The fourth edition of the four-day camp, put on by Ehrlo Sports Venture and the Regina Open Door Society, offered new Canadians a chance to play rugby, basketball, baseball and road hockey.
“It’s fun to play,” said Darsh Patel after Thursday’s road hockey camp culminated in a lively scrimmage outside of École Harbour Landing. “It looks really easy but it’s really hard in real play.”
Patel, who moved to Canada from India two years ago, was one of almost 50 youth who learned the basics of hockey Thursday morning. The group played baseball on Tuesday and Rugby on Wednesday. Basketball is on the schedule for Friday.
“We started with some basic stuff: stickhandling, shooting and passing, stuff like that,” said Braydon Westerman with Erhlo Sports Venture. “They love it. It’s very close to something they’re used to like soccer. It’s still putting a ball in a net. But using your hands and not your feet is something different.”
Zainabu Mwangangi, a youth case worker with the Regina Open Door Society, says the benefits of the camp go beyond learning rules, regulations and physical skills.
“Once the camp is over they’ll be able to go and join other people that play similar sports. They’ll be able to make friends, speak English, they’ll be able to have their self-esteem boosted.”
Amer Hamza, who moved to Canada from Pakistan about a year ago, added that he thinks learning the new sports will help him better connect with his Canadian-born peers.
“Many people I’ve met, they really like hockey and many of my friends play hockey,” he said. “So now I can play it with them and we’ll have a better relationship.”