K’amba Carnival has been a successful community event on the Hay River Reserve for 34 years.
But such an event does not happen by accident – it takes dedicated volunteers.
And now the GNWT has honoured those volunteers by naming the K’amba Carnival Committee the winner in the group category of the 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Awards.
The awards were presented in Yellowknife on May 6.
Diane Tourangeau, the chairperson of the K’amba Carnival Committee, said it was a surprise when she earlier heard the committee was to receive the award.
Her initial reaction was “wow,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Tourangeau said there are about 17 main players in the committee and about 30 volunteers altogether.
“We have a big list of volunteers,” she said.
Tourangeau and committee member Crystal Hope travelled to Yellowknife to receive the award on behalf of the committee. Chief Roy Fabian of K’atlodeeche First Nation was also at the ceremony.
“That’s a very big plus for us,” said Tourangeau of the award. “I’m so honoured and grateful for all the hard workers. All the volunteers are awesome.”
She was one of the founders of K’amba Carnival, after the Ookpik Carnival ended in Hay River.
“We borrowed, I think, $300 off the band and we had a carnival,” Tourangeau recalled. “We made money and paid them back, and that’s how it started.”
She has been involved in K’amba Carnival ever since.
“We just do it because we want to get together and have a good time,” she said of the carnival, which is presented in March of each year and hosted by K’atlodeeche First Nation.
The K’amba Carnival Committee was nominated for the award by Sharon Sunrise.
The GNWT presents the Outstanding Volunteer Awards each year to show appreciation to volunteers and volunteer organizations for their outstanding contributions in communities across the territory.
The other recipients of this year’s award are Yellowknife’s Dave Kellett in the elder category, Fort Liard’s Leona Berreault in the youth category and Tsiighetchic’s Charlene Blake for the individual category.
“Celebrating and recognizing volunteers across the NWT is an important part of maintaining a sustainable volunteer presence in our communities,” said Robert C. McLeod, the minister for the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA), in a news release.
MACA presents the awards in partnership with the NWT Association of Communities.
McLeod said it is always good to recognize those who selflessly devote their time and effort to the betterment of their communities through volunteerism.