Yukon’s Year of Sport

Currie Dixon, MLA for Copperbelt North

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, February 27th, 2015
by Currie Dixon, Minister of Community Services

Earlier this year, Governor-General David Johnston proclaimed 2015 the Year of Sport. Numerous international Games will be hosted on Canadian soil this year, including the Pan Am Games, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the IIHF World Hockey Junior Championships. Declaring a Year of Sport recognizes its benefits and encourages participation by all ages. Here in Yukon, we will also recognize 2015 as our Year of Sport, as we have a lot to celebrate.

After returning from the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC with Team Yukon, I am inspired by our amazing, young athletes. While competition continues throughout this weekend, Yukoners have already left their mark at the national Games, pulling in seven medals and numerous personal bests. We have athletes competing in Alpine, Freestyle and Cross Country Skiing, Archery, Artistic Gymnastics, Biathlon, Men’s and Women’s Curling and Hockey, Speed and Figure Skating, Snowboarding, Squash, Judo, Synchronized Swimming and Table Tennis.

All of our athletes are fair competitors who not only put everything they have into their sport, but who do so with respect and dignity as ambassadors of Yukon. We should all be proud to have them represent us.

It is this display of skill and integrity that reminds all of us about the importance of investing in sport, recreation and active living opportunities for Yukoners in all communities. This year, our government will be increasing funding for recreation in rural Yukon communities by $400,000.

New funding agreements with Canada, like the Northern Wellness Agreement and the Sport Bilateral Agreement, will bring more resources to Yukon for sport, recreation and active living opportunities. This support for Yukoners to participate in sport, recreation and active living is important, so that we can continue to live fulfilling and healthy lifestyles.

Along with several other provinces, we are also in the process of joining in the first Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy project.

We have developed a Yukon Sport Action Plan that will guide our sport development and priorities in Yukon and which also lays out a physical literacy framework for collective efforts in sport, recreation and active living for individuals, school, organizations and communities.

The success of the Sport School programs in Whitehorse continues to grow and the year ahead is very bright with a long list of Games and events for Yukoners and Yukon athletes. The Special Olympics World Games in July will see a Yukoner represent Canada for the first time in over 30 years. The World Eskimo/Indian Olympics will have a team from Yukon compete in Arctic Sports and Dene Games. Team Yukon will be competing at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games this summer as well.

For our recreational athletes, Yukon’s numerous annual events will continue to provide fun and active challenges encouraging personal achievements, from the Kluane Chilkat Bike Relay and Klondike Road Relay to the Native Hockey Tournament and Dustball.

Opportunities to celebrate and participate in sport, recreation and active living are plentiful this year, so I encourage all Yukoners to join me in marking 2015 Yukon’s Year of Sport.