Their aim is true

Kenn Oliver
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Mount Pearl Alliance hosting sympsoium

Mount Pearl is going out of its way to attract good sports.

In October, the Mount Pearl Sport Alliance is hosting a weekend seminar — True Sport Symposium — which promotes inclusiveness, fun, fairness and, “the genuine pursuit of excellence.”

True Sport is a national movement that tries to ensure sports and recreation remains an accessible and enriching experience.

Gary Martin, the Alliance’s vice-chair and chairman of the event, says while Mount Pearl has been known for sports ever since it was incorporated, the True Sport initiative “moves sport forward to make sure we keep in line with the principles.”

The alliance represents 13 sports that work together to provide sports and recreation opportunities  ­through fundraising projects, coaching seminars and special events.

Martin says the symposium, being offered Oct. 1-3 at Mount Pearl Senior High, will open the door to more partnership opportunities.

“There’s always room for improvement. We see (True Sport) as a mechanism to get the sporting community together with community clubs, the cadets, the boy scouts, seniors groups, and people who participate in other activities,” he said.

“Work together and come up with things that genuinely make sports better and meet the needs of people in the community.”

Martin is quick to point out that while the event is being hosted in Mount Pearl, the symposium is open to everyone.

“The True Sport values are everybody, everywhere,” says Martin, who has invited delegates from across the province. “If you’re from St. John’s or Harbour Grace or Gander, come in and see what we’re doing. Look at our model and maybe do the same thing.”

Mount Pearl isn’t the first community to join the True Sport movement; St. John’s, Corner Brook, Bishop’s Falls, Lawn, and Conception Bay South are already on board.

A full slate of activities has been packed into the weekend, starting with a hot-stove discussion facilitated by educator and Mount Everest climber T.A. Loeffler on Friday, leading into seminar registration and a reception that evening.

Saturday begins with an overview of what True Sport is all about from the Centre for Ethics in Sports’ Jennifer Keith, followed by group discussions on active living for seniors, healthy living and nutrition and lifelong athletic development.

“For example, you’re trying to ram hockey down (kids’) throats for 365 days a year, but up to a certain age, they should be doing multiple sports and there comes a times in teenage years where they should consider specializing,” says Martin.

Trevor Murphy, a Mount Pearl native and the Edmonton Oilers’ manager of fan and community development, will conduct a seminar on ethical coaching.

Other discussions will touch on conflict management, positive parenting in sport, conflict management and how to establish a Sport Alliance like Mount Pearl’s.

The Alliance is making it easy for participants to take the information back to their groups or communities by providing everything on take-away flash drives at day’s end.

All provincial sports organization under the Sport Newfoundland and Labrador banner, as well as other sports and recreation groups and sports retail outlets have been invited to establish booths at a trade show. It will be restricted to registered symposium participants Saturday and open to the public Sunday.

Saturday night’s gala dinner includes a keynote address from Beckie Scott, a True Sport champion and Olympic gold medal-winning cross-country skier.

Sunday will be “try it day,” giving everyone — symposium registrants and members of the public — the chance to get out and try a new sport or activity, including soccer, synchronized swimming, rugby, ultimate frisbee and cheerleading.

“Most of the sports participating are ... under the existing Alliance, but we’ve extended it out with the hopes of developing new associations,” Martin says, using volleyball and basketball as examples of sports that don’t have leagues operating in Mount Pearl.

Saturday’s forum includes a registration fee of $20 general admission, $15 for seniors and students, while the gala event costs $25. People can attend both for $40.

Organizations: Mount Pearl Alliance, Centre for Ethics, Edmonton Oilers Sport Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Corner Brook, Mount Everest

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