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According to Conference Board of Canada research, Canada gets a “B” grade on the health report card, ranking 8th among 16 peer countries compared in their study. While that doesn’t sound so bad in the grand scheme of things, we also hear from ParticipACTION’s Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth that Canada gets a D- for overall physical activity levels with only 9% of 5-17 year olds getting 60 minutes of activity each day. With physical activity and healthy eating making up a large portion of healthy lifestyle behaviours, this should be of great concern to all of us as our kids get older.

So how many times have you told yourself that today is the day that I will start eating better and exercising more? We all know that sometimes it is easier said than done. Knowing that we need to make behaviour changes for a healthier lifestyle is one thing, following through on them and then sticking to them is something else entirely. So how can we best help ourselves and our kids get moving on some of these behaviour changes?

Five tips to help make behaviour changes that stay with you:

Make a plan – Be specific and set goals. Double check to make sure that everything you’ve planned is realistic. Write your plan down and put it somewhere you can see it.

Start small – Break your goals down into small, manageable steps that you can measure. Being able to achieve small steps builds confidence.

Change one behavior at a time – Focus on one change at a time, too many changes can become overwhelming. Habits are something that are developed over time, so slow and steady wins this race.

Involve a buddy – Including someone in your plan provides you with motivation and accountability. Sharing trials and successes makes the change more manageable. Choose someone who is positive and supports your short and long-term goals.

Ask for support – Don’t be to ask for help, it can help bolster you when times get tough. If you feel you can’t do it on your own, there are professionals (nutritionists, fitness professionals, therapist, etc.) who can provide you with the information you may need to make health decisions.

Creating healthy habits can be a rewarding experience. And since making changes can take a lot of time and energy, it is worthwhile making sure the changes turn into lifelong habits. Investing in learning how to make changes and making sure those changes are healthy ones are key to a successful lifestyle makeover.

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More than a century after he passed away and his role as a soccer trailblazer was seemingly lost to history, Xul-si-malt is having one helluva year.

Better known as Harry Manson, Xul-si-malt was the only player of aboriginal descent to play on the three Nanaimo premier soccer teams from 1897 to 1905 — but his accomplishments were largely forgotten after his tragic death in 1912.

That changed last November, when he was recognized as a "pioneer" by Canada's Soccer Hall of Fame, an honour which has led to one posthumous accolade after another.

Now, Vancouver soccer teams are readying to breathe life anew into Manson's achievements, by competing in the first-ever Harry Manson Legacy Soccer Tournament.

One of the key aspects of the tournament is that it's open to aboriginal and non-aboriginal players, men and women.

"Everyone can play. No one is excluded. I truly believe those were Harry's values," says Robert Janning, the tournament organizer.

"Over one hundred years after his passing, Harry's story and his outlook on life can still give so much to the world today."

Overcoming racism

The Harry Manson Legacy Tournament includes four teams, from Vancouver-area First Nation communities and urban aboriginal students, to players from the Salvation Army and Portland Hotel Society who are homeless or recently homeless.

Vancouver's Deputy Mayor Andrea Reimer helped organize a team for the tournament that unites the City of Vancouver, Musqueam First Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, and Squamish Nation, in hopes of overcoming barriers.

"The racial diversity that exists in the City of Vancouver does not exist on the soccer fields," says Reimer, who has been an active soccer player since the age of five. She recalls playing in her youth against "tough and terrific" female First Nations soccer players who she feels could have become elite players.

"Had there been an active program to support [aboriginal girls], they could have brought women's soccer to a higher level faster, but that support wasn't there."

In Harry Manson's days, racism was almost palpable. He was one of the first aboriginal players to win a B.C. provincial soccer championship, and guided a Snuneymuxw First Nation team to an unprecedented city championship.

Local newspapers reported incidents of jeering white fans shouting "Kill the savages!" when Manson and other Snuneymuxw players took to the pitch.

After his accidental death at the age of 32 – he was run over by a train while hitching into town to get medicine for his child – the coroner's report referred to Manson as a "drunken Indian."

Janning, a part-time taxi driver, played a pivotal role raising attention for Manson's accomplishments after unearthing his story while researching soccer's history in B.C.

He was struck by archival news reports which not only illustrated Manson's skill but also his determination to break colour barriers in a sport then dominated by white people.

"The racism he was surrounded by, he didn't care: 'I don't care if you're white, if you're red, I just want to play soccer.' I think that sends such a positive message in today's world where there's a lot of hidden segregation," says Janning.

Inspiring new generation

The Native Education College (NEC) in Vancouver is entering a squad, keen to participate in a tourney that pays tribute to a First Nation soccer star.

"There are so many phenomenal First Nation athletes in the communities, and often they don't receive the same kind of recognition that athletes in the mainstream Canadian sport system receive," says Claire Askew, sport and fitness coordinator at NEC.

"It's been really inspirational for our players to learn more about the legacy of Harry Manson."

NEC has never fielded a soccer team, because of lack of funds. But the Manson tournament is free, and a local community centre donated gym time for the team to practice. The newly-created NEC Nighthawks are co-ed, with players from 20 to 60 years old, hailing from many cultural backgrounds.

Nighthawks coach Terry Point of the Musqueam First Nation hopes Manson's legacy encourages young aboriginal athletes to dream big.

"One of the hardest things for First Nations kids is having that will to leave home, and do the training necessary to become a pro athlete. The more we recognize people that have succeeded in that goal, all the better," says Point.

​Janning is volunteering his time as tournament organizer, and the modest tournament costs are covered by donations to the Friends of Harry Manson website.

The indoor, five-aside competition will be held in North Vancouver on Oct. 17, followed by a feast. Janning hopes the tournament will become an annual event.

"This is a special opportunity that facilitates aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities getting to know one another," says Janning.

"Soccer has a special way of bringing people together."

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Oct. 29, 2015 to Oct. 30, 2015
Crown Plaza, Gatineau Ottawa

The Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference is your chance to engage and network researchers, analysts, sport leaders, and the physical activity sector. Meet with the thought leaders, learn about the latest sport participation research and programs and share your information. Be more aware and informed as you develop research and programs that will have an impact on sport in Canada.

WHO will the conference benefit? EVERYONE who has an interest in sport participation in Canada. Engage your academic and sport communities at this sport research showcase conference; this is your opportunity to make a difference. Be part of the discussion that drives change and evolution in sport policy and sport program development.

This is your opportunity to join the "think tank" to speak with leading sport researchers about current and ongoing research topics.

If you have any questions about the SCRI conference, please do not hesitate to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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A young man from Indian Brook credits an outdoor jumping and climbing activity called parkour for helping him overcome obesity and other personal struggles and says many other aboriginal youth could benefit from the practise.

Glenn Knockwood took up parkour about 12 years ago after seeing a segment about it on the television show Ripley's Believe it or Not.

"The way Ripley's made it seem was that it was impossible and no one could do it," he said.

"Then a few years later, I found 13-year-olds on the internet doing it and as soon as I saw that I was like 'ok anyone can do it' and I went out that night."

He said with parkour, you use an obstacle as a path to overcome.

"With parkour practise, parkour mentality, it is no longer something that will stop you in your tracks," he said. "You can find a way to overcome it."

'A sense of empowerment'

Knockwood has worked with youth at the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre for the past six years promoting parkour as a way to reconnect with nature.

"Especially for youth and especially aboriginal youth, a sense of empowerment is something that is greatly needed within the youth of this era," he said.

Parkour helped Knockwood overcome some personal obstacles. He said he weighed 159 kilograms as a teen. He also lost both his mother and sister at a young age.

"You can achieve the goals and direction that you have chosen for your life," he said

Now Knockwood is trying to start up an indoor parkour gym in Halifax called the Urban Playground. The funding is mostly in place, but he is having a difficult time finding appropriate space that is tall enough.

Ideally, he'd like to open in downtown Halifax, but suspects it will likely be located in the Bayers Lake or Burnside Industrial parks.

He wants to bring parkour to more youth.

"It looks more difficult than it is."

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Application Deadline: Nov. 20, 2015
Start Date: Jan. 6, 2016

The Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) is the governing body responsible for all aspects of lacrosse in Canada. The CLA mission is to honour the sport of lacrosse and its unique nation-building heritage, by engaging our members and leading our partners and providing opportunities for all Canadians to participate. We value health, excellence, accountability, respect and teamwork. For more details on the Canadian Lacrosse Association and the sport of lacrosse, visit www.lacrosse.ca

Position: Program Intern (part time)

Dates: January - April 2016 (flexible with possibility for extension)

Work days/hours: 2-3 days per week (Mon-Fri). Flexible hours. Will work within educational requirements to meet minimum criteria of the student.

Compensation: This is an intern position without any pay. The CLA will provide feedback and reports as required by the student for their educational institutions.

Duties include but are not limited to:
- Assist in the administration of the National Coaching Certification Program for Lacrosse;
- Assist in the preparation for national meetings and national championships;
- Assist in the development of new resources and in the updating of current resources (i.e. rule books, coaching and official manuals, etc;)
- Complete day to day administrative duties, including shipping, communication with members and answering inquiries from members and partners;
- Assist in the delivery of CLA development programs;
- Assist with national team program administration.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Experience:

- Post secondary education in project management, sport management or related field completed or in-progress;
- Excellent organizational skills and the ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously;
- Advanced computer application skills - Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint;
- Strong oral and written communication skills;
- Demonstrated ability to take initiative, work independently and work as part of a team;
- Ability to handle sensitive information in a professional and confidential manner;
- Experience working with volunteers is considered an asset;
- Experience in lacrosse is considered an asset;
- Bilingualism is considered an asset.

For more information or to apply click here

The Sport and Recreation division of the Department of Community and Government Services is looking for enthusiastic and active Nunavut youth to be ambassadors and volunteers for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games hockey events in Iqaluit.The Nunavut Youth Ambassador Program is open to Nunavut youth between 16-23 years of age. To be eligible for the Youth Ambassador Program, applicants must:

- Complete the application form.
- Be 16-23 years of age at the time of the Games.
- Include two reference letters.
- Submit a recent criminal records check.
- Be a resident of Nunavut.
- Be available to travel to Iqaluit and submit proof of approved leave from employer if employed.
- Be able to participate in training session in Iqaluit on January 21-24, 2016*, leading up to the Games.
- Be able to attend Iqaluit hockey event from March 6-11, 2016.
*Date subject to change.

If you would like more information or are interested in this exciting opportunity, please contact Jeff Seeteenak at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-888-765-5506

For more information about the AWG Nunavut Youth Ambassador Program, contact:

Jeff Seeteenak
Sport Development Officer
Department of Community and Government Services
1-888-765-5506
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price knows it’s a tough road from the youth hockey leagues of interior British Columbia to the NHL, so he’s trying to make it a little easier for players who are trying to follow in his footsteps.

Price teamed up with equipment manufacturer CCM to send thousands of dollars worth of skates, sticks, helmets, pads and all things hockey to youth in the area around Williams Lake, B.C., the town where the Habs superstar got his start.

The special deliveries landed at the offices of the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association, where Price played from age nine to 15, three First Nations communities, the local Boys and Girls Club, KidSport, JumpStart and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Pam Povelofskie, administrator for the minor hockey program, said players and parents are excited that “tired and tattered” gear will be replaced for about 18 house league teams.

“I received a huge shipment of boxes that has overtaken my office,” she said, adding the association asked for goalie gear for its atom to midget teams when Price’s father, Jerry Price, emailed about the unexpected gifts.

“As kids get to bantam and midget they tend to have their own sets but there are some kids who need our help so we’re going to be providing them with some brand new shiny equipment,” she said.

Povelofskie said the equipment the association received is worth more money than it could ever afford.

“It would have taken us years to purchase something like this. We do a couple of sets a year, maybe, if we’re lucky.”

Eight-year-old Amdeus Isnardy said he tried out a new pair of goalie pads, gloves and a chest protector at the rink on Saturday.

“I would say, ‘Thank you, Carey Price, for the goalie gear,”’ said Amdeus, who will share the equipment with other novice players.

Bonnie Slack, operations co-ordinator of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, said several children in that aboriginal community, the Tsilhqot’in Nation and the Cariboo Chilcotin Tribal Council will be fully outfitted with hockey gear.

“Our five kids received the helmets with the face guards, the shoulder pads, the elbow pads, the gloves, the knee pads, shin pads, skates and sticks,” she said.

“It was just awesome.”

Jerry Price said his son didn’t want young players to be held back because of a lack of equipment or old gear that’s been passed on too many times.

“We wanted to make sure that they had good stuff to play with. There’s lots of stuff that we looked at and said, ‘That’s not a good enough pair of skates to play with.”

Carey Price, who spends his summers in his hometown of Anahim Lake, about 320 kilometres west of Williams Lake, has remained connected to the community.

“He wants to make sure that people, and kids especially, know that he hasn’t forgotten and hasn’t just elevated himself to the point where he doesn’t have time for the people who matter most to him,” his father said.

The Habs goalie made the 640-kilometre round trip in the car with his dad to play hockey in Williams Lake three times a week. Then his father put his pilot licence to use and substituted the car for a small plane.

Price, who already funds a breakfast program at his old school in Anahim Lake, will always remember his roots, his father said.

The Canadiens goaltender and his wife Angela are expecting a special delivery of their own around the end of April, when they will become first-time parents.

“I knew I’d be happy, I didn’t know I’d be this excited,” Jerry Price said.

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It was a beautiful Thursday morning at the Musqueam Golf & Learning Centre in South Vancouver and while golfers worked on their games, Alec Dan was clad in traditional Musqueam attire .

Dan was greeting 11 young golfers to the BC Aboriginal Provincial Golf Camp & Championships and performed a traditional Musqueam welcoming song.

“We are very happy to have you come to our territory and learn about the great game of golf,” said Dan. “Our hope is that you youngsters have fun and enjoy yourself here and maybe you take up the game of golf in the future. The most important thing is to have fun.”

The two-day event, put on by The Aboriginal Sport, Recreation & Physical Activity Partners Council and hosted by the Musqueam First Nation, saw kids come from as far as Kamloops to work with Musqueam Class A Professional Paul Skrudland.

“Our focus this year was to get more Aboriginal youth who have never tried golf to come and give it a try,” said Lara Mussell Savage, Manager, Sport Development & Competitions for the 
Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Partners Council. “We have put a large focus on skills development this year and we are happy to have so many brand new golfers here.”

Mussell Savage said identifying potential Team BC members for the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto is still a part of this camp, but this year’s camp will serve as preparation for golfers who hope to impress during the 2016 Team BC selection processes.

“This combined camp and championships provides a great opportunity for youth born 1998 through 2003 who are interested in pursuing Team BC for the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) to develop and better prepare for the Team BC selection processes to be held next summer at the 2016 BC Aboriginal Golf Championships,” said Mussell Savage.

One young golfer who is on Mussell Savage’s radar is 15-year-old Tyson Draney of Kamloops, who came with his father Darrell. “I’ve been golfing for three years and I’ve had a lot of fun playing the sport,” said Tyson. “I would love to be a part of Team BC, but I know I have to work on my putting and my driver is sometimes 'iffy'. I am pretty good with my chipping and my irons.”

The smooth-hitting lefty was getting some specialized teaching from Skrudland, who videotaped Tyson’s swing and showed the youngster how he could improve it. “You have a long swing and it’s in a good position,” said Skrudland. “Your (club) face is closed so we can try and work on getting it open more often.”

“That’s pretty cool to see your swing in slow motion,” said Tyson. “I know I have to get better, spend more time practicing and that’s what I’m going to do when I go home.”

Skrudland was also utilizing Tyson as a mentor for the other 10 kids in the camp, as many of them haven’t held a golf club, let alone hit it prior to this camp.

Sisters Maddy and Chloey Jasper-Piché are originally from Saskatchewan and now attend school in Surrey. Their dad heard about the camp and the girls were eager to give it a try. “I’m having a lot of fun,” said 9-year-old Chloey. “I also play soccer and I swim and it’s good to try out a new sport.”

Maddy, two years older, said she plays soccer and basketball as well and golf has been good, especially since she can learn it alongside her sister. “We get to spend time together and we’re meeting some new people here,” said Maddy.

The camp does have a competitive component, as the second day features a full round of golf and medals to the best finishers. But for most of the two days, it’s about fundamentals.

Skrudland teaches the kids about interlocking and overlapping grips, stretching exercises for before and after golf, how to chip and putt and golf rules and etiquette. Skrudland also accompanied them out on the executive length Musqueam course for a practice round.

The kids also get a lesson in nutrition, as their snacks include healthy fresh fruit and bottles of water. “We want the kids to see that golf is a game you can play for life,” said Skrudland. “I’ve been trying to organize a camp like this at Musqueam for some time, so that’s why I was so happy to get involved in this camp. Golf can be an intimidating sport to pick up, with the ball being small and clubs not always being available.”

Skrudland knew about half the kids because they are part of the Musqueam Nation, but he was happy to get to know the other kids. “Getting kids from other bands involved is good for the future,” said Skrudland. “If we can give them some fundamentals and get them interested in the game now, maybe they’ll want to continue with golf.”

While there was originally a $40 fee to register for the camp, financial support from sponsors and partners meant that fee was waived for all 11 camp participants. “The Musquem Nation have been great hosts,” said Mussell Savage. “We were very happy that Alec Dan was able to welcome the kids to this event because we wanted the kids to understand there’s a cultural element to this camp.”

The camp concluded on Friday afternoon with an awards lunch and ceremony at the Musqueam Community Centre.

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