True North Youth Foundation: Empowering Youth, Strengthening Community

Oct 15, 2019 | Other News

Most of us know the joy of being able to play extracurricular sports like hockey alongside our friends and neighbours (it’s our way of life here, after all!). But what if you couldn’t afford registration fees or equipment? And what about all the unforgettable experiences you enjoyed as a child while attending summer camp? Thanks to the TNYF, in 2018, more than 42,000 underserved Manitoba youth had the chance to access opportunities like these.
It goes without saying that we love our Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose. Another key division of True North Sports & Entertainment, is the True North Youth Foundation, established in 1996 as the Manitoba Moose Yearling Foundation. TNYF makes a difference in the lives of underserved youth in our community, and promotes their growth and development by delivering programs and educational opportunities that help build life skills and shape character, while promoting physical and mental wellness.
The Foundation’s three continuously-growing, core programs — Winnipeg jets Hockey Academy, Camp Manitou and Project 11 — offer adventure and outdoor activities, celebrate inclusion, and cultivate connections, self-esteem, and physical, intellectual, and social skill sets.
“The Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA), Camp Manitou, and Project 11 are our core programs, and they’re designed to guide youth on a journey of self-discovery in safe and caring environments,” says Dwayne Green, TNYF Executive Director. “Our aim is to empower potential in our young people by providing opportunities to belong, learn, and contribute.”
  • Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) enables 900+ youth each year who have few recreational options to participate in a hockey skills program that incorporates community volunteers and university students as instructors and positive role models. The program offers both a daytime and after-school component during the school year and within local arenas and schools in Winnipeg. The goal is to enable students from Grade 2 through high school to learn the basics of hockey and take advantage of opportunities that support their academics. But the WJHA is about more than hockey: the program fosters leadership and citizenship as student athletes are shown many different possibilities for their future through an assortment of field trips, visits to post-secondary institutions, career counselling, and various volunteer opportunities. Learn more about how you can participate in the WJHA through their Living Philanthropy Program.
  • Camp Manitou, located just outside of Winnipeg in Headingley, provides a wide range of year-round activities, challenging educational programming, and the perfect environment to step out of the everyday and connect with nature. The Camp was acquired by TNYF in 2014, and keeps days jam-packed with activities, learning, and fun. It’s a place where kids are able to leave their troubles behind to simply be kids, bond, make friendships and make memories that will last a lifetime. Each year, Camp Manitou works to upgrade and enhance their site, including the most recent addition of a full-sized outdoor hockey rink. The facility offers sleepaway summer camp, group rentals, as well as winter season outdoor activities.
  • Project 11, created in tribute to former Winnipeg Jet/Manitoba Moose player Rick Rypien #11, is a curricular resource available to Manitoba schools. Each year, more than 1,200 classrooms (kindergarten to Grade 8 students) participate in the program that teaches resiliency and positive coping skills. Through Project 11, the classroom becomes a community where students learn about and openly discuss mental wellness. The program uses concepts such as practicing focusing the mind, increasing self-awareness of feelings and strengths, and building positive relationships. In addition to Mental Wellness lessons, there are 160+ daily activities promoting healthy lifestyle practices that teachers can access and incorporate into the classroom, from yoga and art energy to fitness and dancing.

Thanks to the continued support of Jets and Moose fans, the TNYF was able to once again build on its programming during the 2018/19 season, benefitting more than 42,000 community members. Since inception, the Foundation has raised more than $21 million for youth-based initiatives.

“We are so grateful for every sponsor, donor, volunteer, employee, and partner that has contributed to our success,” says Green. “Without the belief and support of the community, the work of the TNYF would not be possible.”

According to Green, an additional point of pride for the foundation is that the dedicated team of staff and volunteers developed these unique programs in their entirety — and continue to operate and deliver them with excellent outcomes and success rates. By connecting with youth year-round and following them throughout their academic careers, the Foundation strengthens connections to schools and communities, resulting in increased school attendance and improved graduation rates.

This September, at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s “State of Hockey” luncheon, Mark Chipman, Executive Chairman of the Board of True North Sports + Entertainment and Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, proudly stated that he truly believes Jets’ fans to be the best fans in the NHL.

According to Green, if anything points to the truth of this statement, it’s the investment that the teams’ fans have made in the Foundation. “We are so fortunate that Manitobans have placed their trust in TNYF to do the work we do, and we are honoured to be a part of an energized, giving community that aspires to give back.”

If you’d like to support the True North Youth Foundation, the annual Winnipeg Jets Gala Dinner is a great way to participate! Held at ice level at Bell MTS Place, the event attracts more than 900 professionals, businesses, and supporters. Enjoy this unique opportunity on October 23, 2019, to mingle with players and coaches from the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose while enjoying an exquisite meal and fun money casino. The event includes a raffle as well as a silent auction featuring once-in-a-lifetime Winnipeg Jets experiences and merchandise, with proceeds in support of TNYF.


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