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Steve Nash Youth Basketball Program helps B.C. youth build skills
Local sport venues draw international events
Aboriginal youth boxing program helps kids get active
BC teachers help students get active in the classroom
SportFit helps kids discover new sports
Partnerships help Nelson’s literacy services grow
Surrey youth learns anyone can be a hero
Spirit of BC helps torch launch in Victoria
Immigrant families support children’s learning with PALS
Prince Rupert becoming more accessible for people with disabilities
Game Plan BC supports rising athletes
Long-time volunteer finds new opportunities with VolWeb.ca
Students learn about arts and sport through Explorations
Students with disabilities learn journalism skills
Chill and Zero Ceiling offer at-risk youth snowboarding instruction and life lessons

Steve Nash Youth Basketball Program helps B.C. youth build skills

When the Vancouver Grizzlies left for Memphis in 2001, many in the basketball community throughout B.C. wanted to keep its grassroots youth basketball program intact. That included Steve Nash, who stepped in shortly after the Grizzlies departed to support the youth program in B.C.

Today it is named the Steve Nash Youth Basketball Program and is funded in part by 2010 Legacies Now's B.C. Sport Participation Program (BCSP Program). The Steve Nash Youth Program's goal is to expand basketball among youth aged 6 to 13. And it has succeeded—the program now runs in 52 communities around the province, including Langley.

"We set up a structured and safe environment where everyone gets equal play time," said Malcolm McKay, president of the North Langley Basketball Association. "I've seen kids gain confidence as they begin to master skills and improve their fitness level. And when they come back the next year, we know we've made a positive impact."

Boys and girls learn basketball fundamentals by playing and practising one-to-three hours per week. The emphasis is always on creating an atmosphere that encourages both skills and self-esteem to flourish.

Getting youth active is important: according to Statistics Canada, 26 per cent of Canadian children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Even small increases in physical activity can have dramatic effects on children's health, and some research has shown a link between regular physical activity and improved grades.
The Steve Nash Youth Program is one of more than two dozen programs funded by 2010 Legacies Now, the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada through the BCSP Program.  The BCSP Program funds organizations that improve access to sport and since it began in 2004, it has impacted 200,000 people in 110 B.C. communities.

For Basketball B.C., funding supports its core group of coaches who are responsible for training volunteers to deliver the program in recreation centres after school and on weekends. To date, 2,900 motivated volunteer coaches around the province, including 105 in Langley, have been trained to keep the program going strong among B.C. youth.

Local sport venues draw international events

Showcasing our province's first-rate ski resorts and allowing high-level athletes to compete at home are two good reasons to draw international events to local mountains such as Big White Ski Resort.

Last February, Big White hosted the Canadian Open Snowboard Tour, using funding from the Hosting BC™ grant program, supported by 2010 Legacies Now and the Province of B.C.  

"Having events in the province saves travel costs and time, allowing the racers to focus on preparing for competition," said Andrew George, athlete program director for the B.C. Snowboard Association.  "Riders are asked to travel all over North America and Europe, so when they have the opportunity to train and compete at home it really helps."

2010 Legacies Now partners with the Province of B.C. to fund events like this one through its Hosting BC grant program.  In addition to helping B.C. athletes compete in events closer to home, the funding also helps promote the province as a premier sport event destination.    

The races drew an audience of more than 500, generated several hundred hotel nights and Kelowna-area businesses saw an increase in revenues. This event was used to train and educate event officials and volunteers creating a strong database to support future B.C. and Canadian snowboard events.  Local and provincial snowboard clubs also benefited as all equipment purchased, such as gates and timing wire, will be available for their use.

The Canadian Open Snowboard Tour attracted 58 male and 22 female racers from around the world and showcased the first class Snowboard Cross facilities Big White has to offer.  Among the athletes were 17 B.C. racers, competing for points for the NorAm Tour, as well as very valuable FIS (Federation Internationale de Ski) points which determine world standings.

Hosting BC community grants are funded through the Province of B.C. and 2010 Legacies Now to support B.C. organizations bidding for or hosting events at the junior, senior and university levels. From 2004-2009, Hosting BC distributed a total of $2.7 million to support 197 events, including Canadian championships, World Cups and qualifying tournaments for the Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Canadian Open Snowboard Tour will be back again at Big White in January 2010 with two more Snowboard Cross events.

Aboriginal youth boxing program helps kids get active

It's been estimated that three out of five Canadian youth aren't active enough to grow into healthy adults and Aboriginal youth are even more at risk. The Snuneymuxw First Nation is fighting this trend – quite literally - with their popular youth boxing aerobics program.

The Snuneymuxw First Nation is able to offer boxing aerobics one night a week as part of their youth centre activities.  The program, supervised by a professional trainer, offers a safe and fun environment that promotes youth physical activity.  It was made possible by a $1,000 grant from the Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund distributed by 2010 Legacies Now.

"The boxing aerobics program teaches youth the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle," said Adam Manson, Snuneymuxw First Nation Youth Coordinator. "It provides the participants with a chance to socialize with friends in a safe and fun way while they learn about exercise and how to strengthen their bodies."

The boxing aerobics program teaches youth basic self-defense skills, hand-eye-foot coordination, self-confidence and the importance of having a good time. Transportation is provided for the youth so parents or guardians don't have to worry about picking-up or dropping-off the participants.  

The Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund, administered by 2010 Legacies Now, was established in 2002 by the Province of B.C., Squamish Nation, Lil'wat Nation and the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation. Its goal is to support new and existing programs that encourage participation in sport and recreation through traditional activities, healthy living and cultural celebrations.

The Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund also offers high-performance athlete grants and post-secondary scholarships for Aboriginal youth in B.C. To date, the program has distributed more than $1 million to support sport and recreation opportunities for B.C. youth.

The Snuneymuxw First Nation's Boxing Aerobics program is held every Tuesday at the Fitness Edge Health Club.

BC teachers help students get active in the classroom

Action Schools! BC™ (AS! BC) trainer Debbie Keel encourages teachers to break up their classroom routine with 15 minutes of chair aerobics or by singing the action-oriented Tony Chestnut song. By getting students moving, both students and teachers can stay better focused.

Action Schools! BC is a 2010 Legacies Now initiative supported by the Province of BC.  It enables teachers and administrators to deliver physical activity and healthy eating opportunities to students. Through the program, teachers receive resources and training to help them become comfortable leading their students in a workout.

"The kids love it when their teachers break up the day with physical activity. I enjoy seeing the transformation in teachers who were once reluctant to join Action Schools and who now say they can't believe they waited this long," said Keel, who works in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district and provides training around the province.

Since starting five years ago, AS! BC has grown to 1,500 registered elementary and middle schools, involving 15,450 teachers and administrators, in every school district in BC.  Initial research tracking program's impact indicated students in Action Schools! BC classrooms were physically active for 50 minutes more per week, and had better aerobic capacity and bone density than students in classrooms that weren't participating.

In addition, AS!BC is responding to Statistics Canada's findings that 59 per cent of Canadian children consume less than the recommended five daily servings of fruit or vegetables. In September 2007, a healthy eating component for teachers to deliver in the classroom was launched. Every teacher and classroom is different and what works for one, may not work for another, said Keel. Some teachers use activity DVDs or CDs; others prefer to lead students without aids or equipment. AS! BC provides a range of models from which teachers can choose.

SportFit helps kids discover new sports

Finding new ways to get students active can be a challenge, but Rob Grantham, teacher and vice-principal at Valley View Elementary in Courtenay, has discovered an interactive and interesting way to do this. His school introduced SportFit™ to students in grades 1-6 and now plans to run the program twice a year.

"SportFit is an easy way to get our students out of their desks, active and focused on physical activity," said Grantham.

SportFit is a physical activity and sport motivation program, which inspires children and youth to be active while discovering new sports. This free program is easy-to-use and can be incorporated into classrooms, recreation centres and community events.

During the SportFit Challenge, participants perform eight simple physical activities, answer an online personal preference questionnaire, and then receive a certificate detailing three summer and three winter sports which match their abilities and interests. SportFit also connects children and youth with the Olympic and Paralympic Games through online information and streaming videos of 78 summer and winter sports.

"Now that they've done it once, they can't wait to do it again to see what sports they'll be matched with," said Grantham. "SportFit has the added benefit of helping me motivate the students to be physically active."

Partnerships help Nelson’s literacy services grow

If you stop by the Central Education Centre on a Wednesday afternoon, you'll see a group of students surfing the web and improving their computer skills. The interesting part? Every one of them is 60 or older. Cyber Seniors, a free computer literacy course, is one of many local programs offered by the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) and its partners.

"Our programs range from Parent-Child Mother Goose to English-as-a-second-language tutoring, and they're in high demand," says Joan Exley, a literacy outreach coordinator with CBAL.

Exley says literacy has been a priority in Nelson for a long time, but joining 2010 Legacies Now's Literacy Now Communities program was a definite turning point. This innovative program, developed by 2010 Legacies Now with support from the Province of B.C., guides local literacy groups through a process to create a literacy plan that meets their community's specific needs.

Exley says the program has helped the community come together to create and implement a literacy plan that is improving services for specific groups, such as youth and adult learners. Working with the school district, the advisory committee has now combined the district literacy plan with the community literacy plan, making it easier to identify gaps and provide services where they are needed most.

This collaborative approach has led to a number of partnerships, and one of the most fruitful connections is with the Nelson Municipal Library. The library has recently donated space in its building for a literacy centre.

"This gives us a physical presence in the community, and a central place for people to go for literacy tutoring and other programs," says Exley. "It's going to make a huge difference."

Nelson's literacy advisory committee, which includes parents and youth as well as representatives from the library, school district, college, CBAL, Service Canada and public health services, is one of 99 around the province taking part in the Literacy Now Communities program. These groups represent more than 400 communities and neighbourhoods and work with more than 1,000 community partners across B.C.

Exley says the Literacy Now Communities program helped Nelson get the ball rolling, and everyone is committed to keeping it moving in the right direction.

Surrey youth learns anyone can be a hero

Connor Sobolik's hero isn't a rock star or a professional athlete. His hero is Nick, a mentor of his at the Surrey Dairy 4-H Calf Club, who always has a few kind words to say or advice to give.

Through 2010 Legacies Now's Heroes Live Here™ program, Connor discovered that a hero doesn't have to be famous or well-known.  A hero can be a "regular" person making a difference in their community.  An everyday hero.  Someone just like him.

"When I first thought of heroes I thought about people like Martin Luther King and Oprah, which was overwhelming because I can't imagine doing all the things that they've accomplished," says Connor, 16. "The Heroes Live Here workshop helped me recognize that we can all make a difference regardless of age, position or media influence, and celebrating my everyday hero taught me that I can make a difference with simple heroic actions like helping out a friend."

Heroes Lives Here, created by 2010 Legacies Now with support from the Province of B.C., encourages children and youth to discover what makes a hero heroic, to celebrate the everyday heroes in their own lives, and to act heroically themselves through projects that reach out to their community. This past July, Connor and 57 of his fellow B.C. 4-H members from around the province were introduced to Heroes Live Here when they gathered in Kamloops for a Youth Action conference.

Heroes Live Here is a model that can be used to enrich the school curriculum and youth leadership programs. It can help leaders and participants reach important objectives, such as building self-esteem, taking responsibility for one's actions, and nurturing both independence and compassion for others.

"After the Heroes Live Here workshop, I helped to form a group with some friends at school that raises money to train teachers and help rebuild schools in Northern Uganda," explains Connor. "The Heroes Live Here workshop was really inspiring because it made me realize that if I don't like something, I have the ability to take action and make a positive difference instead of just waiting for the world to change on its own."

Spirit of BC helps torch launch in Victoria

Residents of Greater Victoria will make history on October 30th when they help launch the longest and biggest Olympic Torch relay Canada has ever seen.

"Forty-five thousand kilometres, over 1000 cities, and 100 days make up the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, but there is only one starting point – Victoria, British Columbia," said Alan Lowe, chair of the Greater Victoria Spirit of BC Committee.  "This is an opportunity the entire region can embrace and we are committed to putting the energy of the Spirit of BC Committee and the city behind this once-in-a-lifetime event."

The Greater Victoria Spirit of BC Committee was responsible for developing the bid proposal to have Victoria chosen as the starting point for the national relay and has been helping to manage the event. The Spirit of BC Committee formed a volunteer Olympic Torch Relay Task Force of community leaders to ensure success and community involvement for the torch related events. The committee is responsible for coordinating all the local content for the evening celebration, as well as liaising with VANOC's Torch Relay team.

"The celebration, featuring some of Victoria's most talented performers, will begin at 5:30 on Friday evening at the Inner Harbour on the Legislative Lawns," said Lowe.  "Our committee is really proud of the wide array of entertainment that's been put together and we invite everyone to come down dressed in red and white and help us celebrate Canada."

On Day One, the torch will wind its way through Victoria, Esquimalt, View Royal, Sidney, North Saanich, Central Saanich, Saanich and Oak Bay. On Day Two, the relay will begin in Sooke, and travel through Metchosin, Colwood and Langford before making its way up-Island.

Spirit of BC is a 2010 Legacies Now program, run in partnership with the Province of B.C. The heart of the program is a network of more than 95 Spirit of BC committees, representing more than 200 communities across the province. Spirit of BC promotes community innovation, pride and excellence, and involves British Columbians in the opportunities arising from the 2010 Winter Games.

Immigrant families support children’s learning with PALS

Starting kindergarten can be intimidating, not just for young children but for their parents as well. Now imagine you have recently immigrated to Canada, with few belongings and limited English skills. For Karen refugee families, who have settled in Langley after spending years in camps along the Thai-Burmese border, the transition from home to school is becoming easier thanks to a free early literacy program called PALS (Parents as Literacy Supporters) in Immigrant Communities.

"Parents encourage their children to learn through play," says Zipporah Min, a co-facilitator for PALS sessions at Langley's Douglas Park elementary school. "The kids become less shy through participation in hands-on, group activities, and this makes it easier for them to adjust when they enter kindergarten."

PALS in Immigrant Communities, a program operated by 2010 Legacies Now program with support from the Government of Canada and the Province of B.C., is a pilot program available in six Lower Mainland communities. At Douglas Park, the sessions are led by two facilitators, an English speaker and a Karen speaker.

Min says the parents who attend the PALS sessions benefit just as much as the children. "One young mom, who was 17, became more comfortable with the school environment as she played and learned with her baby," says Min. "This inspired her to go back to school to further her own education."

Min says all the children who attend the sessions at Douglas Park were born in refugee camps, where living conditions were difficult and toys and learning materials were nonexistent. With PALS, the families are able to share ideas and take home books and activities, so they can continue to encourage learning at home.

Hser Gay Thaw, a mother who participates in the program, says she and her child enjoy using all the materials that are supplied. "I like to attend PALS because it helps me to help my child be ready for school."

PALS in Immigrant Communities is based on Parents As Literacy Supporters, a culturally-responsive early literacy program developed by Dr. Jim Anderson and Fiona Morrison and supported by 2010 Legacies Now. The program is currently active in 26 school districts and more than 220 sites throughout B.C.

Prince Rupert becoming more accessible for people with disabilities

Hockey fans, arts patrons and library lovers of all abilities in Prince Rupert are finding it easier to pursue their interests thanks to the community's work with 2010 Legacies Now. Measuring Up, a 2010 Legacies Now program supported by the Province of B.C., has given community members the tools to measure accessibility in Prince Rupert and make a plan to improve it.

"When 2010 Legacies Now provided us an opportunity to 'Measure Up Prince Rupert,' it gave the City a chance to turn to the experts in our community for advice and consultation for ways to make our community more accessible and inclusive to persons of all abilities," explained Michael Curnes, director of recreation and community services for the City of Prince Rupert.
Using a $20,000-grant from 2010 Legacies Now, the community's Measuring Up Work Group has achieved results that can be seen throughout Prince Rupert. In September 2008, the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre Ice Arena received a new viewing platform and ramp, so all hockey fans can cheer on the Prince Rupert Rampage and local minor hockey teams. The work group also funded automatic doors for the Civic Centre, Prince Rupert Public Library and Lester Centre for the Arts.

In addition, the work group allocated funds to purchase audible chirp signals, to help people with visual impairments, for the intersection of Third Avenue and Fulton Street; complete at least one curb cut to increase accessibility for people using wheelchairs and walkers; and create a wheelchair-accessible parking space in the City Hall parking lot.

Across British Columbia, more than 100 communities are capturing the inspiration of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and turning it into local, community-based legacies with the help of 2010 Legacies Now's Measuring Up program. Measuring Up guides communities in assessing and improving local accessibility for people with disabilities, and Prince Rupert is taking advantage of the opportunity to become more inclusive for residents and visitors alike.

Game Plan BC supports rising athletes

As a toddler at the Kimberley Ski Club, Rebecca Bermel strapped on her first skis at age two and started competitive racing at eight. Now 15, Rebecca was selected to join a high-performance summer and fall training program and spends one-third of her school year racing and training.

Promising winter athletes such as Rebecca are supported through a program called Game Plan BC, funded by 2010 Legacies Now and the Province of British Columbia.  Rebecca, a 2018 Olympic Games hopeful, is in Alpine BC's Best-to-Best (B2B) development program for 14-to-16 year olds, a program that is supported through Game Plan BC funding.

B2B has given Rebecca the chance to attend high-calibre training camps with top provinicial athletes. This year, she went to three dry-land camps and four snow camps to improve her technique.

"All the best best girls and guys in B.C. train at camp," said Rebecca. "You watch them and push yourself because you want to be as good as them. You try to get a visual image of what they're doing that works."

When B.C. won the bid to host the 2010 Winter Games, the Province of British Columbia and 2010 Legacies Now launched Game Plan to prepare winter athletes in 17 Olympic and Paralympic sports. The goal: use this investment in winter sport to see more B.C. athletes on national teams, and on the medal podium in 2010 and beyond.

Canadian Sport Centre Pacific manages the Game Plan BC program and works closely with the B.C. provincial sport organizations and other partners to ensure the investment supports top-level provincial athletes, as well as up-and-coming athletes such as Rebecca. Since 2003, Game Plan has invested $7.8 million to support coaching, training and competition for more than 400 athletes each year.

Rebecca will begin to race at an international level through the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) in Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G. She hopes that in the next 10 years she will make it onto Canada's Alpine Ski Team and expects her experience through Game Plan will help her reach her goal.

Long-time volunteer finds new opportunities with VolWeb.ca

Grandparents will often jump at any opportunity to spend quality time with their grandchildren. For Donna Allen, this opportunity happened to present itself in the form of a volunteer role at her granddaughter's weekend soccer camp.

Fast-forward eight years and she has parlayed this first volunteer experience into a regular shift as an usher with the Vancouver Whitecaps, as well as positions with Lord Beaconsfield Elementary School and several large-scale community events.

The breadth of her work is extensive and would be overwhelming for many, but when talking to Donna it's apparent she has an unbridled enthusiasm for life. She is often the first person to lend a hand when needed and her infectious smile has made her a recognizable face to many people in the community.

"Volunteering took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to experience things that I had never imagined before," says Donna. "I am very proud to have met so many great people in the community and to have established so many great friendships."

Many of these experiences are the result of a volunteer-matching service provided by VolWeb.ca™. Created by 2010 Legacies Now, the website is designed to find event-based positions that fit the volunteer's interests, skills and lifestyle, while providing a positive life experience.

"I am an enthusiastic supporter of this website and I am constantly recommending it to my friends and family," adds Donna. "It is truly unique in the sense that it offers something for everyone and connects you with opportunities that you are excited about being involved with."

Over the past eight years Donna's experiences include the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame Gala, the BC Hospitality Foundation Founders Dinner and the BC Food Services Expo. In 2009, she looks forward to devoting her time to the World Police and Fire Games, one of more than 150 events posted on VolWeb.ca.

Students learn about arts and sport through Explorations

While most students look forward to leaving school in the summer, children in Tatla Lake could look forward to going back and participating in an Explorations summer camp. Home to just over 20 students, Tatla Lake Community School offered these arts-focused camps for three years in a row.

"We are an isolated rural community and are limited in the opportunities we can provide for our students," said Tatla Lake Community School Association coordinator Rose Falk. "Camps of this calibre would not be possible for our small community if it were not for the support from Explorations."

Funded by the Ministry of Education, Explorations camps focused on the arts, sport and recreation, or a combination of the two. They were made available to students in kindergarten through Grade 7 who normally would not have access to arts or sports programs. For three years, Tatla Lake’s Explorations camps introduced students to new activities, including cultural dancing and nature-focused art projects.

Between 2004 and 2008, Explorations enabled more than 16,000 students across B.C. to learn new skills and experience a variety of activities in a summer-camp setting. At one summer camp in Tatla Lake, students developed a greater understanding of the arts and applied this knowledge to make clay piggy banks, outdoor swings, woven potholders, and painted portraits.

"The students were so proud of what they created during all the art workshops that they couldn’t wait to show their parents," said Falk.

Students with disabilities learn journalism skills

Grace Brulotte is a 12-year-old reporter with several stories already under her belt and when the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games roll around, she hopes to be reporting on the action.

"I really like to interview people and hear their stories," explained Grace who resides in Fernie, B.C. "I really think the stories are inspiring and I like to share them with others."

Grace has a congenital disorder that limits mobility of her joints and requires her to use a wheelchair. She participates in the Virtual Voices Village program, which provides students with disabilities with equipment and resources to publish stories, artwork and multi-media projects online at vvvillage.org.

A partnership of 2010 Legacies Now, the Province of British Columbia, SET-BC and 3M, Virtual Voices Village enables dozens of students with disabilities to build new skills and experience new activities. It was through this program that Grace attended the 2008 B.C. Winter Games to report on the action. Armed with a camera and recorder mounted to her wheelchair, and a keyboard to record her experiences, Grace reported on the wheelchair basketball match and posted her video story online.

"The best thing about Virtual Voices was that it broadened Grace's view of the world, her experiences and her friendship base," explained Grace's mother, Janice. "It forced her to get outside her comfort zone and meet new people."

Grace said Virtual Voices Village is helping her fulfill her dream: "I enjoyed reporting on the B.C. Winter Games in Cranbrook, and I want to keep on being a journalist. And reporting on the Olympics would be very cool because I like seeing people in action."

Already a budding piano player, artist and singer, Grace now looks forward to mastering her skills as a reporter, so she can continue sharing stories from her point of view leading up to 2010 and beyond.

Chill and Zero Ceiling offer at-risk youth snowboarding instruction and life lessons

After bouncing from home to home in foster care for 10 years, Christine Devries was one step away from living on the streets of Vancouver. That is, until Chill stepped in. Chill is a six-week program for at-risk youth which teaches snowboarding along with patience, courage, respect and other valuable life lessons.

"I knew how to snowboard before I went to Chill, but Chill made me better," said Devries.

It was while participating in Chill that Christine heard about Zero Ceiling, another snowboarding program funded in part by 2010 Legacies Now. Like Chill, Zero Ceiling offers snowboarding day trips, but also trains at-risk youth to be snowboard instructors. Operating in Whistler, Zero Ceiling trains the youth to teach snowboarding to others, offers them full-time employment, and provides housing at a reduced rate. Christine jumped at the chance to join the program and get her life on track. In one short year, she went from the streets of Vancouver to living and working in Whistler.

"I love it in here in Whistler. I live a pretty sweet life now," said Devries. "I now work as a house advisor as well. I let tenants in when they lock themselves out and help with conflicts – I'm sort of a peer counsellor."

Having completed her first year as a snowboard instructor, Christine is looking forward to returning for a second season. She is also making plans for the future.

"Next year, I'm going to school in Vancouver to be a child and youth care counsellor. Teaching has given me the confidence to do this," said Devries. "And then I want to come back here to Whistler and be a youth worker and snowboard instructor.