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Community Partnerships to Promote Healthier Communities

photo: Mission Statement Summary for The First Lap Coaching

A year ago, Andy and I started to form some ideas around coaching services that would be impactful and support people in their goals to be more physically active. During the previous two seasons, Andy sold lots of ski equipment as 'the COVID' forced people outdoors. This surge in interest in cross-country skiing was terrific; however, would this translate to people being more physically active? More active and healthier communities through sustained participation? This interest in community health and sustained participation in winter sports became our purpose for starting The First Lap.

Photo: Wix Media

Partnership and collaboration were Andy's immediate strategies to increase sports participation. Our first partnership came in January 2022 with a fantastic community group in Winnipeg. Anders Swanson at Winter:Peg told us their mobile ski library needed skis for young kids. Frequently young kids were waiting for skis to be returned to the library for their turn to ski on the groomed trails in their neighbourhood park. So Canadian Wintersports (CWS) sent Winter:Peg eight pairs of kids' skis for their library. This created the CWS Ski Giveaway, and in November 2022, Hudson Bay Ski Club received eight sets of skis for their school and club.

Program partnerships are another area where we hope to impact participants' enjoyment and lead to sustained physical activity. I want to highlight two community program partnerships: the Edmonton Classic Training Group and the Nipissing Lakers Master Ski Program.

The Edmonton program is a First Lap Coaching program with Hannah Shields as the group coach. Hannah provides weekly group coaching for this group of adult skiers who are preparing for the Canadian Birkie. The full partnership team includes a group coordinator and group ski leader, a local coach who will lead two ski clinics and two retail sponsors, Revolution Cycle and

An interesting fact is that some of the group participants did start skiing during the pandemic.

The second program partnership is with the Nipissing Univesity Varsity ski team, The Lakers. One of their team members, Alex Maycock, is also a coach with The First Lap. With the support of his coach and teammates, Alex has created a training program for Master Skiers in North Bay. This will be a 10-week program. In addition to the varsity team partnership with The First Lap, a further community partner is The North Bay Ski Club. We are very excited to see these partnerships come together too. We even set up a donation page for this team on our website: Click Here and scroll to the bottom.

We are looking for other partners. If you are involved in a community group or ski club and have a project or idea you could use a partner to work with you on, please get in touch. We would love to collaborate with you.

Maybe you are in a cycling or running group that meets to do some cross-country skiing. Get in touch, and let's see what aligns. Or maybe your ski club is lacking coaching resources for its programs. We may be able to find a solution to this problem. Thefirstlap

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