The Junior All-Native Basketball Tournament (JANT) has earned Capilano University the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s Community Service Award.
Cori Andrichuk, Manager of Student Life and Athletics at College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, BC, accepted the award this evening at the CCAA Hall of Fame Banquet in Quebec City on behalf of the fellow Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) institution.
The Community Service Award recognizes a CCAA member institution that has successfully developed and administered a community relations program.
Last March, Capilano University Athletics & Recreation was honoured to help bring the 2018 event to Vancouver for the first time in the tournament’s 40-year history. The tourney featured 82 boys and girls teams and over 1,300 high school-aged players from across British Columbia in a week-long event that encouraged sportsmanship, leadership, and a sense of pride among BC’s First Nations communities.
“The event was meant to inspire and motivate First Nations youth to strive to reach their potential, get a glimpse of the possibilities that could be in front of them and even learn how to deal with failure and never give up,” said David Munro, CCAA Vice President Sport Development.
“Capilano was instrumental in hosting this province-wide event that brought people together from all walks of life for a week of celebration and basketball and the CCAA is extremely proud of what they accomplished with this undertaking.”
JANT is a provincial tournament that strives to utilize the game of basketball to inspire, motivate, and encourage First Nations youth to achieve their goals and make the most of their potential. JANT is also an opportunity to advance and increase participation among BC First Nations youth, and to improve their fitness and skill levels.
The tournament’s 2018 theme was UNITY through basketball, with a focus on promoting reconciliation province-wide, as well as within Nations. A partnership with First Nation Health Authority also provided workshops and support to bring awareness of mental health for athletes, coaches, families and communities.
Capilano was a major partner for the 2018 JANT tournament, and the CapU Sportsplex facility hosted the Opening Ceremony, round-robin games and division finals. The Opening Ceremony had a capacity crowd of nearly 2,000 people, and featured dancers and speeches from Indigenous elders, BC Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark, and Capilano University VP Toran Savjord.
By hosting the event, Capilano reconnected with Aboriginal youth, promoted the University’s community engagement and cultural ties and encouraged higher education. Capilano also acknowledged that the University is located on the traditional territories of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Sechelt (shíshálh), Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Capilano University is also named after Chief Joe Capilano, an important leader of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh) Nation of the Coast Salish people.
The Athletics & Recreation Department also established the Capilano Blues Athletic Program Fund, which is available for up to four graduating First Nations players who participated in the tournament and who are attending Capilano University in the fall as a member of the CapU men’s or women’s basketball team.
“A lot of kids have trouble growing up on the rez — basketball is an outlet for those kids and they use it as a way to escape reality,” said Sterling Peterson, who played in JANT while in high school and is committed to the Capilano men’s basketball team in the fall.
“A lot of these communities are in the middle of nowhere with nothing else to do and this becomes their life basically, so it is big, it is really big.”