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The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre will host Gathering Our Voices Aboriginal Youth Conference on the shared traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt peoples. This is our 14th Aboriginal youth conference and it will be held from March 21-24, 2016 at the Victoria Conference Centre and other venues around the city.

The conference will host up to 1500 Aboriginal delegates from across Canada. This conference will bring together over 1000 youth (aged 14-24 years), chaperones, presenters and guests to network, learn new techniques and skills in workshops, share knowledge through cultural activities, witness performances by talented individuals, explore career and education possibilities, and participate in sports and recreational activities.

Over the four days, the conference will provide youth delegates with career information, networking and leadership development opportunities, best practice strategies, tools and techniques, and culturally appropriate teachings. Youth can gather, share, and learn from each other and from mentors. Involving the local community in the event ensures that the gathering meets regional needs and addresses current priorities. This annual conference is an excellent opportunity to promote healthy living in Aboriginal communities and support youth in their personal growth and development.

For further information, please contact Della Preston at 250-388-5522 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Website: http://gatheringourvoices.bcaafc.com/

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Yukon’s sport and recreation community will benefit from more than $1.4 million in funding this year, provided through partnerships between the Government of Yukon, the Yukon Lottery Commission and Sport Canada.

“I am pleased to announce this continued funding, which offers vital support to Yukon’s many sport and recreation organizations, athletes, coaches, and officials,” Minister of Community Services Currie Dixon said. “This supports sport and recreation programs for Yukoners of all ages and helps build healthier, more active communities.”

Through this contribution, 26 sport organizations across the territory will receive funding via the Yukon Sport 4 Life program, while 29 sport organizations and six recreational groups will receive funding from the Yukon Recreation Advisory Committee (YRAC). Additionally, the Elite Athlete Program will invest in seven Yukon athletes who have been identified by Sport Canada as having the greatest potential to achieve top results at Olympic/Paralympic Games and World Championships.

“With the generous support of YRAC, Yukon government’s Sport and Recreation branch, and other organizations, we are able to support local community leaders and develop programs and services that empower Yukon’s people and communities to adopt active, healthy lifestyles through recreation and parks,” Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon executive director Anne Morgan said.

The funding will help sport organizations prepare for the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games and 2016 Arctic Winter Games. Additionally, it will help the Yukon Scout Council attend the World Scout Jamboree in Japan and support the Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle’s community archery programs.

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Application Deadline: Aug. 10, 2015
Start Date: Aug. 31, 2015
Partners in Play/School Event Coordinator –  We are looking for 4 part time one year contract workers for this special project

Please indicate which District you are interested in:
- Northern Ontario Region (north of Barrie)
- South Western Ontario
- Eastern Ontario
- Greater Toronto Area

Special Olympics Ontario provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This grassroots organization operates in over 150 communities with 1,700 sports clubs. Weekly sport training takes place throughout the province with 18 sport disciplines for some 19,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities. At this time we offer, throughout our 6 district structures, approximately 160 regional competitions on an annual basis. Over 9,000 volunteers operate and coordinate the localized sport programs and the regional competitions.

Special Olympics Ontario’s Four Corners Provincial School Championships program uniquely promotes sport training and competition opportunities to high school student athletes with intellectual disabilities, providing them with opportunities to compete and advance to the Special Olympics Four Corners Provincial School Championships.

This position will be responsible for assistance with the planning and execution of two programs.

1. The Special Olympics Four Corners Provincial School Championships program, which provides quality competition experience for students with an intellectual disability aged 13 – 21 in the sports of basketball, soccer, bocce and track & field. 48 regional qualifying competitions will be held throughout the 2015/2016 school year. This season will see 15 qualifiers for Bocce, 15 qualifiers for Basketball, 10 qualifiers for Soccer, and 8 qualifiers for Track and Field. Teams at each regional qualifier will be vying for the opportunity to advance to the Four Corners Provincial School Championships to be held in June of 2016.

This one year part time contract position will be tasked with coordinating regional qualifying events in all four sports throughout the 2015/2016 school season. For more about the program and a full list of qualifying locations, please visit our website at http://fourcorners.specialolympicsontario.ca .

2. The Special Olympics Ontario Partners in Play program which will aim to provide ‘Learn to Play’ opportunities to youth athletes with an intellectual disability across the province of Ontario. This contract position will be tasked with forming partnerships with local stakeholders including generic sports clubs, local facilities, schools and universities/colleges to start learn to play programs in the sports of soccer, basketball, track & field, and swimming.

Responsibilities

Under the direction of the Program Developer for Secondary Schools & Competitions and the Program Developer – Partners in Play, this position is responsible for the planning, execution, and post-event wrap up surrounding all Four Corners Regional Qualifiers in their geographic area. The candidate will also be responsible for forming local partnerships surrounding the Partners in Play initiative and ensuring the successful execution of local learn to play clubs. Some responsibilities will include:

  • Securing host facilities (local high schools, universities, community facilities)
  • Forming and working alongside host committees for events
  • Securing volunteers & officials
  • Assist with outreach and advertisement of events to local schools
  • Monitoring online registration of events
  • Creating competition schedules
  • Executing and coordinating day-of competition
  • Other duties as assigned

The candidate for the Northern Ontario region will preferably be located north of Barrie and have the ability to travel throughout the school year.

Skills Required

  • Education background in Kinesiology, Physical Education, Sports Management or Admin, or equivalent
  • Personal background or knowledge of four sports (basketball, soccer, track & field, bocce)
  • Previous work or volunteer experience coordinating sporting events
  • Comfortable with public speaking
  • Personable and enjoys working with people
  • Presents with a positive self-image
  • Exceptionally organized
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills
  • Efficient with computers and various software
  • Demonstrated ability for written/verbal presentations.
  • Experience working with volunteer committees
  • Experience working with special needs populations would be considered an asset
  • Ability to work flexible hours including evenings and some weekends
  • Driver’s license and access to a vehicle
  • Must be able to submit to police records with a clear record (will do in house)
  • As this position will be based out of a home office, candidate must be self-directed and self-starter and comfortable working remotely

Please note: this position will require some travel and overnight trips within your geographical region. Candidate must have valid driver’s license and access to own vehicle.

Timelines for Position:
Contract: August 31st 2015 – June 3, 2016
Paid hourly $15.00 per hour
Deadline for application: August 7, 2015
Please indicate your preffered district of Ontario - North, East, SW or GTA

For more information or to apply click here

Give it a couple years, but the battle to find ice for hockey in Calgary may soon be a little alleviated.

The sod-turning ceremony for a news sportsplex on the Tsuu T’ina First Nation took place Wednesday.

The All Chief’s Sportsplex will have two rinks, seating for 5,000 people, and other fitness facilities.

Spokesperson Kevin Littelight told City News, this will replace the former Sarcee Seven Chiefs Arena which closed last winter to make way for the new ring road in the southwest.

“It’s the biggest project, next to the road, to date and something to give back to the community, so it means a lot in terms of its sheer size and the positive impact on the community,” he said.
“A lot of our kids play with Calgary teams and Calgary communities and it’s quite a catalyst to keep us going as a partnership with Calgarians in building our sports spirit.”

All Chief’s Sportsplex is schedule to come online in 2017, with the full community centre project to cost about $48-million.

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Recognizing youth for their achievements is a great way to build self-esteem; and more importantly, it establishes role models so others can see that their goals are tangible.

Understanding how important this is for our youth, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples’ National Youth Council (NYC) established this unique awards program to honour and show appreciation to both achievements and efforts.

“We feel that Aboriginal youth in Canada are realizing goals and deserve to be recognized for both their efforts and achievements. We want youth to know that the journey is as important as the destination. For that reason this award is also based on effort and not entirely on accomplishments.” – NYC Member

Award Criteria

Any person in Canada be nominated for an award, so long as they:

- are between the ages of 15 and 29 by the deadline;

- are of Aboriginal ancestry, participates in his/her Aboriginal community and/or culture, and;

- Demonstrates an overall positive attitude towards life.

Application Process

The nominator (if applicable) or applicant, must send in all of the following documents:

- Letter and bio of the applicant;

- Two (2) signed support letters from non-relatives;

- Applicant resume;

- Current color photo of the applicant and;

- Completed application form with signatures.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Sorry, photos cannot be returned.

Past winners are not eligible to apply.

Recipient Information

The award recipient(s) will receive a cash award (amount to be determined based on monies fundraised) and an award.

The recipient’s photo and biography may be displayed on the Congress website, promotional items and media releases.

Selection Process

The selection committee is comprised of two (2) National Youth Council Members, one (1) representative of the Congress and (1) one Elder. The following questions will be utilized during the selection process:

- Does the applicant show an overall positive attitude towards his/her efforts?

- Does the applicant reflect the spirit and intent of the award?

- Does the applicant qualify for the award?

- How do others feel about the applicant?

- Is the applicant viewed as a role model to others?

- What impact has the applicant’s efforts/achievements had on the applicant and his or her community?

- Has the applicant’s efforts/achievements benefited other Aboriginal Youth?

- What are the nominee’s future plans and ambitions?

Deadline

Deadline is Sunday, August 30th, 2015 at 11:59 PM.

For more information or to apply click here

The Vancouver Whitecaps were in the Harbour City on Wednesday as part of the fourth annual Hope and Health program.

More than 400 Aboriginal children were at Beban Park fields for a day of soccer fun, which saw Whitcaps players Steven Beitashour, Pa-Modou Kah, Tim Parker and former captain Jay DeMerit all come out to provide some tips and insight.

The program's goal is to build connection, wellness and resilience among Aboriginal youth through a soccer environment and sees the Whitecaps team up with the Hope and Health for Life Society, as well as Aboriginal delegated child and family agencies Kw'umut Lelum and Lalum'utul' Smun'eem.

Beban Park was split up into numerous small sided fields for teams to play, with various Whitecaps players and staff circulating around to meet everyone in attendance.

"It's grown from 10 First Nations communities to over 25, so that's really exciting," said Deana Gill-Georgica, Hope and Health for Life Society chairperson. "The purpose of Hope and Health is to raise awareness and inspire health and wellness for Aboriginal children and youth. Soccer is the platform, but it's really about profiling these kids' heroes and getting to know them on a personal level and build relationships. All those players have overcome adversity to achieve their dreams."

The program also has an emphasis on physical and mental health conditions.

"It's a great program they've got going on," said Iranian international right back Beitashour.

"They asked us to come out and it was an easy answer for us.

"Any time you can give back to the community and the kids, I think it means a lot to them. We were in their shoes at one time." Beitashour also said "times were changing" within the Whitecaps organization which now consistently looks for different avenues to reach out to various communities across B.C.

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Labrador youth who are looking for something fun, interesting — and free — to do later this summer still have time to register for the 20th annual Multi-Cultural Youth Gathering (MCYG).

The event will be taking place Aug. 7-10 at the Labrador Christian Youth Camp.

Zack Hajjaoui is the special events coordinator for the Labrador Friendship Centre and is organizing the MCYG this year.

“As this is our 20th year, we’re really hoping to make it extra special,” said Hajjaoui, noting this year, the gathering will be three nights instead of two.

“This year’s theme is, ‘Our world, our view’ — we really want to get the Aboriginal perspective on various issues.”

Hajjaoui said one of the big topics of conversation this year will be youth mental health.

“A good friend of mine, John Rice from the Canadian Mental Health Association, will be attending the gathering to talk to participants about mental health from an Aboriginal perspective,” explained Hajjaoui.

“It will be good for the youth to hear him speak and discuss this issue.”

There will be a wide variety of events for the youth to take part in, said Hajjaoui.

“In addition to swimming and canoeing, the youth will be divided into ‘house teams’, where they get points for all the activities they take part in,” he explained.

“They will learn how to set up a Labrador tent, make ‘sand bread’, hear talks on archeology and safe sex, and we are also hoping to get the drumdancers and throat singers to the gathering for a performance.”

Hajjaoui added there will also be an ‘elder’s panel’ at some point, with an elder from each of Labrador’s three Aboriginal groups talking to the youth together.

Hajjaoui himself took part in a MCYG eight years ago when he was 14-years old.

He feels it’s a great event for youth to be involved in, adding even though Labradorians are more connected then ever today with social media, it’s still important to get together in person.

“Aboriginal youth should be proud of who they are. We’re seeing more of that pride coming back. Knowing your culture can benefit you in the long run.”

Hajjaoui expressed his gratitude to the local Community Youth Network staff for helping financially with costs for the MCYG, stressing that the event is free of charge to any Labrador youth wanting to take part.

As of July 23, 10 youth had registered for the MCYG from Nain, Rigolet, Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Sheshatshiu. But Hajjaoui says they will still be accepting applicants up to Aug. 7.

For more information on this year’s MCYG or to apply, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 709-896-8302 ext. 215.

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Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries is giving $375,000 to aboriginal youth recreation and sports programs over the next three years, Sport Minister Ron Lemieux announced in Winnipeg on Thursday.

The initiative will help programs such as the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC) and Manitoba Aboriginal Sport and Recreational Council (MASRC) with summer programming.​

The money will go to providing transportation, sports equipment and snacks for children from more than 100 schools in Manitoba. Participants will also be given the chance to learn more about aboriginal culture.

Lemieux focused on education when he spoke to the dozens of children gathered at the Old Exhibition Athletic grounds on Thursday.

"Scoring goals, shooting hoops, making baskets, playing floor hockey, winning games — that's really not what it's all about. It's important to play hard, have fun, be respectful of each other. But really, what it's about is making better people of us all, making you leaders," Lemieux said.

Melvin Magpantay is with the Manitoba Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Council (MASRC). He is hopeful that the increased funding will help at-risk aboriginal children and youth.

"First and foremost, it's the health factor. There's a high rate of obesity that's really rising and rising as the years progress. We're trying to combat that," said Magpantay.

"The most important one, I think, is peer-to-peer relationships. When they're in with good role models, they tend not to fall into traps that youth at risk can fall into."

Magpantay said he is grateful for the money because MARSC has struggled to think of creative ways to use their limited funding. He hopes the money, which works out to $125,000 per year, will help create healthy and active lifestyles for youth in the city and those living on reserves.

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