Lakehead University

Lakehead University
Wasaya Airways

Wasaya Airways

November 21, 2011 13:00 ET

Lakehead Athletics and Wasaya Airways Bring Sport and Leadership to Fly-in Communities

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 21, 2011) - Today, Wasaya Airways and Lakehead University signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Wasaya Airways Thunder Bay hangar and announced Reach Up! – Northern Community Sports and Leadership Program.

Reach Up! is a collaborative initiative between Lakehead University Athletics and Wasaya Airways to provide on-site instruction in sport-specific coaching and general leadership strategies for youth in Northern Ontario First Nations communities serviced by Wasaya Airways. Program visits feature discussion between Lakehead coaches and community coaches/leaders on how to grow and sustain interest in sport as well as sport-specific training. In addition, Lakehead athletes meet with local youth to discuss peer leadership, life goals, and to share their personal experiences.

Lakehead University Athletics and Wasaya Airways believe in the power of sport to change lives and want to establish a sustainable program that will not only create a legacy of activity in Northern communities, but also encourage Aboriginal youth to consider the benefits of postsecondary education for themselves and their communities.

Tom Morris, President and CEO of Wasaya Airways states, "Wasaya strives to actively promote education and recreation programs in the Northern First Nation communities we service. We are very fortunate to have partnered with such an exceptional postsecondary institution to offer a life changing opportunity for our Northern First Nation youth. We hope that this initiative will inspire our youth to partake in a more active lifestyle, build relationships with potential mentors, and continue to pursue education and learning opportunities."

The Wasaya Airways and Lakehead University MOU strengthens and formalizes the positive working relationship between Wasaya and Lakehead. The MOU establishes several key areas for collaboration, including:

  • promoting sport, healthy living, leadership, and team-building in Northern communities
  • increasing Aboriginal participation in, and access to, Lakehead programs and services
  • providing opportunity for student athletes to better understand and appreciate Aboriginal culture, heritage, and language
  • instilling confidence in Aboriginal youth to help young people realize their potential
  • promoting the importance of a university education

Lakehead University has a longstanding commitment to fostering leadership and development with Aboriginal students, and advancing the understanding of Aboriginal cultures, heritage, and languages within the University and broader communities.

"Lakehead is proud of this new initiative and MOU that will give us another avenue to reach out and encourage Aboriginal youth to participate in healthy activities and to believe that their future can include post-secondary education," says Lakehead University President Dr. Brian Stevenson. "We know that changing the face of education for Aboriginal students is a long journey but when we work together with partners like Wasaya and our Lakehead athletes, we become stronger together. Over 1,000 Aboriginal students are enrolled at Lakehead University. We want to see that number increase."

About Lakehead

Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. Over 8,280 students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards. For more information about Lakehead University, visit

About Wasaya

Wasaya Airways LP, a 100% First Nation owned company, part of the Wasaya Group of companies, is the leading provider of quality airline transportation services. Whether you are transporting cargo or freight, utilizing their passenger service to more than 25 destinations across Northwestern Ontario, or chartering an aircraft to any destination in North America, choosing Wasaya Airways LP is the right decision to make.

Contact Information

  • Media: Lakehead University
    Janine Chiasson
    Communications Officer
    Office: 807-343-8177 or Cell: 807-630-2510

    Wasaya Airways LP
    Jennifer Mihalcin
    Public Relations & Communications Specialist
    Office: 807-474-2351 or Cell: 807-251-0733