Kylie Jack, from Penticton Indian Band and residing in Westbank, was one of the six female athletes selected for the Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport this year. Submitted photo

Okanagan athletes among those celebrated with Aboriginal awards

Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport handed out

By Brennan Phillips

Special to the Western News

Kylie Jack and Daniel Everton are two local athletes selected for the Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport this year.

Jack, a Penticton Indian Band member and currently residing in Westbank, was one of six female athletes selected for the awards this year. She studies criminology full-time at Simon Fraser University, where she competes in NCAA division two golf. In 2017, she placed second at the Greater Northwest Athletic Conference Championships and helped her team to a ninth-place finish at the Women’s Golf Super Regional.

Related: Young Athletes Receive Premier’s Award

“I’m really thankful for this award and grateful for the opportunity I can give and what change I can offer with this award,” said Jack. “It feels awesome to be the representative (of the PIB). I know that I have to put my best forward to do that, but I know that I have a lot of power for the youth that I can use in a good way. I’ve been thinking a lot on what I can do, and what’s the best way to go to try to inspire youth to do what they want to do and aim high.”

At the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Women’s Amateur tournament in Renton, WA, Jack finished in the round of 16 after starting the tournament ranked 30th. Jack also spends time volunteering at junior girls’ golf clinics and with SFU’s Peer Cousins program.

Jack was exposed to golf by her parents and developed an interest in it from a young age. At 13 years old, she hit the links at a family event. Despite being a historically male-dominated field, Jack feels strongly that it can, and is changing.

“You do what you want to do, confidence first. There are a lot opportunity to change that in the future, especially for our generation,” said Jack. “The golf clinics, a bunch of girls sign up, and go to the range or the putting green, and learn from a pro. It’s their first introduction for them, and we try to make it a lot of fun. We’d like to see more girls come out to them.”

She is still unsure of her plans after graduating next year. Jack has considered going pro, but she is also thinking about either pursuing a masters in criminology or studying law at UBC or UVic. That career field has long been an interest to Jack.

“When I was younger, before I went to university, I was interested in criminology. Why people commit crimes, why there’s a huge overrepresentation of Indigenous people, and I wanted to find out why. Going into the field has really broadened my understanding of how the world works, what has happened, and what can happen, and that still really interests me.”

When she is home in Westbank, she volunteers with the Westbank First Nation Youth Program and with Penticton’s Four Seasons Cultural Society. Jack says that embracing her Aboriginal ancestry has been a great journey, and when she plays golf, she thanks the local ancestors for allowing her to play on their territory.

Penticton Secondary School Dan Everton gets his teammates pumped at the boys AAA provincial championship in Langley. Everton was honoured recently with the Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport. Submitted photo

Everton, representing the Métis Nation B.C., was one of the other 12 athletes selected for the awards this year. He is a top volleyball player, who turned down the chance to be one of the youngest Team B.C. players ever at the 2017 Canada Summer Games to instead captain the under-16 Team B.C. at the National Team Challenge. He also captained the Kamloops Volleyball Club’s under-17 team to a 13th place finish at the 2017 Club Volleyball Nationals.

Related: Laker Selected To BC Under 18 Squad

As captain of the Penticton Secondary School Lakers volleyball team, Everton was awarded the Top Athlete Award and the Top Overall Student award for his grade, despite being a year younger than his peers. Involved with his community, he volunteers with WE Day, Relay for Life, an annual food drive and helping with Métis dinners in his community. With the support of his family, Everton said he is proud to learn more about his Métis background and feels honoured to be part of a culture that has overcome many obstacles in its long history.

The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (I·SPARC), in collaboration with the province, created the Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport to highlight the achievements of Aboriginal youth athletes in the province. The annual awards honour Aboriginal athletes under 25 years of age who have achieved excellence in performance sport, are regarded for their leadership qualities, committed to a higher education, and are recognized as community role models both on and off the field.

The awards were bestowed on the athletes by the Honourable Melanie Mark, the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training. The celebration and presentation of the awards happened on March 20 as part of the opening ceremonies of the Gathering Our Voices Youth Conference, held this year in Richmond at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport hotel.

“I am impressed and inspired by the dedication these young athletes have demonstrated to achieve the 2017 Premier’s Award for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport,” said Premier John Horgan. “As outstanding athletes and community leaders, this year’s recipients truly represent British Columbia’s best and brightest. We are proud to offer the training and development support that enables Aboriginal youth to reach this level of accomplishment.”

Just Posted

City budget 2019: Six new cops approved for Kelowna RCMP

The new officers will be paid for using savings generated by leaves and vacancies

Scholarship smooths road ahead for Okanagan College transfer student

27 students from Okanagan College received awards from the Irving K. Barber Society

Crash stalls traffic on Benvoulin, vehicle flipped on its side

Early reports from the scene note traffic is backed up in both directions along Benvoulin near Byrns Road.

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Update: BC RCMP confirm multiple businesses received email threats throughout province

Police Dog Service on scene at Penticton Honda and Penticton Hyundai

Okanagan lawyer honoured by appointment to Queen’s Counsel

Only seven per cent of practising B.C. lawyers are appointed

Missing man last seen in Shuswap

Red Deer RCMP would like public’s help locating elderly man with dementia last observed in Sicamous

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Coal power in Canada must disappear by the end of 2029, new regulations say

Canada has significantly cut its dependence on coal largely due to the closure of all coal plants in Ontario.

Most Read