Dynamic Opportunities For Youth

Dynamic Opportunities For Youth

May 25, 2005 16:34 ET

Dynamic Opportunities for Youth: National Rowing Program Turns Lessons Of Sport Into Life Lessons For Youth At Risk

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - May 25, 2005) - What started out an idea by a small group of Olympic rowers in Victoria to create something positive in response to the senseless murder of a local teenager has grown into an award-winning national program that shares the lessons of sport with youth at risk across Canada.

Dynamic Opportunities for Youth, produced by the GO Rowing & Padding Association and sponsored by Dynamic Mutual Funds, kicks off its fifth-anniversary season today with a national launch at the Calgary Rowing Centre. The program has provided a positive outlet for change for more than 1600 youth at risk across the country since it was launched nationally in 2001.

"Along with the entire community, the rowing family in Victoria was touched by the youth violence that ended the life of a local teen. This program emerged as one way to positively reach out to young people who too often fall through the cracks," said Olympic rower and program ambassador Silken Laumann. "By necessity, rowing has the ability to impart great life lessons such as team work, trust, perseverance, and self - worth, and it is one way for athletes to give back."

Laumann, with the help of other Olympic and national team rowers, developed the idea for the rowing program in response to the murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk by fellow classmates in 1997. Virk was drowned in Victoria's Gorge Waterway near the rowing centre where Laumann and her teammates trained. A pilot program started in Victoria the next year and was rolled out across the country in 2001, thanks to the support of Dynamic Mutual Funds.

Through the program, youth considered disadvantaged and at-risk have the chance to spend five weeks in a rowing scull, learning how dedication and teamwork can relate to positive change in life. The free 10-session learn-to-row training program focuses on the themes of self-esteem, teamwork, discipline, personal challenge, goal setting and fair play.

Investing in our youth is key to making our communities stronger," says Trevor Hampden, spokesperson for Dynamic Mutual Funds. "The Dynamic family understands the importance of partnerships in our communities, and we are proud of our role in helping to develop the character of young people through the Dynamic Opportunities for Youth program."

In 2005, Dynamic Opportunities for Youth will see more than 600 youth participate at 18 rowing clubs in 16 communities from coast-to-coast, including one new program starting this year in St. John's, Newfoundland. Thats up five-fold from 172 youth in 9 communities in 2001.

Communities where the program will run this year include Victoria; Langford, B.C.; Port Moody, B.C.; North Vancouver, B.C.; Vancouver; Calgary; Saskatoon; Winnipeg; Kenora; St. Catharines; Mississauga; Toronto; Ottawa; Halifax; Dartmouth and St. John's. Scholarships are available to help youth continue to row throughout the summer.

The award-winning program has received national acclaim from educators, youth workers and sports organizations for its innovate approach to sharing the lessons of sport with youth at risk. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport has recognized Dynamic Opportunities for Youth as one of five 'best practices' in community sport. The program and its sponsor, Dynamic Mutual Funds, have won two Canadian Sport Awards for corporate excellence.

"Rowing is only possible with total group-awareness and personal commitment. As a sport, it necessitates the formation of a team," said Sherwood Community School teacher, Dan Grassick. "Dynamic Opportunities for Youth provides a unique experience for students to come together and experience the lifelong social and physical benefits of rowing."

Dynamic Opportunities for Youth is sponsored by Dynamic Mutual Funds and produced by GO Rowing & Paddling Association, a not-for-profit national amateur athletic association that engages in activities and projects that support, promote, and advance rowing and paddling sports in Canada. The program is supported by Sport Canada, the Optimist Clubs of Canada, the Rock Solid Foundation, Rowing Canada Aviron, and the Graham C. Lount Family Foundation.

Contact Information