Some of the best young First Nation athletes Saskatchewan has to offer will be gathering on Red Pheasant First Nation from July 22 to 26 to take part in the 2007 Saskatchewan First Nation Summer Games.
About 3,500 athletes aged eight to 12 are expected to take part in the games, competing in athletics, golf, soccer and softball, as well as in one demonstration sport-road racing
The Saskatchewan First Nation Summer Games and Winter Games were established in 1974 as a way to provide First Nation youth with an opportunity to take part in sporting competition. Since those early days, a number of First Nation communities from across the province have had an opportunity to play host to the games.
The games are held as a way to improve relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and promote positive, healthy activity for youth. The sporting event also serves to bring revenue into the local economy.
According to an economic impact report, the 2007 summer games should generate an estimated $2.5 million in revenue, with about $2 million generated locally. In addition to the athletes, about 800 coaches, managers and chaperones, 200 officials and volunteers and more than 2,000 parents and spectators are expected to descend on Red Pheasant for the games, meaning that more than 6,000 visitors could be accessing local businesses during the five-day event.
A non-profit committee, Saskatchewan First Nation Summer Games 2007 Inc., is managing the event in partnership with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Saskatchewan Games Council. The committee members include co-chairs Vince Sauvie and Clay Debray, co-ordinator Kelly Villeneuve, Lester Nicotine, Michelle Wuttunee, Gord Peppel, Junior Stone, Shauna Bugler, Ray Fox and Darcy Stone.
Upgrades to sporting venues and facilities on Red Pheasant have already begun in preparation for the games, which will also be using facilities in the Battlefords for some events.
The committee is currently working on fundraising, promotions and other planning efforts. Merchandise like tracksuits and t-shirts are currently being sold to help with fundraising for the games. A raffle is also being conducted with the prize being a choice between a boat, a skidoo or quad runner from Silvester R.V.
The committee is looking for volunteers interested in getting involved in the games. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the games committee at (306) 445-9996 or by fax at (306) 445-2307 or can drop by the project office located in the Battlefords Tribal Council offices at 691-109th St. in North Battleford.