New Brunswick

Caraquet's Jeux de l'Acadie offers more than fun and games

The 37th annual Jeux de l'Acadie brings together 1,200 young Acadians from across the Atlantic provinces for a long weekend of sport, culture, and, starting this year, education. Caraquet, the self-proclaimed capital of Acadie, hosts the event June 29 to July 3. Festivities kicked off Thursday evening with an elaborate opening ceremony.

1,200 children to participate in this year's festivities, but not all are athletes.

Athletes at the 37th annual Jeux de l'Acadie in Caraquet prepare for the opening ceremonies Thursday evening (Bridget Yard/CBC News)

The 37th annual Jeux de l'Acadie brings together 1,200 young Acadians from across the Atlantic provinces for a long weekend of sport, culture, and, starting this year, education.

Allain Roy, artistic director of the games: "The entertainment is for youth by youth." (Bridget Yard/CBC News)
Caraquet, the self-proclaimed capital of Acadie, hosts the event June 29 to July 3. Festivities kicked off Thursday evening with an elaborate opening ceremony.

"There's a part of the show that needs to be very formal, like the flame. We add an artistic element," said co-artistic director Allain Roy

"We take some youth singers, and so the entertainment is for youth by youth."

Jeux de l'Acadie is as much a cultural event as it is an athletic challenge.

The annual competitions offer opportunities for improvisation and singing groups.

Acajoux, the mascot for the Jeux de l'Acadie, will be in Caraquet for the entire weekend of festivities
"We're the self-proclaimed capital of Acadie. In Caraquet, we're proud to say it. So we have to be at a high level," said Roy

"There are great singers here."

"We're going to give them the tools to be leaders"

A new program, based on Sherbrooke's Canada Games strategy, is being introduced during this year's games.

Fifty of the 1,200 delegates will participate in an education component of the Jeux de l'Acadie over the weekend.

Active living coordinator Linda Dalpé has created a program for children at Jeux de l'Acadie that includes sports nutrition, active living tips, and leadership training (Bridget Yard/CBC News)
"We split it in three parts. One is actual physical activity, the other part is nutrition, but in a context of sport events," said Linda Dalpe, active living coordinator.

"The other component is advocacy and leadership in your own community."

The children participating in the new segment are not participating as athletes in the traditional sense. They are learning to be community builders.

"We're going to give them the tools to be leaders in their own communities where either they live or in their school community and to increase awareness about healthy living, active living," said Dalpe.

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