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Beckie Scott talks about Spirit North

Helping Indigenous children and youth tap their inner potential through innovative sport for development programs
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The times we presently inhabit demand that we constantly adapt and evolve—continually growing ourselves so that we can realize our full potential. Adaptation and evolution can be both exciting and intimidating. For Spirit North, it was adaptation that saw us through the past year and enabled us to respond to the needs of the young people we serve. For many of the Bow Valley’s Indigenous children and youth, systemic barriers can limit their personal development and make adaptation and evolution challenging. We are proud to support positive opportunities that help to remove barriers.

Since 2009, Spirit North has provided Indigenous youth, not only in the Bow Valley but throughout Canada, with opportunities to participate in sport, play and land-based activities. This past year we reached communities during a critical time when systemic barriers created additional health and wellness challenges for many. Through adaptation and innovation, we were able to deliver programs that supported social connection and health. And we continue moving toward our ambitious goal of supporting 10,000 youth to be unstoppable by 2025.

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. Courtesy of Spirit North

Many of the young people in our programs live challenging lives and tell heart-breaking stories. For children and youth living with adversity, sport can be both an outlet and transformational. Sport can be as simple as the joy of movement, it is a path to health and wellness, and provides a platform upon which to develop life-skills such as leadership, confidence, and courage.

We know that systemic barriers such as socio-economic limitation and geographic isolation combine to contribute to low participation rates in sport and physical activity for Indigenous children and youth. But we also know that these barriers can be overcome because we’ve seen it. As one school principal from Black River First Nation said, “I have seen first-hand the positive impact of Spirit North on my students. Resilience, teamwork, belief in themselves and in others, and joy!”

We see the possibility, strength and potential in each young child. If we can offer just one solution, it is to create opportunities for Indigenous children and youth to connect with positive experiences. Experiences that help reveal what might be possible, and what lies within. Through these experiences we witness the magic of empowering children to learn, heal, grow, thrive and eventually contribute to the health, strength and vibrancy of their communities.

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