Newcomer Youth Participation in Sports (NYPS)
The Newcomer Youth Participation in Sports (NYPS) program bridges newcomer youth, 13 years of age and older, to local sports in the Fredericton community. The project creates an inclusive and supportive environment for the youth to attain the knowledge, resources, skills, and confidence to participate in mainstream sports programming. Program activities include introduction to local sports and venues, training, coaching, and mentoring. The program has built a base of equipment to be loaned and created a buddy system of youth more experienced in sports including transportation assistance to newcomer youth. This also includes building a base of culturally diverse trainers and coaches.
“Playing sports is important for all newcomer youth because they get to meet new friends and they also learn about Canadian sports and culture as well. If every newcomer had a chance to make a sports team, that would be great."
-Damodar Kuikel, Grade 11 Student
The program works closely with Multicultural Association of Fredericton (MCAF) staff members, who speak over 30 languages, to ensure that newcomer youth and their families are aware of the NYPS project and are comfortable accessing it. The program provides transportation assistance to participating youth to ensure that they can access sports opportunities in the community and that transportation is not a barrier to their participation. The MCAF shares sports-related information and resources with numerous ethno-specific groups in the local area.
As this is a youth-run program, the participants determine what sports they would like to be engaged in. Regular meetings are held with participants in the program to determine what their interests and needs are and what sports they are interested in participating in. There is a regular youth drop-in which ensures that the youth can come in and share their thoughts on what they would like to become engaged in - in an informal and relaxed setting. The buddy system ensures that, once youth determine which sport it is they want to be engaged in, there are older newcomer youth who are more familiar with the sport and who can provide support, encouragement, and guidance often in the first language of the youth.
Multiple sports organizations and venues in the community continue to play a key role in facilitating the access and integration of immigrant and refugee youth into the local sports community. These partnering organizations subsidize access fees, volunteer coaching and training, and provide access to facilities and equipment. The community donates youth sporting equipment for the sports equipment loaning program. Other partners volunteer to maintain the equipment (such as sharpening skates). Community partners help with the integration of newcomer youth from diverse backgrounds and work with MCAF youth programs to communicate with newcomer youth and families on sports opportunities and activities.
Statistics on participation in program activities form an indicator of the program success. Statistics are kept on such components as:
- Number of "registered" participants;
- How many youth participate regularly in events and sessions;
- Number of events successfully carried out;
- Verbal and written feedback/evaluations by program participants and their parents; and
- Observed changes in the participants' level of confidence, self-esteem, social skills, and happiness.
Program participation leads to an enhanced awareness of sporting resources, venues, and opportunities in Fredericton. Training and practice in North American winter sports build the confidence, self-esteem, and sense of belonging and engagement for these youth. Barriers to accessing local sports are reduced by program innovation such as equipment loaning and transportation subsidies.
Through this program, youth are able to share their knowledge and skills with their Canadian peers. This increases understanding of, and respect for, cultural differences and their ability to recognize similarities in values and beliefs. Through a buddy system, the newcomer youth have the opportunity to be mentors to other newcomer youth. This helps the former develop the skills and confidence to become active, involved citizens of the community.
To date, the NYPS project has facilitated the participation of over 100 immigrant and refugee youth in sports activities in their new community and new country.
The program is easily transferable to other geographical locations. It may take on different forms, depending on the unique realities found in each location, but its impact would be similarly beneficial to youth and their communities. The program provides a space for newcomer children and youth to develop their roles and sense of belonging to the new community. For many newcomer youth, participation in sports activities provides a space to transcend daily challenges and concerns that they may be dealing with as part of their settlement process. Through participation in sports, many newcomer youth feel a deeper sense of inclusion in, and belonging to, their community.
- Service Providers
- Multicultural Association of Fredericton (MCAF)
- True Sport Foundation and New Brunswick Population Growth Secretariat
- Fredericton, NB
- Year of Launch
- Languages of Delivery
- English and French
- Newcomer Groups Served
- Immigrant and refugee children and youth
- Expected Results
Information and Orientation (Newcomers make informed decisions about their settlement and understand life in Canada)
Welcoming Communities (Newcomers receive help to establish social and professional networks so they are engaged and feel welcomed in their communities)
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