Young curler giving youth a role model

When curler Travis Jones talks about young Aboriginal athletes’ needfor mentors, it’s as if he doesn’t realize he’s one himself.

When curler Travis Jones talks about young Aboriginal athletes’ need for mentors, it’s as if he doesn’t realize he’s one himself.

Jones, who is Métis and lives just outside Dawson Creek, is a future Olympic hopeful and one of six up-and-coming Aboriginal athletes chosen by VANOC as the subject for an inspirational poster series.

“There aren’t a lot of junior-age curlers in Northern B.C.,” said Jones, 18, who picked up the sport in elementary school. “It’s difficult to get together for practices so mostly I (have) to work on my own.”

Jones said many elite-level Aboriginal athletes get held up because of geographical barriers.

“(Some struggle) with the … availability of resources or venues, and the low number of athletes to form teams,” he said.

He added that while Aboriginals haven’t featured significantly in past Games, that number is going to rise because of legacies left by the Olympics.

And as more Aboriginal athletes make it to the top, others will be inspired to follow suit, Jones said.

“(Three) of some of the once-biggest names in curling are Aboriginal — Al Hackner, Arnold Asham … and Renee Sonnenberg,” he said.

Jones said he hopes his participation in the Find Your Passion In Sport poster series will inspire the next generation to get involved.

Hilary Dunn, director of Aboriginal participation for VANOC, said sport plays a positive role in promoting health and wellness in Aboriginal communities.

“(It strengthens) the emotional, mental and physical aspects of Aboriginal life,” she said.

 
 
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