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Volleyball Canada and community partners helping bring sport to Indigenous communities
Volleyball Canada’s "Community Sport for All" grant from Sport Canada is helping facilitate volleyball programs in 19 Indigenous communities in Quebec, including in Nunavik. Communities include Akwesasne, Chisasibi, Inukjuak, Kangirsuk, Kawawachikamach, Kuujjuaq, La Romaine, Listuguj, Mingan, Mistissini, Natashquan, Odanak, Pakuashipi, Puvirnituq, Uashat Maliotenam, Salluit, Timiskaming, and Winneway.
The funding is being allocated to communities to receive equipment, coach training and support for their youth volleyball programs.
The project will help remote communities that lack infrastructure and trained coaches to be able to provide safe, fun and engaging volleyball experiences for young athletes. It will also assist in the pandemic recovery process by brining back organized sport programs to the communities.
To deliver the services, Volleyball Canada (VC) has partnered with Quebec RCMP Indigenous Liaison Officers and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) to support programming in the Indigenous communities. VC aims to train 150 coaches who will then reach approximately 1500 young athletes through this project.
“The First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) is always pleased to collaborate in innovative and rallying initiatives. This is why it is proud to be associated with the initiative launched by Volleyball Canada, which will increase the practice of physical activities and sports for the First Nations population in Quebec,” explains Jessie Messier, Health Services Manager of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission.
The FNQLHSSC is an organization whose mandate is to accompany Quebec First Nations in achieving their health, wellness, culture and self-determination goals.
Equipment transportation, which is extremely costly for these remote communities, will be provided by RCMP, another key partner in this project. They will also be transporting the Coach Trainers to the sessions.
"We are very proud to be part of this project. Part of our mandate, at the RCMP's aboriginal strategy, is to build bridges with communities. Being part of this project whose main objective is to reach children and teenagers from as many communities as possible was a natural for us,” said Simon Lachapelle, a member of the RCMP’s Aboriginal Liaison Committee.
“Involvement in sport at a young age is one of the key factors in healthy living, whether it be physical, psychological or social. From the first time we sat down with the Volleyball Canada and FNQLHSSC team, we realized that each of us had the same objective and we have been very excited about the idea of one day seeing this project come to life and today we are there."
The first coach training was delivered to 12 participants in Listuguj by VC Coach Trainer Monette Boudreau-Carroll on January 20-22. The next coach trainings are scheduled for March 6-9 in Chisasibi, March 11-14 in Puvirnituq, March 24-26 in Timiskaming, and then more workshops and volleyball programming planned from until June 2023 across the province.
“It was a great start to rebuild the grassroots of volleyball in our community. It's very important to get our volunteers the proper coaching training and opportunities to grow their coach’s toolbox,” said Tyler Gideon, Teacher, Alaqsite'w Gitpu School of Listuguj, which is located in Gespe’gewa’gi (“The Last Land”), the seventh and largest district of Mi’gma’gi.
“One of our government’s top priorities is helping Canadians pursue healthier lifestyles. We know there are still major barriers to sport today. That is why we are investing in organizations like Volleyball Canada, which will help solidify our commitment to building stronger and healthier communities across the country. Together, we will make sport more inclusive, equitable and accessible to everyone in Canada.”