National Lacrosse League players continue to support Right to Play's Lacrosse for Development Program.
14 NLL players from seven different teams conducted five lacrosse clinics for 375 children over the summer in conjunction with Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization using sport and play to enhance child development in disadvantaged areas.
From Sept. 10-14, Right To Play, in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS), the NLL, and the Thunder Bay Lacrosse League, delivered a unique extension of the Lacrosse For Development program. Youth from the Justice Ronald Lester Youth Centre (JRLYC) participated in four days of activities, facilitated by Right To Play staff and four NLL players from three different teams.
"To see the children become more engaged as the weekend progressed was fantastic," said Buffalo Bandits defenseman Derek Suddons. "Many of the participants will be sure to spread the word about their new sport [lacrosse]. The building of new friendships and teamwork could easily be observed and was absolutely priceless."
Activities at the clinic included educational sessions on the history of lacrosse as the Creator’s game, a variety of skill building drills, and a series of leadership and teambuilding activities; all with the goal of increasing participants’ sense of self-value as well as their abilities to set goals and plans for the future.
"This is one of the most powerful programs that I have ever been a part of," added Bandits forward Luke Wiles.
Right To Play hopes to continue the positive impacts of this clinic, both to continue to support this year’s participants, as well as to reach a wider group of at-risk youth.
“The Lacrosse For Development program was an experience that these youth will never forget,” said Youth Centre Administrator Rhonda Perrier-Cameron. “It was truly an awesome week for all.”
More recently, Calgary Roughnecks defenseman and team captain Andrew McBride spent a week in November visiting Right to Play programs in Benin, a small nation in West Africa, with the goal of using the sport to support community and organizational initiatives.
Right to Play's Lacrosse For Development Program incorporates international sport-for-development expertise into a sport deeply-rooted in Aboriginal culture and history. The program, created in partnership with the National Lacrosse League and the Professional Lacrosse Players Association (PLPA), is designed to compliment components of Right To Play’s Promoting Life Skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) Program. Participants benefit from inter-community activities, and learn vital lacrosse skills and techniques from professional NLL players as powerful role models.