New First Nations sport & recreation certificate program launches at U of M
An Indigenous-based physical activity and recreation certificate program hit the ground running this week at the University of Manitoba.
The Sport Physical Activity and Recreation in the Community (SPARC) certificate program was created to build the capacity of First Nations schools and educational leaders to deliver quality physical education and recreation programming throughout communities in Manitoba.
The courses are related to physical activity, sport, recreation, fitness, health and wellness, delivered with Indigenous perspectives and teachings and adapted for delivery in the community.
The initiative is a partnership between the U of M’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre.
Fifteen participants (mostly educational assistants, teachers, and young adult health leaders) from communities such as Cross Lake, Split Lake, and Garden Hill have spent the week at the university and Camp Manitou immersed in a blend of non-credit professional development and university credit course learning modules.
After this initial week, two more learning modules will occur later in the spring.
“Arguably, SPARC’s most significant triumph is its removal of barriers to an academic education,” says Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management Dean, Dr. Douglas Brown. “The education and confidence gained will pay dividends with SPARC graduates and the communities they serve.”
As part of their practicum coursework, SPARC students will have an opportunity to pilot delivery of the U of M’s award winning Rec and Read/Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program for all Nations (IYMP). Given the demonstrated benefits of IYMP as diabetes prevention for children, expanded programming will help create healthier, more active and socially connected communities.
A tertiary goal is to also provide opportunities for SPARC students to transition to university. By taking U of M courses, they’ll begin their academic careers in a highly supported way. Traditional barriers to success will be addressed through intensive cultural, community and tutorial supports.
Students who complete SPARC courses will be able to transfer their credits to U of M degree programs in physical education, kinesiology, recreation and community development.