The second annual Intro to Canadian Summer Sports event, hosted by the Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE), was held Tuesday.
A collaboration between the City of Red Deer and CARE, the event allows newcomers to try their hand at such favourite sports as disc golf, ball hockey, flag football and slo-pitch among others.
It’s also a great way to introduce folks who utilize C.A.R.E. services to some summer programming, said Rachel Pinno, immigrant youth program coordinator at C.A.R.E.
“Some of the youth may have had an opportunity to try these at school, but others maybe have never tried playing slo-pitch or ball hockey. So it’s really fun to show them some sports we play in Canada in the summertime.”
Pinno said the program had also opened up to adults this year as well. “This year we also opened it up to any of the adult English learners at C.A.R.E.”
She also pointed out that one of the goals is to encourage folks new to the City to explore the parks and various facilities that encourage recreation and physical activity and greater community interaction.
“It’s a fun way to get people interacting, and language isn’t much of a barrier it comes to sports. Every culture has its own sports, and we just wanted to highlight a few that the participants maybe haven’t had much opportunity to play before.”
Looking forward, C.A.R.E. will be running the Immigrant Youth Summer Program for four days a week through the month of July. “We’ll be doing everything from a bike rodeo with the RCMP to going to see Sunnybrook Farms, Heritage Ranch. We try to highlight the community of Red Deer and the various things that are available to the youth and their families.”
It’s also a great way for the youth to practice their English speaking skills as well, she said.
In August, the focus turns to helping youth prepare for entrance into high school via some orientation programs. “August is a month of preparation and executing that program.”
And speaking of youth, a book featuring stories from City youth originally from other countries that was released this past winter continues to garner rave reviews.
Pinno and other C.A.R.E. staff helped the students with editing their pieces that were ultimately published in Steps Along Our Journey. And each are packed with the richness of learning of faraway cultures and the personal experiences of settling into a new life here in Red Deer.
Each story is also flanked by terrific, professionally-shot portraits of the youth as well. Feedback has been wonderful. Local schools feature the book in their libraries and it’s also available at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery. There’s also a display at the MAG called Steps Along our Journey.
“It’s been unreal – the support of the community.”
For more information about Steps Along Our Journey, and the various programs C.A.R.E. offers, check out http://immigrant-centre.ca.