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Aboriginal Recreation Directors Summit Newsletter Signup | Read Our Newsletter  

As a coach, not only for North American indigenous Games, but for your community teams you have many roles and tasks to perform. You have a responsibility to refrain from comments or behaviours that are disrespectful, offensive, abusive, racists or sexists. You also have a responsibility to instill in participants a lifelong love of sport and physical activity and enduring values of fair play and respect for others.

Feedback from participants included the following:

" I am looking forward to the next summit WOW!"
" Got very useful tools and lots of personal encouragement"
" Am taking home stories, network and friends"
" I am taking strength and courage from other compassionate people back home with me"

Summit Overview:

  • Those attending the Summit informally agreed that · Consistent and sustainable financial support for recreation is often difficult to access and difficult to administer and maintain. There appears to be significant differences in the amounts of funding available in each community for recreation.

  • Capital funding for building facilities appears easier to access than dollars for maintenance facilities and funding for recreation programs and services. This results in some communities being able to provide adequate facilities and fewer recreation programs and services than are demanded by the community.

  • Access to adequate transportation often limits the ability of communities to provide recreation programs such as leagues, competitive sport activity etc. Given that rural communities are small there is often a need to partner with other communities in order to provide sport leagues. Consequently transportation becomes a hurdle. In some cases funding drivers is a problem while at other times finding a bus or van or several cars is almost impossible.

Adequate and sustainable financial support, access to facilities that are updated and maintained and sustainable transportation plans and services are presently available to some degree in most rural aboriginal communities; however, these three issues continue to limit and create barriers for communities.

Following are additional issues that are affecting recreation programs and services in rural aboriginal communities:

  1. Limited involvement in recreation of parents, elders, Chief in Council.
  2. Lack of awareness and understanding by council members, elders and parents regarding recreation and its benefits.
  3. Need to have a more coordinated effort related to recreation from local provincial and national recreation and funding bodies.

Delegates attending the summit recognized the uniqueness, support for and interest there is in each community for recreation program and services.

Following is a list of resources that presently exist and are being used to support and build recreation programs and services:

  • Community Pride and Community Spirit
    Availability of technology such as computers and the internet. Most delegates acknowledged the advantages that come with technology. Some suggested theseadvantages could also help recreation programming.

  • Interagency groups already exist in some communities and provide support and much needed resources for recreation programs. In one case, social services provided names of kids that could benefit from being involved in hockey and covered the cost for them to do so.

  • The commitment, passion and knowledge of recreation staff in rural communities is significant. Often recreation staff are working in the community they grew up in. They know it well and know the people well. This is a significant advantage when it comes to recreation programming.

  • Recreation staff are often aware of sport scholarships and other resources available related to hockey. They are interested in learning more about scholarships for those interested in other activities i.e. arts, music, etc.

  • Recreation staff and the community recognize the natural
    environment that exists so close at hand and many have developed trails, berry picking grounds etc. With adequate resources and awareness, additional outdoor recreation programs could be developed such as tenting weekends, canoeing, swimming, hiking, etc

Elders can be seen as a unique resource that can provide wisdom, knowledge and leadership related to recreation. Involving elders in helping people to understand the benefits and necessity of providing recreation program and services could provide a significant way. of creating awareness regarding recreation.

What will help to build a strong and sustainable recreation presence in rural aboriginal communities in the future?

  • Advocacy about the essential nature of recreation and its benefits. A focus on the ability of recreation to enhance the life and spirit of the community as well as the individual

  • Increasing the scope of recreation to include community. Increased awareness regarding the scope of recreation. Presently the primary focus is on sport and physical activity. Broadening this view to include arts such as dance, painting etc, culture such as feasts and powwows and special events, outdoor education such as tenting, canoeing, horse back riding and history such as museums and libraries will help people recognize how recreation helps to build community in addition to strengthening well being in individuals.

  • Developing a maintenance culture. A conscious focus on maintaining and upgrading existing and new facilities. Building in budgets and resources for maintenance.
    Volunteers. Find them, nurture them, train them, celebrate them. Without volunteers there will be little recreation. They are an essential part of any successful recreation initiative.

  • Awareness, Education and Training. There is a need to create opportunities for professional development for staff, training for volunteers, and raising awareness for community members regarding recreation and its importance in maintaining and sustaining strong active and creative communities.

  • Funding. We need to better understand how recreation is funded and who is doing the funding. Can there be more consistency of funding across the province? What is the role of the local government, the provincial, or the federal government when it comes to funding? We need to understand and secure funding that will ensure maintenance and sustainability for recreation facilities and programs/ services.

  • Transportation. It will take more than one community working alone to solve this problem. How do we ensure access to communities given their location and isolation. What can we do together to create physical connections?

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