Reach Up! with Lakehead Thunderwolves and Whitesand FN
THUNDER BAY – Sports – The Lakehead Thunderwolves facilitated another successful weekend of Reach Up! programming on August 18-19 in Whitesand First Nation, with the generous assistance of Whitesand Band and Council.
It was the third Reach Up! trip to a First Nation community in Northwest Ontario this summer, with four Thunderwolves taking part. Cross country runner Chris Brown, nordic skier Moira Haggarty along with Carolyn Fragale and Ayse Kalkan of the the women’s basketball program led over 40 Whitesand youth through activities and games. The athletes were given a warm welcome and invited everyone over Whitesand Radio 98.8 FM to come out and have some fun.
It was also a kind of homecoming for Yolanda Wanakamik, from Lakehead’s Office of Aboriginal Initiatives, who assisted in facilitating the weekend of fun and games in Whitesand FN. Wanakamik called Whitesand home all of her life before moving to Thunder Bay to attend Lakehead University.
“It was very meaningful to have the Lakehead University Athletics bring Reach Up! to the Whitesand First Nation,” says Wanakamik. “The opportunity for children of all ages and parents to attend the various sessions was nothing short of amazing.”
Says Reach Up! coordinator Amanda Nesbitt, “We’re grateful to the community leadership for allowing us the opportunity to play and connect with the kids, and speak to them about the doors that education opens.”
Ten-year-old Whitesand resident Serena Bouchard was elated to meet the Thunderwolves.
“I enjoyed playing baseball for the first time and becoming friends with the Thunderwolves. I was happy I hit the ball! I couldn’t believe how sweaty I got running to the bases,” says Bouchard. “I would like for the Thunderwolves to come back soon.”
Wanakamik expressed her sense of pride in an interview following the trip.
“Being a member of the Whitesand First Nation and seeing the children engaged in a variety of sports and team building exercises made me very proud! Not only am I proud to be Lakehead staff and alumni but I am proud of what Lakehead Athletics is doing with Reach Up!”