Young Indigenous athletes are learning what it takes to perform at a high level.
This Saturday, nearly 70 Indigenous youth from reserves in the Saskatoon Tribal Council learned the proper way to jump, squat, sprint and pedal from high level athletes.
Several University of Saskatchewan Huskies, from a wide variety of teams, took the day to teach these youth all of the same skills they learned growing up.
The event was part of the Youth Leadership Through Sports Program in partnership between the university and the tribal council.
STC Chief Mark Arcand says this program means so much to him, because it is giving First Nation kids an opportunity they may not have otherwise.
“Our kids are getting exposure to the university’s high-level performance centre,” said Chief Arcand. “The parents just need to bring them in and they will learn skills they can take back to their communities.”
The program is for boys and girls ages 10 to 14 and Chief Arcand says there is around 10 kids from each of the reserves under the STC umbrella.
One young boy from Mistawasis First Nation hopes days like these will help him one day become a professional Lacrosse player.
“It feels real good because (these athletes) have lots of experience they can give to us and help me in all of my sports,” said 12-year-old Cole Currie.
Currie hopes to one day be like his favourite player Lyle Thompson, who plays for the Georgia Swarm in the National Lacrosse League. Thompson is one of four Iroquois brothers who currently play in the NLL.
“A lot of these communities don’t have the same infrastructure as the university, but they are learning basic fundamentals they can benefit from anywhere,” said Chief Arcand. “This is very valuable knowledge for these kids.”
This Saturday was the second training session in a year-long program where a total of six of these sessions are scheduled.
Chief Arcand, says they are working on getting the same opportunities for older youth as well.
“Any kid that can benefit from this program, we want them to be apart of it,” he said.
(PHOTO – Young athletes learning fundamental skills from a U of S athlete. Photo by Joel Willick.)