Op-ed: How youth, sports, & mining can have a positive impact on you
- John Lagimodiere | May 22, 2016
I always love the May issue that focuses on youth, sports and mining because all three things have been very influential in my life. Before I fell into this newspaper/consulting gig, I was going to be a social worker. I had the sociology degree, had volunteer work and coaching in my background and I was ready to go out there and start befriending the troubled and saving young lives.
So I did. I had some contracts with social services and did some very valuable one on one work with some real troubled kids. Many of these kids were born into circumstances beyond their control and the impact on them by their surroundings was sometimes immense. But it seemed regardless of the challenges, if the kids had hope, they could weather the most difficult of times.
The social working was very difficult and I was more than happy to move onto my next career but I keep that contact with young people by coaching hockey or ball hockey or three on three or whatever sports the kids are playing when no other parent volunteers (that’s why the kids soccer team I coached warmed up by doing the horseshoe drill from hockey…we always got weird stares).
And as often as I try to impart wisdom on youth, I find that they often inspire me…the quiet kid in hockey making the big play or speech. Or performing a selfless act of bravery like our cover story hero Harvey or that first acting performance by a young student at the Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre. Or now that Grade 8 class from King George Community School donating over $1000 of their grad money to the evacuees from Fort McMurray. Are you kidding me? Grade 8 kids? Very impressive. I love young people.
I also have a fondness for the mining industry too. My father was a personnel manager for Potash Corporation of America so mining has been in my family my entire life. I have seen the positive impact mining has on employees and their families and now we see many mining companies in Saskatchewan embrace corporate social responsibility. My dad would be spinning in his grave if he saw the largess of the company that now owns his once humble mine just outside of Saskatoon.
Community investments from mining companies have made Saskatchewan a much better place to live. Sometimes these donations come with big naming rights and lots of media…but lots of what mining companies do is also just day to day good citizen stuff. It was heartwarming to see Athabasca Basin Development, a company that does millions of dollars in business with major mining companies in Saskatchewan, replace the $1000 the King George Students donated to Fort McMurray so they get to have a great grad after all. Or like our friends at PotashCorp arranging for one of their suppliers to make 20 or so high school business club students a new suit for business plan pitching. That’s good stuff.
And lastly sports…I can never get enough sports. I love to golf (badly). I love to play hockey (deadly sniper with absolutely no desire to back check or work a corner). I swim like a fish. I play bocce ball with an assassin’s eye and heart. Badminton, wicked. Basketball, Dr J they called me. Tennis…okay as long as the knees hold up. And of course poker, which they show on a sports channel so it must be a sport.
And besides me giving lots of assists in sport, I get lots back too. Young or old, I have learned leadership and how to win or lose. And I got lessons in humility and patience. And also lessons in controlling my temper and what to do if I lose it….lots of good things from sport.
So, we hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed pulling together all these stories to inspire youth, promote sports and celebrate mining in Saskatchewan.