Guest blog by Amanda McConnell, Ehrlo Sport Venture manager
At Ehrlo Sport Venture, we’ve long known about the power of sports to harness community connections and build lasting relationships, but we relish an opportunity to prove it.
One such opportunity is our multi-sport camp for youth new to Canada, a partnership with the Regina Open Door Society that began last year. Though our staff have the ability to run drills and teach youth the rules of many different sports, we decided to reach out to some of our community connections for help in the coaching department – and the community came through in a big way!
Most sports were coached by a community partner: Elite Basketball Academy ran basketball, the Regina Rebels cricket club came out to teach cricket, and a member of the Regina Heat Lacrosse covered lacrosse and provided half the sticks and all the balls for the sport. (Ranch Ehrlo staff member Andrew Banerjee coached football, and Outdoor Hockey League volunteer Aubree Stein facilitated baseball.)
Sport Venture provided the rest of the equipment and had their staff in support roles, and the Open Door Society ensured that the youth had transportation to and from the camp, and, if necessary, provided translation services.
The camp set up had a dual purpose: the participants learned new skills and made new friends, but they were also able to make connections that can help ease them into their new communities by being introduced to various leagues or people connected with a particular sport within the city. It was a confidence builder for many – one participant, from Syria, plans to try out for the school basketball team after learning about the sport at camp.
Of course, the youth also learned about our free-of-charge leagues and sport equipment lending library, making the experience truly barrier-breaking for those who are interested in pursuing some of the sports they were introduced to.
Using community connections to come together and help youth is what Sport Venture is all about!