PEI

Holland College introduces Aboriginal coaching pilot

The sport and leisure management program at Holland College is introducing a new Aboriginal coaching certification as a pilot project.

'We’re trying our best to educate our future coaches'

Sport and leisure management alumnus Richard Lush, centre, reviews material from the Aboriginal coaching modules with current students Breanna Cormier, left, and Shawn Fraser. (Holland College)

The sport and leisure management program at Holland College is introducing a new Aboriginal coaching certification as a pilot project.

The certification has three modules and will be facilitated by Richard Lush on behalf of the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I.

"In my mind some of the best kids I have ever worked with in my entire life were Indigenous youth — they are so passionate, they have so much heart," said Lush, who graduated from the sport and leisure management program.

The Aboriginal coaching modules include a holistic approach to coaching, dealing with racism in sports and individual and community wellness, Lush said.

We're trying our best to educate our future coaches.— Richard Lush

"In order to be a coach involved with the North American Indigenous Games it is mandatory you have the Aboriginal coaching module because it represents how to coach Indigenous youth effectively," he said.

The North American Indigenous Games is like the Canada Games for Indigenous youth, Lush said.

All 3 modules done in a day

Lush said the certification is for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous coaches so they can provide relevant learning experiences when coaching Aboriginal athletes.

"We're trying our best to educate our future coaches so that they are put into a successful situation and environment," he said.

The pilot project started Monday and runs until Thursday. Lush said all three modules are done in a day and take about eight hours.

"'It's been going good so far," Lush said.

The introduction of the certifications was made possible through a grant from the college's President's Innovation Fund.

"It's kind of history in the making for P.E.I. in particular because the Aboriginal coaching module, in my understanding, hasn't been involved in the post-secondary education system," Lush said.

Lush said growing up as a Mi'kmaq man from Lennox Island he didn't receive much education on Indigenous issues until Grade 12, and now he is "excited" to be expanding Indigenous education on P.E.I.

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With files from Angela Walker

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