Olympic medallist expands cross country skiing program in aboriginal schools
Scott says huge benefits in physical literacy and mental wellness could lead to future Olympic medals
The principal of an Alberta First Nation school is singing the praises of a cross country skiing program expanded this week by retired Olympian Beckie Scott.
"We want them to become the best learners they can and part of that is being physically active," said Jeff Horvath, principal at Tsuut'ina First Nation High School.
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"We want healthy young people in our communities and cross country skiing being one of the best exercises you can do, I think it will only benefit our young people."
This week two-time Olympic cross country ski medallist Beckie Scott brought the Ski Fit North Alberta program to the school, the 18th one to sign up for the program.
Ski Fit North Alberta brings cross country skiing equipment to aboriginal schools across the province. The program was developed by Cross Country Canada and Cross Country Alberta and receives corporate sponsorship.
Scott says the list of benefits is lengthy.
"We know there is so much in the way of health benefits in terms of physical literacy and mental wellness when you engage kids in sport," she said.
"And cross country skiing is one of the best sports there is."
A Grade 5 student is enjoying skiing for the first time.
"It was good but I fell a lot, but I just got back up," Raven Crane said.
That's music to the ears of Scott.
"Most importantly though, we just want the kids to have fun and enjoy sport in a really supportive environment," Scott said.
Meanwhile, Horvath is hoping some of those smiles could lead to a podium visit.
"The smiles we have had over the last couple of days have been fantastic and we got some keen students," the principal said.
"We are going to develop some trails and get these guys on an Olympic team in a few years."