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I feel very lucky to have been able to share my experience, and I encourage more students to volunteer and find ways to share their unique gifts.

I have finally made the transition from Athlete to Coach. I have always been interested in seeing things from the other side, though I won’t lie; I have been very hesitant on becoming a coach and trainer. I remember when I was young and having a hard time seeing eye-to-eye with one of my coaches, someone told me that, “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” This stuck with me over the years.

It was three years ago when I was looking for a volunteer position here in Vancouver and discovered the Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA) and met Chuck Lafferty, who works for UNYA’s School Support Program. The program hosts a one-week basketball camp every Spring Break for at-risk youth in the community where I first applied.

My first experience with coaching was in High School. My coach in Summerland offered me the opportunity to help with the Elementary school basketball camps that he hosted in the Southern Okanagan to offset some of my travel expenses to our annual team building basketball camp in Port Coquitlam. Ever since then I have been passionate about helping youth through sport.

I have always been an exceptional athlete, but after moving to Vancouver and not finding a team to be a part of, I felt scared that I could not share my athletic gifts with anyone. Through the School Support Program Spring Basketball Camp, I have had the pleasure of being Lead Coach over two years, shifting my perspective in a good way.

The certification workshop I attended this spring was in partnership with UNYA and the School Support Program. Hosted by Jay Gladish from Aboriginal Sport, Recreation & Physical Activity Partners Council, he took us through the Canadian Basketball’s FUNdamentals program, which follows the (NCCP) The National Coaching Certification Program guidelines. At the end of the day I was considered a trained fundamentals coach, under Canada basketball.

After going through training and becoming a coach, you are invited to be a part of’s ‘The Locker’ service, an online platform where you can update and track coaching certifications. It also links you to over 2 million other coaches across Canada with whom you can share resources, stories, and workout/nutrition information.

This was the 13th year UNYA’s Basketball Camp was hosted in Vancouver and was open to Grade 7, 8, and 9 students of Aboriginal, Métis, Inuit, or Blended Aboriginal Ancestry. The program was available to players of all skill levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Even those who don’t play basketball were welcome to come and learn new skills.

I feel very lucky to have been able to share my experience, and I encourage more students to volunteer and find ways to share their unique gifts. SFU has a great volunteer program already happening on campus, and more information about UNYA, the School Support Program or how you can get involved check out the links below.


Coach Certificate Program:

SFU Volunteer Services:

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