Sixty-one enthusiastic kids, ages six to 14 years took part in the annual Youth Golf Day at Smoky River Regional Golf Course on July 15.
As part of the Healthy Exposures initiative of the Lesser Salve Lake Indian Regional Council, (LSLIRC) the event involves children from the five First Nations in the Lesser Slave Lake region: Sawridge, Driftpile, Kapawe’no, Swan River and Sucker Creek.
Though part of the council’s health program, Youth Golf Day receives no government or outside assistance but relies on the health staff of the LSLIRC to organize and fundraise to put on the annual event.
“Beginning in September, we fundraise all year so we can host this for the children,” says LSLIRC health director, Marcella Schnurr. “It was supposed to be just for one year but they always ask for it again. We are now in our seventh year, so we keep it going.”
Karen Cunningham, Calvin Badger along with Schnurr are the principal organizers, putting on raffles, entertainment events and golf tournaments to raise funds throughout the year. If they raise enough money, they offer other programs.
“Sometime we have some awareness programs that come out of that as well,” says Schnurr. “We had a youth conference last year as well as the youth golf tournament. It is to encourage the kids to play golf, to get involved in sports and make healthy choices.”
Youth Golf Day requires the participation of a considerable number of adults to oversee the kids and offer instruction.
“The instructors take time off from work to come down and help with this event,” says Schnurr. “ There were 18 instructors, with two instructors per age group.”
Every kid who attends Youth Golf Day comes away a winner for having participated in the event. All 61 kids received a backpack, sunglasses, golf hat, a medal and a door prize. The putting contest winners also received trophies.
Female putting contest winners ages 6 to 12 respectively are: Naysha Davis, Nya Willier, Hayden Sutherland, Sasha Thunder-Laboucan, Keyanna Holiday-Twin, Shaylynn Badger and Kali Cunningham.
The male contest winners ages 7 to 14 respectively: Grayson Thunder, Lyndon Okimaw, Isaiah Halcrow, Aiden Willier, Tyren Davis, Jarryn Haggerty, Brandon Sutherland and Marcus Cunningham.
“Karen Cunningham, Calvin Badger and I work hard to make this event a success, as it has been for the last seven years,” says Schnurr. “It is so worth all the work when we see the joy on the faces of our youth.”