from the Intergenerational Programming Toolkit developed by the City of Edmonton and Age Friendly Edmonton.

The NWT toolkit and resource guide were designed to help northerners create and deliver activities and programs in their community that include people of all ages. It highlights the strengths and opportunities in Northern communities for intergenerational activity planning.

Geoff Ray, Executive Director of the NWTRPA states that connecting people across generations is essential to the health of NWT communities.

“The Toolkit highlights the importance of this programming, and provides a free resource of information to support those interested in creating intergenerational programs in the territory.”

He adds that creating active-living programs in the North comes with unique challenges and opportunities, and a lot of the planning resources available online are not representative of life in the North.

“This can make it difficult to find information for creating intergenerational programming. The toolkit includes tasks, worksheets, and checklists to provide guidance through the process. “

Intergenerational programming can take a variety of shapes and forms— from a single event to weekly scheduled activities according to the NWTRPA. Here is a shortlist from the NWTRPA of benefits to intergenerational programs:

  1. Sharing traditional ways of knowing – Participants can share their skills, knowledge and expertise. Positive role modelling and mentorship can happen through intergenerational activities. Bringing different groups together can also be a source of support for those involved.
  2. Connecting through traditional language – Connecting with each other through storytelling and sharing of traditional knowledge and language is one of the great benefits of connecting different generations.
  3. Sharing traditional and modern ways of doing – Younger and older people can learn from one another- teaching someone about our strengths can be empowering. Exchanging traditional with technological knowledge can help to close the gap between generations.
  4. Strengthening family and community ties – Bringing together people of all ages to share time and experiences together can build community participation and commitment.
  5. Building healthy ways of living into community life – Intergenerational programming is a chance to bring families and communities together for healthy activities. Enjoying exercise, nutritious foods, and social moments is important to developing better routines in families and the community.
  6. Addressing the myths and stereotypes behind ageism – Intergenerational activities, done well, can create a bridge between people and help them to overcome negative or incorrect ideas about one another.

The NWTRPA notes that Intergenerational programs are an opportunity for all generations to socialize, learn, and grow together.

“By connecting people across age groups, we hope to achieve our vision of a healthy, vibrant territory.”

The Intergenerational Programming Toolkit can be viewed here.