The BC Lions are launching a new program, aiming to teach Indigenous youth football — and life — skills.
The CFL team is partnering with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreational Council (ISPARC) on the program, which is sending players to fields across the Lower Mainland to coach the kids.
“The training and skill development provided through the BC Lions Indigenous Youth Program will have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of Indigenous athletes, both on and off the field,” says Rick Bran, the CEO of ISPARC.
The different camp locations mean youth across the region will have opportunities to participate in the program, which will see four teams (one each in Abbotsford and Surrey, two in Vancouver) created and compete in a flag football tournament at the end.
Each team will be coached by a different trio of players, including quarterback Nathan Rourke, receiver Jacob Scarfone and linebacker Bo Lokombo. Over five weeks the teams will practice; the program will end with a barbecue and tournament weekend. Participants will also be invited to a VIP experience at a 2022 BC Lions game.
The goal is to teach football skills alongside life skills like teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership, says the team in a press release.
Limited spots are still available to any self-identifying Indigenous youth between 13 and 16 years old. More information can be found on the ISPARC website.