(ISN) – EDMONTON—The students’ faces tell the story. Their focused attention to the message and instruction from two-time Olympic medallist Beckie Scott, and their smiling, laughing faces as they skied around the schoolyard at Beacon Heights Elementary, made for the perfect kick-off to this season of Ski Fit North Alberta on Wednesday in Edmonton.
The initiative is part of Cross Country Alberta and Cross Country Ski de Fond’s Ski Fit North Alberta program developed to expose predominantly First-Nation and Metis, along with all Alberta children, to have an opportunity to participate in sport, with the chance to increase physical and mental well-being through cross-country skiing.
“I was very fortunate to be exposed to sport, and specifically, cross-country skiing, at a young age. To now be able to share my experiences and introduce not just skiing, but the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle to a new generation of young Canadians is one of the most satisfying and rewarding programs I’ve been involved,” said Scott, who became the lead ambassador of Ski Fit North Alberta in 2010.
Over the last five years, Scott has travelled to northern Alberta communities delivering inspirational messages to children in remote corners of the province. The program is a unique and proud partnership between Cross Country Ski De Fond, Cross Country Alberta (the provincial affiliate to the national body) and now in its final year with title partner Statoil.
“The partnership with Statoil has allowed us to reach Aboriginal youth in remote areas that don’t have the same opportunities as their urban counterparts for exposure to sports and facilities like cross-country skiing,” said Scott, of Vermilion, Alta., who helps recruit and retain children to the sport of cross-country skiing in an effort to increase awareness, support youth development and strengthen Canada’s junior athlete talent pool. “Ski Fit North Alberta presents a very unique opportunity for companies to make a very positive and lasting impact on these communities. We couldn’t be happier with the support and involvement of Statoil these past five years, and now we’re looking for our next partner to ensure we can continue to reach out to Canadian youth with our message on the tremendous mental and physical health benefits of being and staying active.”
Ski Fit North Alberta will be visiting predominantly First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities in north east Alberta this winter. Statoil’s funding is used towards the travel and cross-country equipment costs of the program. Statoil’s financial support for the program is core to its operation for both staff and coaching, while also hosting the community events and providing all cross-country ski equipment.
Ski Fit North Alberta travels with a large amount of ski equipment to introduce communities to the sport. While the program does not give the equipment to the communities, it does help with available grant opportunities to acquire and use the equipment. Ski Fit North Alberta has also helped six separate communities purchase equipment for themselves.
CCC is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Mackenzie Investments and Statoil – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at www.cccski.com.