In recognition of the Dawson City rural experiential model

Mr. Silver: I rise on behalf of the Liberal Party and the Official Opposition to also pay tribute to the rural experiential model, or REM, which took place in Dawson City at Robert Service School in September. I want to begin by thanking Elder Angie Joseph Rear for the opening prayer for the event. That was a prayer of hope — hope for educators to open their hearts to the many different ways that northern students learn. By all accounts, that is exactly what the REM is all about.

This was the third REM session to be held in Dawson, but there was also a successful session that was held in the spring in Watson Lake. There were approximately 100 students, Mr. Speaker, from across rural Yukon and a total of eight different schools learning from a list of 14 different options, including archery, the gold rush — past, present and future — mountain biking, fiddling, robotics, and much, much more. I witnessed the students making the most of their time with experts, teachers and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in elders, who were also part of the programming.

This was a very special week for Yukon students. It was certainly a different set-up from the regular school environment, and it proved to be a fantastic chance for people to meet others from other Yukon communities and to even get school credits for the different activities completed that week. The goal of the REM was to present to the students a dynamic way of delivering a specialized program that promotes student engagement and success.

I want to thank the many coordinators of the week’s events for all of their hard work that went into preparing and welcoming so many young people to the community of Dawson. I want to especially thank Ms. Liz Woods. Ms. Woods was my colleague at Robert Service School, teaching the high school science program before being seconded to the department. She was instrumental in the implementation of the week’s events, and it was absolutely wonderful to see her back in Dawson, engaging with students.

Mr. Speaker, the REM is about trying new things. It is a chance to dip your toe into something and you never know what will come out of it. Hobbies and interests become skills and experiences that can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment and to becoming a larger part of their community at the same time. I know that many of the students in Dawson that week made personal connections and commitments to new skills that will absolutely change their lives.