Victoria Foundation’s Jayna Brulotte heads north

Victoria Foundation Community Initiatives Specialist Jayna Brulotte is heading north with a group of 125 youth from 17 countries for the Students on Ice Foundation’s 2017 Arctic Expedition. (c) Lee Narraway / SOI Foundation


On August 8th, I’ll be leaving for the Canadian Arctic as part of Students on Ice Foundation’s 2017 Arctic Expedition.

The Victoria Foundation has partnered with Students on Ice Foundation to support the expedition, taking place August 8th-23rd in the Canadian North and Greenland. Through the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, funds have supported the development of reconciliation curriculum, with the goals of educating hundreds of youth and staff involved with Students on Ice and improving relationships between Canada’s indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. This curriculum will be piloted with participants on the 2017 expedition and used in future years.

The mandate of Students on Ice is to educate the world’s youth about the importance of the Polar Regions and support youth in their continued personal and professional growth and global citizenship. Since its inception in 2000, Students on Ice has taken more than 2,500 participants on 30 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.

Student paddles a traditional Inuit qayaq (kayak) along the shores of Uummannaq, Greenland. ® Martin Lipman / SOI Foundation

This program provides youth with a unique opportunity to learn about the accelerated impact of climate change on the people in northern communities, as well as the role that Polar Regions play in global climate change. The Victoria Foundation values the long-term impact of this program for youth from around the world, who have the opportunity to connect with other youth, scientists, educators, elders, and community leaders, empowering them to create change in their communities.

A group of 125 youth aged 14-24 from 17 countries and 90 staff will participate in the 2017 Arctic Expedition. As the Community Initiatives Specialist with the Victoria Foundation and coordinator of Victoria Foundation’s youth program, Vital Youth, I am thrilled to be participating. I will support students through this hands-on experience as they expand their knowledge of the changing circumpolar world, foster a new understanding and respect for the planet, and gain the inspiration and motivation needed to help lead us to a healthy and sustainable future. I am excited to bring knowledge and insight gained back to youth in the Capital Region, supporting youth empowerment and global local citizenship.

With the help of an oceanographer, students look in a new plankton tow to see what they’ve found. ® Martin Lipman / SOI Foundation

I will have my newly purchased camera in tow and be looking to capture the beauty and diversity of the Arctic. Polar bears and narwhals top my list of animals that I hope to see. I am also looking forward to connecting with and learning from the impressive team of staff and students that I will be setting sail with in just a few short days. I recently learned that Michael Kusugak, an Inuit storyteller and author, co-wrote with Robert Munsch one of my favourite books when I was young (A Promise is a Promise) and will be joining the expedition as well!

My fellow participants and I will be blogging throughout the trip to share photos and stories – look for additional posts throughout this journey and upon my return. To learn more about the program, visit

Jayna Brulotte is the Community Initiatives Specialist with the Victoria Foundation. Originally from northern Alberta, Jayna has resided in Victoria since 2009.