Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence Celebrates Women in Sport

On Sunday, April 3, 2011 the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) in Victoria, British Columbia is hosting the 2011 Celebration of Women in Sport (WinS) gala, honouring the best females in sport, with a focus on inspiring the next sporting generation. In its third year, this event also promotes why sport is important in the lives of girls and women in all stages of sport development. This year, WinS has added four annual awards to the program that will be presented to an outstanding athlete, coach, sport builder and volunteer as part of the event!

Victoria is well known for its strong sporting community. By hosting this event, PISE continues to promote opportunities in sport for local businesses, and volunteers in the Greater Victoria community.

Keynote speaker for the gala will be World Champion and four-time Olympic Medalist, long track speed skater Kristina Groves. A native of Ottawa, Groves, will be joined by other special guests that will include schools, sport academies, local sport organizations, National team members, Island Olympians and Paralympians and Greater Victoria Sport Hall of Fame inductees. An exceptional feature of this event is the inclusion of young up and coming female athletes who are given complimentary tickets to attend, so that their opportunity to be inspired by the great female role models also present, is not limited by financial restrictions.

Nominees for the Inaugural Women in Sport Awards can be found on the CAAWS website.

For more information on women and girls in sport contact SIRC!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Who Will Host NAIG 2014?

Three Canadian cities - Halifax, London and Regina - are currently competing to host the 2014 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG). The 2011 Games were to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, however, the plug was pulled last summer due to financial constraints. And with so little time to plan and organize the 2011 event in another host city, the NAIG Council has decided that the next North American Games will not be hosted until the summer of 2014.

Each prospective host city has its hosting history. Regina is bidding for the third time, having hosted in 1993 Games in Prince Rupert, while Halifax just hosted the very successful 2011 Canada Winter Games, and London has hosted a variety of national and international events and looks forward to hosting the upcoming 2013 World Figure Skating Championships.

The potential host city for NAIG must be able to accommodate more than 10,000 people, including an excess of 6,000 athletes, coaches and support staff. There are 16 sports slated on the 2014 NAIG calendar which have various divisions for age and gender, and sports ranging from archery and basketball to lacrosse and rifle shooting.

The purpose and mission statement of the Indigenous Games is to “improve the quality of life for Indigenous peoples by supporting self-determined sports and cultural activities which encourage equal access to participation in the social/cultural fabric of the community they reside in and which respects Indigenous distinctiveness.”

The 2014 NAIG Site Evaluation Committee will make their decision in May 2011.

For more resources on aborginal sport and physical activity contact SIRC!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Newcomers and Physical Activity

Part of being Canadian means not only engaging in a healthy life style, but participating in some sort of physical activity. And there is no better place to do this than the vast and great outdoors of this country. There are parts of Canada that literally beg you to be outside, while there are others where the scenery may be more of the concrete persuasion, but the experience and outcome can definitely be the same.

Getting Canadians to be active is a key focus these days. However, newcomers to Canada sometimes find it difficult to become involved for a variety of reasons. Perhaps their customs don’t support it, or there is a lack of social support, or they need to spend more time getting settled into their new environment because some things are just more important. It also helps if communities recognize that their city or town needs to have recreational facilities for people to play games and participate in a variety of activities, have groups to join where new friends can be made, and the communications outreach to make sure everyone is invited and welcomed. When newcomers to Canada become involved in social and physical activities, they integrate faster and deeper with the whole community and all Canadians become healthier with a general overall sense of well-being.

There are many reasons why having an active lifestyle is a benefit to a Canadian’s life. Physical activity can be organized or as simple as walking the dog, riding a bike to the store or a day digging in the garden. The good news is that it all counts. Whatever the barriers faced by newcomers, there are ways to overcome them. But first, there has to be the motivation to get out of the house. From walking, running and hiking to skating, hockey or tennis – it just doesn’t matter how you are active. A lot or a little, the important thing is to get moving.

Related Resources:
Healthy Alberta
Public Health Agency of Canada

For more information about physical activity contact SIRC!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Aboriginal Youth Unite This Week in Prince Rupert, B.C.

The 9th Annual Aboriginal Youth Conference called “Gathering Our Voices 2011” is currently taking place this week in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. This is an excellent opportunity to promote healthy living in Aboriginal communities as well as to provide education to Aboriginal youth on many important topics.

Hosted by the British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, the conference is just one of the exciting initiatives focusing on youth as young as 14 years of age. The unique conference attracts close to 1500 Aboriginal youth from across Canada to participate in networking and leadership development opportunities focusing on areas of great relevance to them --- health, language, culture, employment, education, learning for life, and the environment.

This year’s conference, which runs from 21-24 March 2011, focuses on two themes. The first one is “A Vision of Our Future” which includes over 40 workshops, a career and education fair, cultural and recreational activities, social events and motivational speakers during the four day conference.

Some of the workshops that are arranged for the youth range include:
  • Decisions, Choices and Consequences BEFORE and AFTER.”
  • “Gitxsan Aerobics – Learn, Laugh and Love the Drum”
  • “Honouring our Past to Protect our Future. Traditional tobacco use and commercial tobacco misuse.”
  • “Back to the Roots with Holistic Nutrition”
  • Indigeneous Games & Sports
The second theme of the conference is a “Health Challenge” contest. The goal is to challenge youth to increase their daily physical activity. Between22 November 2010 and 30 January 2011, teams or individuals logged their fitness participation on Activity Tracking Charts where the winners with the most active time will be awarded prizes this week.

For more information on Aboriginal sport and physical activity contact SIRC!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Returning to play? Who decides?

So you lose your star player to injury. If you are a professional team, this may affect gate receipts. If you are in the hunt for a championship, this may cost you the title. So no matter the motivation to get your player back on the field of play, star of the team or not, how is the decision made and who makes it?

Does the athlete decide when they are ready? Should the coach make the final decision? Is it the team doctor, the athletic trainer, the parents or the family doctor? Whether the injury is a head concussion, sprained ankle, stress fracture or leg contusion, return to play protocols are a critical part of a physicians guidelines and they should be given the power and responsibility to abide by them for the sake of the athlete.

Conflicts of interest with players themselves, as well as with team management, are widespread. Because of the pressures associated from bringing together all the decision-making stakeholders involved in an athlete’s career, the decisions made by a physician or athletic trainer regarding an injured athlete’s return to play can occasionally have over-riding ethical dilemmas. Using a moral compass and doing the ‘right thing’ for the athlete, embraces the basic principles of ethical decision making.

And while the decisions need not be perfect, they should reinforce the medical practitioner’s responsibilities to the athlete. Decisions should focus solely on the athlete's welfare and not on the effect those decisions will have on the outcome of a sporting event.

Additional Resources:
  • Stovitz, S. D., & Satin, D. J. (2006). Professionalism and the Ethics of the Sideline Physician. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 5(3), 120-124.
  • Dunn, W. R., George, M. S., Churchill, L., & Spindler, K. P. (2007). Ethics in Sports Medicine. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 35(5), 840-844.
  • International Federation of Sports Medicine / Fédération Internationale de Médécine du Sport – Code of Ethics
  • Swisher, L., Nyland, J., Klossner, D., & Beckstead, J. (2009). Ethical Issues in Athletic Training: A Foundational Descriptive Investigation. Athletic Therapy Today, 14(2), 3-9. Available in the SIRC Collection.
  • Borowski, Bill, Pack, Cory & Powell, David (2007). Ethical Issues in Sport Medicine. Unpublished. Retrieved from the Internet March 17, 2011.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adaptive Sports Expand Opportunities

Awareness for sports participation for persons with a disability is definitely on the rise, and there are many centres with adaptive sports programs currently being run across Canada, as well as the United States. Whether it be kayaking, hand cycling, skiing or snowboarding, these programs encourage persons with a disability to discover new abilities and confidence through sports participation and outdoor recreation.

For example, the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program in British Columbia is a not-for-profit society that provides year-around, recreational programs for people of all ages with disabilities. Their participants range from locals to internationals who want to learn and achieve sports participation and even excellence, as well as gain independence, self-motivation and self-confidence.

Just one of many in the USA is very special program called “Higher Ground” which is operated in partnership with the American Department of Defense, major military medical centers and veterans organizations. Located at the Sun Valley Adaptive Sports Centre in Ketchum, Idaho, USA, “Higher Ground” serves men and women of the armed forces who have been severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whether or not sport is your focus, how about just staying active no matter your ability. The Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability (ALACD) promotes Canadians with disabilities to lead active and healthy lives as well. Through their leadership and encouragement, like-minded active living opportunities are supported through their network of over 500,000 contacts.

So, not only are adaptive sport and outdoor recreation programs more available for persons with disabilities, participation is indeed increasing because of it, there is more funding than ever before (with much more needed), more sponsors, and more volunteers currently involved.

It doesn’t matter if a person just wants to go out and have fun in sport, become a Paralympian, or just live an active lifestyle, there is a way for them to get involved, get out there, and be healthy!

Online Resources
Active Living Alliance for Canadians With a Disability (ALACD)
Adaptive Sports Foundation (Canada)
Adaptive Sports Foundation (US)
Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)

Contact SIRC for more information on sport for persons with a disability!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Acknowledging the Need for Diversity

SIRC was pleased to attend the meeting "Diversifying Your Board" hosted by Sport4Ontario at the Sport Alliance for Ontario. Diversity is an integral part of the Canadian landscape and that is no more evident than it is in Canada’s biggest city of Toronto. Almost half (44%) of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) residents are not native born to Canada, compared to 16% of the Canadian population as a whole.

DiverseCity onBoard is an organization that currently provides over 1500 qualified and pre-screened visible minority candidates in the GTA who are ready, willing and able to serve on an organization’s board of directors. Their statistics show that visible minority leadership in the GTA is 12.5% for board members in the voluntary sector and 4% of leaders in the corporate sector. To date, their program has linked over 500 qualified visible minorities and new comers to agencies, boards and commissions in the GTA. Because of their reach out ability and achievements, several provincial sport organizations have had the opportunity to use their services, with many more to come.

DiverseCity onBoard is the brain child of the Maytree Foundation who has the support of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. They have been working over the last two years to realize the promise of a stronger and more prosperous GTA through a more diverse leadership.

But first things first. As an organization you will need to establish a baseline acknowledging the need for diversity on your board by asking a few simple questions:
  • Could a homogeneous board composition be limiting creativity, fundraising ability and vision?
  • Are the demographics of your community being served?
Diversity does matter in business and in the business of sport, no matter how big or small you are. It assists in bringing a perspective in decision-making which leads to making better decisions, helps legitimize the mandate of an organization, and builds social capital and cohesion among diverse populations.

For more information on any of these topics please contact SIRC.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

International Women's Day is for Sports Too!

The 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day was officially yesterday. It is THE day to celebrate the political, social and economic advancements of women. The new millennium has seen a significant change and attitude shift in both women's (and men’s) thoughts about women's equity and liberation.

There has also been significant progress in the world of sport. One hundred years ago it would have been hard to believe that by the last quarter of the 20th century, in sports such as tennis and figure skating that women would rival or surprisingly even exceed their male counterparts in fame, status and recognition. While the level of performance and participation definitely can vary by country, continent and sport, there is no doubt that there is a much broader acceptance of women in sport throughout the world today.

In the early years, women athletes participated in sports under enormous difficulties, usually without proper equipment or uniforms, sufficient access to facilities, or monetary support. Many terminated their involvement in sports when they assumed family responsibilities. Now, in Canada for the past 30 years, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) has lead the way in ensuring that Canadian women have all the same sport and fitness opportunities afforded to Canadian men. They provide vast and valuable insight into sport and physical activity experiences and opportunities for woman – young and old.

Whether it be in high performance sport, or every day fitness and recreation, women now know they have the right to choose, the right to compete, the right to participate, the right to lead, and the right to openly celebrate their success and their empowerment.

For more information on girls and women in sport, please contact SIRC.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sport for Development - Right To Play

10 Years of Right to Play – 10 Years of Sport for Development
by Liz McDonald, SIRC

On February 16, 2011 SIRC had the pleasure of attending a Right To Play (RTP) Canadian Awareness Program (CAP) in Ottawa. The main objective of the evening was to increase knowledge and understanding of the work Right To Play and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) are accomplishing through sport and play-based programs in West and Francophone Africa.

The evening was filled with the who, what, where, when and why of Right To Play. Simply put, Right To Play uses sport and play to improve health, build life skills and foster peace for children in communities affected by war, poverty and disease. The organization was founded in 2000 by four-time Olympic Gold medalist Johann Olav Koss. Right To Play’s work can be found in more than 20 countries around the world and aims to focus on sustainability and inclusion. They provide programs designed to meet the needs identified by the local communities. Right To Play has been doing this work for over 10 years. Click here to view the RTP Report on progress: 10 Years of Play.

CIDA is Canada’s lead agency for development assistance. One of it’s main goals are to engage in policy development in Canada and internationally, enabling Canada’s efforts to realize it’s development objectives. Last year, CIDA announced a pledge over three years to support Right To Play’s “Play To Learn” program. This program is expected to reach more than 200 000 children and youth, as well as 4500 teachers and community Coaches.

The evening was filled with stories of amazing people doing great things using sport. We had the pleasure of hearing from the RTP Regional Director of West Africa and Francophone Africa, Dr. Dennis Bright. He was an inspirational speaker with stories from the field. We experienced some of the games with the RTP Project Coordinator in Rwanda, Innocent Hitimana. Finally we were awed by RTP Athlete Ambassador, Ottawa’s own Kristina Groves. She spoke about her experiences as an athlete and a voice for RTP.

Right To Play’s goals coincide well with SIRC’s vision which is to enhance the education of all Canadian and International organizations and individuals involved in sport and fitness through quality information and learning services. SIRC is proud to be a supporter of Sport for Development abroad and within Canada. The SIRC Collection is filled with articles and studies on the positive effects sport has on communities and people.

If you’d like to learn more about the amazing things Right To Play has been doing or to find out how you can get involved please visit Right To Play online.

Contact SIRC for more information on sport for development.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2015 FIFA Women's World Cup

Canada to host the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup!
by Michele Walker, SIRC

It was officially announced today that Canada will be hosting the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and now six cities across the nation will start the preparations to host this massive soccer event. Seven cities are actually currently on the list as hosts, and one of them will need to be dropped following the site evaluation visits. They are Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Moncton. This announcement also means that Canada will now host the 2014 Women's Under-20 World Cup as a test event.

The announcement was actually expected after Zimbabwe, the only other country vying to host the quadrennial event, pulled out just a few days ago citing that they did not have the bandwidth to hold this tournament to the standards expected. But still, Canada had to wait until the evaluation was completed before FIFA , the world governing body of football (soccer), could award the event to the Canadian Soccer Association.

Held every four years, the first Women's World Cup tournament was held in 1991 (in China), 61 years after the Men's first FIFA World Cup tournament in 1930. The current format for women has 16 teams but the 2015 tournament will see the field expand to 24 competing nations – truly a testament to the global popularity of the women’s game. As host, Canadians, old and new, will benefit from the legacy the sport will leave behind, both from a venue and participation standpoint.

Canada successfully and previously hosted the inaugural Women's Under-20 World Cup in 2002, as well as the Men's Under-17 World Cup (in 1987) and the Men's Under-20 World Cup (in 2007).

Contact SIRC for more information on this topic!

Photo Credit: Beata Tyrala