Loads of sleeping bags and other commemorative items are being distributed to children and youth throughout the Yukon, thanks to a partnership between the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games (AWG 2020), the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), and Air North, Yukon’s Airline.
The AWG 2020 Host Society had ordered sleeping bags, flip-flops and t-shirts for the Games. With the event cancellation, AWG 2020 was left with dozens of boxes filled with the items.
“We wanted to make a donation, and with Yukon First Nations playing an important role in the planning of the Games, we felt the Council of Yukon First Nations would be a great fit,” said Moira Lassen, General Manager of AWG 2020. “CYFN offered to do the leg work, coordinating distribution to Yukon First Nations youth, and we’re very happy to confirm that we will be donating nearly 1,000 sleeping bags.”
In addition to the sleeping bags, AWG 2020 donated 600 pairs of flip-flops and more than 1,000 t-shirts to CYFN, which coordinated the distribution to various communities. Air North delivered the items to Old Crow and Dawson City.
“It’s wonderful to see three organizations working together to spread some cheer during a stressful time,” said Peter Johnston, CYFN Grand Chief. “This partnership is in keeping with the spirit of reconciliation which would have been a major focus of the event itself.”
The partnership on the sleeping bag donation came together April 6, one year to the day from the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the AWG 2020 Host Society, CYFN and several Yukon First Nations.
AWG 2020 donated an additional 500 sleeping bags to other community organizations, including Girl Guides of Canada (Yukon), Scouts Yukon, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon (FASSY), and Blood Ties Four Directions.
The 2020 Arctic Winter Games would have been held March 15 to 21 in Whitehorse, but were cancelled on March 7 due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.