Ranch Ehrlo is sending five employees to Iqaluit, Nunavut to host a Volleyball Canada camp and learn about the Inuit culture. They will be leaving Monday, October 24, 2011 and returning on Monday, October 31, 2011. The group of employees travelling to Nunavut is:

  1. Scott Schutz, Head coach for Volleyball Canada and Ranch Ehrlo teacher - Johnson High School
  2. Brian Bernauer assistant instructor and teacher - Martin Collegiate High School
  3. Noah Roellchen-Pfohl, assistant instructor and teacher – Schaller School
  4. Hayley Maurer, Ranch Ehrlo representative and principal - Schaller School
  5. Nick Crighton, Ranch Ehrlo representative and cultural coordinator

What this trip hopes to achieve

The main purpose of this trip is to hold a high quality volleyball camp for both youth and coaches in the Iqaluit area. This is a great opportunity to promote and bring awareness of the sport of volleyball to the Iqaluit, Nunavut area, to provide a recreational service for all ages, to bring professional development to the coaches in the area, and to help identify athletes for Volleyball Canada. volleyball

Additionally, this trip will provide an opportunity to introduce frontline Ranch Ehrlo staff to the Iqaluit community and increase awareness of the Ranch Ehrlo treatment model. Further, employees can explore, learn, and understand the cultural, economic, and social differences of these northern communities, and then bring back what they have learned to other frontline workers of the Ranch. 

Schutz explained that by using the sport of volleyball, he would like to share information about the Ranch Ehrlo Society treatment model with the people in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and introduce some of people who work with some of their youth at the Ranch Ehrlo treatment facility. Schutz said he believes that by having a group of frontline workers present in this community to interact with the parents, social workers and teachers, a relationship and level of understanding will be built, which will help bring these two different cultures understand  each other better.

sponsors“I also think it is essential to allow frontline workers to see first-hand the backgrounds of the youths they work with because it will help all of us to better relate the youth from that area, and ultimately, all the youth we work with at Ranch Ehrlo Society,” asserted Schutz.

This is an initiative started by the Ranch Ehrlo Society in partnership with Volleyball Canada and Sport Nunavut. Funding and financial support are provided by the Government of Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Cultural Connection

Some of the youth who come to the Ranch have never learned or have lost their language, culture, and traditions. The Ranch believes that during the treatment process it is important that the youth have the opportunity to learn their culture and incorporate it into their lives. For this reason, Crighton is accompanying the group to help ensure that the youth continue to speak their language and practice their traditions. He is committed to learning Inuit cultural practices, and he has foundinukshuk opportunities for the group to participate in Inuit ceremonies and cultural gatherings.

“Although our stay is limited, we will dedicate all our time to learning Inuit traditions and culture so that we can deliver relevant programming for the youth,” affirmed Schutz.

Employees will meet with agency stakeholders

Cultural coordinator, Nick Crighton, explained that in order for the Ranch to deliver relevant programming to Inuit youth, we need to understand that the health and the environment are interconnected - making a holistic approach essential to Inuit well-being. He pointed out that research concludes that there are increased rates of suicide, substance abuse, diabetes, tuberculosis, and cancer in Nunavut communities (Source: Health Canada).

Iqaluit“Our goal at the Ranch Ehrlo Society is to ensure that the youth have an opportunity to learn about the issues facing their home communities. To achieve our goal, we plan to work together with the Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services, as well as schools, and a community elder’s centre, to develop relevant material that we can incorporate in our classrooms and group homes,” explained Crighton.

Additionally, we would like to take the traditional and cultural Inuit customs and incorporate them into the healing process for Inuit youth during their time at the Ranch. If we develop programs and offer services that are relevant and responsive to Inuit culture, needs, and circumstances, we believe that it will improve the health, well-being, and quality of life of youth in treatment.

“Hayley and my objectives are to really learn as much as we can about the Inuit culture, taking in all the information while we are there. Once we return we would like to take what we learned from the Inuit and see how we can incorporate it into the lives of the Inuit youth here at the Ranch Ehrlo Society,” explained Crighton.

For more information

For more information, or to follow the group on their journey, visit Scott’s facebook page. You can also search for “Nunavut Volleyball 2011” on facebook. Scott can also be contacted at 751-2734 or by email at

- Submitted by Scott Schutz and Nick Crighton