The intention to help the children and youth of their community thrive is the primary driver running through the accomplishments of the Dene Tha’ First Nation. This is a goal which is big enough and important enough to gather more and more volunteers from all parts of the community such as the members of the Dene Tha’ First Nation including parents and elders, the RCMP, Sport Central, Steve Nash Youth Basketball, Alberta Promise, Sports Connection, Alberta Recreation and Physical Activity Division, Jumpstart, Ever Active School, N7 Fund, DTFN Education Authority, DTFN Community Wellness and Health, and Presidents Choice.
What is emerging are many dynamic opportunities for young people to learn, play, develop healthy habits, discover their own capacity and find places to belong. One of the many significant contributions of Carlito Somera, previous ED of the Dene Tha’ Recreation and Cultural society and current principal Dene Tha’ Community School is to provide numerous opportunities for young people to discover the joy of physical exercise and sport from track and field, to volley ball and basketball , floor hockey, cross country skiing to roller blading. Carlito, also a volleyball and basketball official originally from the Philippines, has even been known to teach dancing including line dance and Tinikling, the Dene Tha’ traditional dance.
Carlito is always on the look-out for how to grab hold of a young person’s strengths and potential and use that as a hook to pull them gently into participating and growing their skills whether that is to shoot baskets or run fast. He also focusses on the strengths and basic goodness of his students when their parents arrive, worried and stressed, to talk about their concerns and leave his office calm and smiling . . . a magic his secretary marvels at on a regular basis.
The gatherings of the Dene Tha” First Nation for feasts, tea dances and drumming creates occasions for families, youth and elders to gather and enjoy each other. Traditional food is shared such as bannock and moose meat. Dene Games and Arctic sports are promoted. Sports events like the Alberta Indigenous Games, North America Indigenous Games and The Arctic Winter Games provide opportunities for everyone to rally behind their youth and support their efforts to be the best they can be and thrive with them.