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2014-08-14 at 15:46

Staying active

By Leith Dunick,
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Sage Laliberte says she supports any program that gets Aboriginal youth – or any youth, for that matter – active.

She’s spent the summer doing just that.

Laliberte is a team leader at Lakehead University’s Active U program, which this year has partnered with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario to open doors to even more youngsters.

“They seem to be having a lot of fun,” Laliberte said.

“There are different activities every day and the kids seem to like it.”

She can’t stress the importance of the program.

Without it, the children would be missing out, she added.

“They’re making new friends too, not only having fun in sports. They’re meeting new people and other Aboriginal youth that are interested in the same kind of stuff as them, like getting active.”

Joline Baxter, who also helps run the program, said Active U opens a lot of doors for participants, regardless of their background.

“It lets them see what’s out there and what kind of people are out there,” Baxter said. “There are a lot of nice, friendly people for them to get to know and to get them a little look at how it is further in life with this kind of stuff.

“I think it’s really good for them to get to know other people in their age group and to be doing this kind of active stuff. They really enjoy it and I can see the smiles on their faces every day.”

About 110 campers, between the ages of eight and 13, are taking part this summer, led by several Lakehead athletes. That’s about 30 more than last year.

Program co-ordinator Amanda Nesbitt, a former Thunderwolves basketball player, said the third-year program continues to grow.

The partnership with ASWCO was a natural one, she added.

“It’s having kids come into camp who might not otherwise come to camp to participate in programming at the university to make them feel more comfortable on campus as well as with the other kids,” Nesbitt said.

It’s important to us because we have a responsibility to make sure kids in our community are staying active, not only for their own health and well being, but also to interact and learn skills they learn from camp – teamwork and working together with other people and coming toward a common goal.”

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