Sport retreat refines future needs


BRAESHORE — More than 30 people gathered for a two-day sports retreat last week at the Pictou Lodge Beach Resort to reach agreement on focal points designed to expand sports’ reach in the province.

Rae Gunn, Highland Region manager for Recreation Nova Scotia, was one of the 31 people who took part in the event. The group was charged with working last Thursday and Friday to define the focal points to recommend for future action. The group’s work followed a sport leadership forum in Halifax on June 19 that laid out dozens of subjects of concern from the 60 people who attended it.

“I feel empowered to make change in areas I’m passionate about,” said Gunn, who attended both events.

Besides Sport Nova Scotia, the sessions’ partners included the Department of Community, Culture and Heritage and The Canadian Sports Centre, Atlantic.

Three areas of impact on sport were identified and included participation, individual and organizational leadership and the culture of sport.

Participation dealt with broadening the reach of sport by overcoming barriers in under-represented communities.

A need was seen to strengthen organizations and developing leaders in areas of administration and coaching.

Five goals were agreed to that include increasing the access of sports for all Nova Scotians, devise organizations that meet communities’ needs, establish Sport Nova Scotia as a convener for the work, expand support for sports organizations and build a strong and sustainable business model.

Among other concerns raised were the need to stress mass participation more, not just elite level sports, and a desire to make physical education an essential school subject.

Concerning education, there was a need seen to train a new generation of teachers in physical literacy, bring quality physical education back to schools and pressure governments to make physical education a priority with literacy and numeracy.

Rae Gunn, centre, chats with facilitators Tim Merry, left and Tuesday Ryan-Hart during the sports retreat at Pictou Lodge Beach Resort. (Goodwin photo)