The first-ever graduates of an Aboriginal Fitness Preparatory program were honoured at the University of Saskatchewan Thursday afternoon.
Nine students were recognized for completing the new program, which was developed in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, City of Saskatoon and 2J2 Fitness.
The purpose of the program was to give these students a better advantage when completing their Aboriginal Fitness Certification Program.
All of the students were in varying stages of the certification program.
Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, director of Aboriginal initiatives with the university hopes the graduates will now help begin a ripple effect for sustainable fitness in Aboriginal communities.
“It addresses community, health and economic needs, so we are hoping they will take what they learned back to their communities and be that fitness leader,” says Wasacase-Lafferty.
The course focused on the theory portion of the program and included anatomy, physiology, nutrition, mentor-ship and leadership and was facilitated by Joel Pedersen, owner of 2J2 Fitness.
Pedersen, who grew up in Fond du Lac, hopes the program will address what he feels is a lack of fitness in Aboriginal communities.
“There are lots of studies being done and papers written, but there is nothing going on, so from the outside looking in I said what can I do to make a change... well I can pass on what I know,” says Pedersen.
Even though this is a pilot program organizers are hoping it will become a staple course for those wanting to become Aboriginal fitness instructors.