Building Community: Newcomers Lacrosse Program  

In June 2022, RBC IDEA Laxfest would become the launching point of a meaningful partnership between Lacrosse Nova Scotia and the ALNAAS Community and Youth Development Association. Since then, Lacrosse Nova Scotia has run four different Newcomer Lacrosse programs, each four to six weeks long, and reaching over 100 kids. The program is designed to introduce kids and families to the game of Lacrosse.   

Through multiple key partners, such as Jumpstart, Support4Sport, and the Community Sport for All Initiative, Lacrosse Nova Scotia successfully provided newcomer programs which are two-hour weekly sessions over four to six weeks, averaging nearly 40 youth, ages five to 16 years old.  

“Our participation numbers are growing,” said Donna Goguen, Executive Director of Lacrosse Nova Scotia. “The more important effect of these programs is the opportunity for youth to come together for a healthy, social activity in a way they feel welcome and without pressure.”   

While there were language and transportation barriers to overcome, through volunteer and grant supports, Lacrosse Nova Scotia was able to secure assistance that allowed them to persevere. This was made possible by offering transportation for participants, along with translations services provided by an invaluable volunteer. Lacrosse Nova Scotia also had equipment from a previous program that enabled them to provide participants with sticks, helmets, and gloves, allowing them to offer the equipment to participants for no cost.  

The program is currently run at a provincial level and is organized by the Executive Director of Lacrosse Nova Scotia and its Board’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) Committee. The Technical Director of Lacrosse Nova Scotia runs the programs on the ground with the help of youth facilitators.   

“Our goal is to expand from being a provincially driven program to a more regional approach,” said Goguen. “We are working with some of our clubs and leagues to take the next step and provide EDIA programs in regional areas.”  

Lacrosse’s participation numbers are growing for several reasons, including programs like this, bringing players into the sport’s mainstream. While not all may join the game of Lacrosse competitively, it’s about the moments that kids and parents get to play together, seeing the joy as they learn a new skill, meet a new friend, and have the opportunity of structured play within the community.   

Lacrosse Nova Scotia is working towards sustainable programming for all groups they work with. Lacrosse Nova Scotia has since developed a partnership with the Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) and was able, through funding, to provide a five-session program to an entirely new group of families. Through initiatives and partnerships such as these, Lacrosse Nova Scotia hopes to expand its offerings, all while supporting its Community Sports Organizations expanding access to programs in their respective regions around the province. 

The Newcomer’s Lacrosse programming was partially made possible with the assistance of Sport Nova Scotia’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility grant. For more information about how Sport Nova Scotia can help support your community sport initiative, check out our Sport Fund eligibility

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