OCN (Opaskwayak Cree Nation ) & Ultimate - Strong in Spirit, Stronger Together

Article by Shayne Pfeiffer and Sean Seywright

With welcoming and open arms, Opaskwayak Cree Nation (or more commonly refered to as OCN by Manitobans and Saskatchewanians) took in members from the MODS community this November, with the schools first ever clinic and exposure to Ultimate & Spirit of the game.

MODS coaches travelled by car and headed north out of Winnipeg on a welcoming Sunday night... both Shayne Pfeiffer and Katie Issac met and worked with local leadership, teachers and support in Kendall Henderson and Yvonne Fenner from OCN and the local school Oscar Lathlin Collegiate (school logo provided). Together with the help and support of Cadin Dupasquier of the Manitoba Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Council (MASRC) MODS and the OCN community were able to spend 2 fulls days offering clinics and lessons on the game of Ultimate and the importance of Spirit of the Game to most of the student body.

For thos who have not travelled to the Pas or OCN, Oscar Lathlin Collegiate is located on Opaskwayak Cree Nation, across the Saskatchewan River from The Pas, roughly six hours northwest of Winnipeg. The school serves grade 7-12 students from the reserve and local commnunity. This is a proud and growing community with a history of excellence and passion for sport!

As we have found with other projects outside the city where we are able to introduce the sport of Ultimate for the first time, most students at OLC had never played the sport or properly thrown a disc before (or at all), however with the popularity of the sport growing globally and more and more clips making ESPN, Youtube and other social media outlets - many students had heard of the sport even though they hadn't played it! This gave our coaches a running start and some great passion to set a foundation at the school.

"There was definitely a learning curve for some of the kids", said Shayne Pfeiffer of the energetic students. "But what was most important for us as teachers and embassadors though, was that everyone was included, engaged and even if there was technical difficulty - through spirit of the game we were hoping everyone would have a good time... the feedback we got was beyond amazing and almost as valuable as the smiles on students faces". As the clinic continued, teachers were happy and noticing engagement and as typically happens with an ultiamte workshop - the students who usually participate the least in other sports, jumped in and became some of the most engaged athletes over the two days.

"We were really fortunate to have so much help from MASRC and also here at the school" cited Pfeiffer who made great contacts with school leadership and hopes to return in January for another session with the students.


Looking to build new programs and pathways...

All of this is part of the MODS aim to grow rural and indigenous participation over the next few years with its youth and school based programs. The shared township between OCN and the Pas (on the other side of the bridge) along with nearby God's Lake offers a chance to build ultimate in a small area which can be maintained by several schools and support from MASRC and Disc Sports. MODS is hoping that these programs will be guests at the 2020 provincial championships and that the schools and leadership will be able to help students participate - following the model and the recent multi year success of Oxford House.

Shayne and Katie were both really happy by the end of the school based lessons as in 2 days the students at OLC had learned the fundamentals of how to throw forehand and backhand, how to make Berkeley, Boulder and Strike cuts, basic rules and procedures for 7v7 gameplay, and how to play hotbox. The students began to understand concepts of spacing, moving without the disc, leading receivers, and reading discs... all of which should allow a great platform for us to build off of heading into our second clinic and the spring season.

If you are interested in helping with a January or February clinic in Northern Manitoba or being on hand to help our rural schools who travel in for Provincial Championships next May, please don't hesitate to reach out to Business and Sport Development Director - Sean Seywright any time.

November 29, 2019 at 12:10pm