Deh Gah School in Fort Providence. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Through the Academy for Student Athlete Development (ASAD) program, students at Deh Gáh Elementary and Secondary School in Fort Providence will see an increase in physical and mental activities in school.
The program comes from Ontario’s Abilities Centre, which announced the new partnership in the NWT this week.
The Abilities Centre focuses on creating opportunities for people of all abilities in pursuing goals surrounding life skills, arts, and sports and recreation. The ASAD program plans to work with local coaches, the school board, and territorial sports organizations to remove barriers for students in smaller communities, starting in Fort Providence.
Thorsten Gohl, a physical literacy coordinator and ASAD table tennis coach in Fort Providence, says the program will give students the opportunities to experience sports and recreation on a larger scale.
“Twice a week they’re doing a sport, either hockey or judo, twice a week they’ll do strength and conditioning, twice a month they do northern Indigenous games, and once a month they do mental performance and nutrition,” said Gohl.
“The barriers we have in small communities are we don’t have as much capacity, we don’t have major teams, and we don’t have handfuls of coaches to pick from, so with this we can build the capacity piece while students are actually active.”
Deh Gáh school’s students will have the opportunity to learn from coaches such as Gohl, while also being given resources by virtual coaches across the country.
Gohl says he hopes to see the program take off in Fort Providence, and eventually expand into other communities in the NWT. The main goal will be to build connections between national level sports and small communities.
“This is an opportunity to listen to the communities and see what they want to learn,” he told Cabin Radio.
“The reality is that there are still struggles, the kids still struggle and there are still questions to ask like ‘did you eat breakfast this morning? Did you sleep all night?’ Those kinds of things.
“But there’s kids that surprise me and they’re showing up and we’re making it work.”