The Vancouver Island First Nations Snowboard Team is heading into their ninth season of carving up the hills of Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
The program provides aboriginal youth between the ages of nine and 19 with the opportunity to learn and develop their snowboarding skills. Coaching, instruction, equipment and Mount Washington lift passes are provided to the participants.
“The recreation/development program is provided free of cost to the team members,” says Kim Leming, Vancouver Island manager. “In exchange, these aboriginal youth are expected to be in good standing in school and their communities, maintain a drug and alcohol free season, willingness to commit and participate as a member for the season by way of volunteering and fundraising.”
The Vancouver Island-FNST has received funding from ViaSport this season to help offset costs with two new programs. The addition of a Girls Only Program and Six-Week Intro to Snowboarding for kids 9-13 “just makes sense, the cost savings on SixPak tickets and extra fundraising makes it affordable for our team to introduce the sport of snowboarding to more aboriginal, Metis and First Nations Youth,” says Lemming.
Over the past few seasons selected youth mentors may attend coaching clinics to become snowboard instructors, officials or take the Canada Snowboard Coaching Programs Intro to Comp Training. The youth return to instruct and mentor the following season team, which in turn builds team capacity.
Past coaches and instructors have gained employment at Mount Washington instructing or coaching with mainland teams and clubs. “Because of snowboarding, I’ve found a new family in my team and learned that hard work does pay off,” says Savannah, a past athlete who is now a coach.
Youth are required to fill out The Vancouver Island First Nations Snowboard Team Application and return it by Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. Intake form, transcripts and one or two letters of support from a community mentor, coach or teacher will need to be included to complete the application package. A selection committee of coaches and volunteers will go through each application and contact youth and families by Oct. 18.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an intake form, head to the First Nations Snowboard Team – Vancouver Island FaceBook page for a download or pick up at Wachiay Friendship Centre in Courtenay.
– First Nations Snowboard Team