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We'koqma'q student attends diversity in sports conference

June 3, 2024

Kwe nin telulsin Cole Prosper. I am 18 years old & I am a grade 12 student at the We’koma’q Mi'kmaq School graduating in June. I will be attending Saint Mary's University in the fall to get my Bachelor of Arts. I have always been interested in sports for my whole life and played league sports and played hockey and baseball the majority of my middle school years. Once I hit high school, I got into track and field, basketball and canoe racing. The North American Indigenous Games were coming up and being competitive and loving sports, I was excited, so I decided to tryout for basketball and ended up tearing my ACL and meniscus and couldn't play impact sports. I thought my chances of playing at the games were over until one day my dad got a call from the canoe/kayak coach Robin Thomson. She heard at one of the meetings about how I hurt my knee and wanted to know if I wanted to go canoe racing. I was unbelievably excited that I was given another chance to compete. At the games I made lifelong friendships with Robin being one of them.

I told her I was attending SMU in the fall and asked if she knew of any jobs or any employment opportunities around the Halifax/Dartmouth Area. She ended up sending me information on a conference coming up called BIPOC leaders program diversity in sports. BIPOC stands for Black Indigenous People Of Color. This conference was designed to shape young leaders from around Canada and share information and ways that they can help their
respective communities or provinces. I was lucky enough to be one of two candidates from Nova Scotia. The other guy was Garrett Horne who is Robin’s son. We even flew up together.

The conference paid for my room and food but I had to pay for my plane ticket and other transportation. I was lucky enough to talk to my principal, vice principal at my school and We’koqma’q’s Director of Education who helped write a letter and get funding from my band. So the community helped me get to the conference. The conference was in Mississauga, Ontario which is not far from Toronto. I was fortunate enough to arrive a day early and was able to go
downtown Toronto at Scotiabank in Leafs Square during Game 6 of the first round against the Boston Bruins. I was there from May 2 to the 5th.

It was a good mix of lectures and workshops about jobs in sports as a person of color who are defying the odds. I really liked how they all had the same meanings. But they were all said in their own ways and didn't get repetitive at all. All of the speakers were really passionate about what they were there for. We had Olympic athletes
speak to us, we had people from the NFL, CCM and Canada Games Committee.

My favorite part was the networking event. I got to meet people from all over Canada and made so many connections and friendships that will last a lifetime. I would say to others would want to attend that it is an amazing experience that puts you out your comfort zone and gives you a new way of learning. It was my first time flying without my family but it was well worth it and was able to meet new people and one thing I didn't expect was how social people were. People were very open to chatting and sharing ideas with one another.