CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director
As part of a continued effort to respectfully engage with Canada’s First Nations, Capilano University organized an effort to lead a basketball camp in the Similkameen Valley at the LSIB Community Health Centre near Keremeos this past August.
Blues men’s basketball head coach Cassidy Kannemeyer coordinated with Capilano University President Paul Dangerfield, VP Strategic Planning Toran Savjord, and Athletics Manager Milt Williams to orchestrate the four-day camp, which Kannemeyer led alongside two CapU student-athletes, Denver Sparks-Guest and Sterling Peterson.
“We are proud of these student-athletes for working with the Similkameen First Nations community this summer,” said Dangerfield. “Capilano University continues to work to strengthen its connections with Indigenous communities and we recognize that basketball can play a pivotal role.”
For Peterson, who is heading into his first year at CapU, he was back in the community he grew up in. Despite the region battling recent flooding and smoke from wild fires, 25 kids attended the camp and “worked their tails off” according to the coaches.
“It was awesome coaching the camp alongside Denver and Cassidy because this was the first time any collegiate program came to the rez,” said Peterson. “Growing up as a kid I had the privilege of attending a few camps, but not too many.
“The one thing I will remember most about the experience was when I took Denver and Cassidy and showed them different cultural landmarks on my reservation. It was pretty cool to show Cassidy and Denver where I come from because I believe that my homeland is a huge part of who I am and how I got here.”
It was an eye-opening experience for Sparks-Guest, a fifth-year student-athlete and conference First Team All-Star last season.
“What I will remember most from this camp was how amazingly hospitable the Similkameen people were in welcoming us into their community, and how dedicated the kids there are to the game of basketball,” said Sparks-Guest. “It was just an all-around great time in the Similkameen Valley, and coach Cassidy and myself were very gracious to have the opportunity to share the experience with all the people we met on our trip.”
Back in June, Capilano University also received the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s Community Service Award for hosting the 2018 Junior All-Native Basketball Tournament, which featured over 1,300 high school-aged players from across BC in a week-long event that encouraged sportsmanship, leadership, and a sense of pride among BC’s First Nations communities.
|Sterling Peterson showing teammate Denver Sparks-Guest Syilx pictographs along the Similkameen River.|
|Cassidy Kannemeyer and Denver Sparks-Guest alongside some of the campers.|