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The Greater Victoria Collaborative for Adapted Sport and Physical Activity

Facilitating athletic and recreational opportunities for people across the age and disability spectrum


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Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I·SPARC) 

In June, we are highlighting on of our member organizations, the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I·SPARC) and Daniel Young-Mercer,I·SPARC’s Provincial Coordinator of Physical Activity Training and Development, who is very excited to share the evolution of I·SPARC’s FitNation Trainer’s manual, which was recently redesigned to include adaptive and inclusive options, images and programming. 
I·SPARC is a provincial sport organization that provides sport, physical activity and recreation programming to Indigenous community places and spaces across BC, from remote to urban participants. One of I·SPARCs main initiatives within the Healthy Living division, is known as the FitNation program. FitNation programming  was introduced in 2012 with the purpose of building Indigenous community capacity to lead inclusive physical activity programming that meets the physical, mental/emotional, cultural, and spiritual needs of participants. Under the slogan “Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere” the program was created with the vision of minimizing barriers and increasing accessibility for all community members, regardless of their age or abilities, to participate in a physical activity program led by a trained FitNation leader within their home community.

Twice a year, I·SPARC hosts a FitNation Provincial Leader Training Forum, which trains selected community leaders to run physical activity programming for their home community. The FitNation Trainer’s Manual is the main resource that each trained FitNation leader receives, and it contains over 100 physical activity movements to support programming for all ages and abilities, from youth to elders. 

As the program continues to evolve with new teachings that reflect the needs of Indigenous communities, so does this manual. The manual has transformed into a third edition, redesigned to align with I·SPARC’s vision of being inclusive of all community members, including Indigenous peoples living on the disability spectrum – from physical to cognitive.

When Daniel reflects on FitNation’s partners and contributors, he acknowledges all the voices who have supported the project from the first manual through its three revisions since the manual’s inception in 2012. Within and beyond his role with I·SPARC, Daniel spoke to the personal learning process that heightened and strengthened his disability inclusion knowledge as a result of being on the project team that re-designed the FitNation manual. He is clearly proud of the new additions to the manual, specifically the wheelchair exercises, and tips for disability inclusion, as it will help trained FitNation leaders create inclusive spaces within Indigenous community. 

The latest FitNation Trainer’s Manual includes four main movement options – Foundations, Progressions, Modifications, and Wheelchair; enabling FitNation to get closer to the vision of fully inclusive environments, as movements in the manual can offer a standing, seated, wall, and wheelchair option for participants!

Daniel is very proud to acknowledge the teachings of the following individuals and organizations that continue to help the FitNation program on its journey towards empowering Indigenous communities with pathways to participation for people with disabilities:
Richard Peter, 3-time Paralympic Gold Medalist
Corey Stewart, I·SPARC Premier’s Award Recipient
Dwayne Roberts
Tish Diamond
BC Blind Sports
BC Deaf Sports Federation
Canucks Autism Network
Unstoppable Tracy
Special Olympics B.C.
BC Wheelchair Basketball Society
INclusion INcorporated
Daniel’s advice to others on their inclusion journey:

1. Embrace the parallels of intersectionality: the disability inclusion community and the Indigenous community have parallels in wanting to feel included and understood. Lots of learning was generated from this concept. 

2. Find courage to ask for help and be vulnerable, even if it feels uncomfortable to acknowledge a lack of awareness in disability inclusion. 

3. If you have a seat at the table, vocalize the need for inclusion at the policy level to ensure accountability and incorporation into the strategic plan. 


Para PowerPLAY Multisport Program


Para PowerPLAY is a free program for youth aged 15-25 to try out a number of different para sports including para rowing, wheelchair basketball, para ice hockey, and more! The program will run from February through June 2022.
Register here.
Questions? Contact Sam at

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The OneAblity bi-monthly newsletter is a forum to stay informed about programs, events, workshops and seminars, training and education, as well as funding opportunities related to adapted physical activity and sport.

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With Generous Thanks to the Victoria Foundation for their ongoing support