Vancouver Island honours aboriginal youth excellence in sport

The Premier's Awards ceremony was held Nov. 22 in Nanaimo

The 2016 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport were presented Nov. 22 to eight outstanding aboriginal youth athletes from British Columbia’s Vancouver Island region.

The awards were presented by Gordon Hogg, Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Sport, during a formal celebration held at the Snuneymuxw Recreation and Wellness Centre in Nanaimo.

The Vancouver Island region is the fifth of the Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Partners Council’s six regions to honour aboriginal athletes through this prestigious province-wide awards program.

The Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Partners Council, in collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, launched the regional nomination process in September 2016, receiving more than 130 nominations from across the province for aboriginal athletes under 25 years of age who have achieved excellence in performance sport, are regarded for their leadership qualities, are committed to higher education, and are recognized as community role models both on and off the field of play.

A total of 47 recipients were chosen within the Partners Council’s six regions – Northeast, Northwest, Interior, Fraser, Vancouver Coastal, and Vancouver Island.

The Vancouver Island recipients were:

Anthony Henry, age 15, judo, Métis Nation BC

Danielle Dawson, age 19, soccer, Dzawada’enuxw First Nation

Brandon Schellenberger, age 18, rugby, Namgis First Nation

Jasmine Hunt, age 18, soccer, Quatsino First Nation

Benjamin Tozer, age 18, badminton, Métis Nation BC

Jessica Strandlund, age 15, softball, volleyball, Métis Nation BC

V. Crosby Stewart, age 22, rugby, Gitanmaax Band

Mayben Crabbe, age 17, wrestling, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

“Congratulations to the Vancouver Island recipients of the Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport,” said Hogg. “These young athletes have trained hard and given back to their communities, demonstrating that they truly deserve this honour. Their achievements are a tribute to the proud aboriginal heritage in our province.”

“We are inspired by the incredible achievements of these amazing young athletes,” said Wally Samuel, Co-Lead for the Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Partners Council’s Vancouver Island Region.

“Tonight we honour eight role models who are true champions both on and off the field of play. They are each making a difference on their teams, within their families and communities. Congratulations Vancouver Island recipients!”

These regional recipients automatically serve as nominees for the Provincial Awards. A total of 12 Provincial Awards (six male and six female) will be selected in January.

Provincial recipients will be presented with their award at Gathering our Voices National Aboriginal Youth Conference in Kelowna March 21-24, 2017.