A program to help kids in Grades 10 to 12 become sports leaders is being offered by PacificSport Okanagan.

A program to help kids in Grades 10 to 12 become sports leaders is being offered by PacificSport Okanagan.

Leaders in sport sought

PacificSport Okanagan is recruiting students in Grades 10 to 12, who have an interest in sports and recreation

PacificSport Okanagan is recruiting students in Grades 10 to 12, who have an interest in sports and recreation, for the second year of the Youth Sport Leaders program.

The leadership program offers first aid training and coaching certifications for the high school students, and volunteer experience in sport setting. This program is run in partnership with Greater Vernon Recreation Services.

Shannon Mazereeuw, sport program leader with PacificSport Okanagan, is looking forward to another summer helping teenagers learn how to lead groups of younger campers and develop valuable work skills.

“We first ran the program in 2013, and had a great group of teens involved,” said Mazereeuw. “Their confidence working with kids increased a lot over a few short months. Now that they have the skills to lead a program, have first aid training and understand the foundations of being a good leader, we’re able to hire them as staff in our programs.”

Youth Sport Leaders lead summer camps for kids six to 12 and are mentored by experienced recreation leaders. PacificSport also provides certification workshops for Youth Sport Leaders including NCCP: fundamental movement skills, standard first aid/CPR, lesson plans and contacts to further pursue careers in sports, recreation and coaching.

Taisa Andrushko, who participated in 2013, said of the program: “At first it was surprisingly intimidating being stared at by seven-year-olds, but as I realized there wasn’t much that could truly go wrong, I became more comfortable. I feel that the PacificSport staff gave us all a fair opportunity and encouraged us to lead games and teach skills.”

Added Mazereeuw: “It is a fun opportunity to come to camp, inspire kids to be active and play, plus gain a practical experience and certifications to benefit future employment opportunities.”

By developing future leaders, Mazereeuw hopes that it will increase the activity levels of youth growing up in Vernon.

With 70 per cent of kids dropping out of sports by the time they are 13 years, according to Healthy Kids Report Card 2012, Youth Sport Leaders will have the opportunity to deliver new and non-traditional sports and activities to kids in an effort to instill healthy activity for life.

Students in Grades 10 to 12 who are interested in participating in the volunteer program can visit www.pacificsportokanagan.com, e-mail smazereeuw@pacificsport.com or call 250-550-3678.