Dashuk, mentors work with youth

July 16, 2012

Jim Daschuk of SPHERU recently worked with a group of Aboriginal youth to help them take steps to becoming community leaders in the future.

The Aboriginal Youth Leadership Camp brought together approximately 15 aboriginal high school students, ages 15 and 16, in early June for a focused three-day event to learn about leadership from a team of mentors.

“The students were identified as leaders by their teachers,” Daschuk says. “It was great to be able to give them the opportunity to develop their skills and make friends, to develop a community, as they progress in their education and their careers.”

Some came from as far away as Patunak (nine hours by car) to spend a weekend at University of Regina to learn about leadership from a variety of mentors, including University of Regina President Vianne Timmons, Jacob Pratt (Cote First Nation, FNUC), Colby Tootoosis (Poundmaker First Nation) and CBC journalist Wab Kinew, who was also keynote speaker.  The program was put together by Jennifer Love Green, the student advisor in Kinesiology and Health Studies.

Daschuk was also the organizer of another KHS initiative in the spring, Sports for Life. He had hoped that the Sports for Life conference would attract 100 kids, so he was pleased when approximately 130 showed up.

The event targeting First Nations and Métis youth highlighted the importance of sports and health as a means for personal development as well as a stepping-stone to educational accomplishment and success in adulthood.

SPHERU's Jim Daschuk (background) helped organize a leadership for Aboriginal youth that included mentors such as U of R president Vianne Timmons.
SPHERU's Jim Daschuk (background) helped organize a leadership for Aboriginal youth that included mentors such as U of R president Vianne Timmons.

Sports for Life received media attention from CBC and the Regina Leader-Post. It featured a lineup of successful athletes that serve as role models for young First Nations and Métis people, including the Standing Buffalo Fighting Sioux lacrosse team, which finished in the top spot at last year’s Calgary Canada Day North American Lacrosse Tournament, Paralympian Colleen Bourgonje and former NHL legend Reggie Leach, who was the keynote speaker.

One of the reasons for holding the event is that the young Aboriginal population is growing but continues to be under-represented in secondary and post-secondary school, as well as in the workforce.

The main target group was First Nations and Métis youth. However, the event was also aimed at students in post-secondary, especially those in education, health and kinesiology, as well as educators and other adults that work with young First Nations and Métis people.


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