The Whitecaps visit the island for the 9th Annual Hope and Health Community Camp

The 9th Annual Hope and Health Community Camp kicked off at the sports fields at Beban Park in Nanaimo, BC on Monday, August 22. It was another amazing event organized by the Hope and Health Society and the Kw’umut Lelum First Nations.

9th Annual Vancouver Island Hope and Health Community Camp

Nearly 100 children were running around the grounds when I arrived around noon. Do various exercises with the coaches of the Vancouver Island University men’s and women’s soccer teams. About 50 others were playing in the bouncy castle, having early snacks or shading themselves during the hot Vancouver Island day.

Blue sky and green grass for hope and health community camp

Another big draw for kids and parents alike was various members of the Vancouver Whitecaps team and organization who helped out and made big appearances at the event. Helijet has been great partnering with this camp and flying over parts of the team in the morning. Ryan Gauld, Brian White and Jake Nerwinski were all there along with sideline reporter Sarita Patel.

Hope And Health Football Camp Scenes

The afternoon saw Ranko Veselinovic, Tristan Blackmon and Sebastian Berhalter take on the kids. Head coach Vanni Sartini also gave a rousing speech explaining why he was late this morning. Always one for the theatre!

Before things resumed after a great musical performance, the caps made sure to sign autographs for the kids. Jake Nerwinski spoke about what the event meant to him.

  |  Sports Chat Line
Even Spike got in on the action

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to once again join Hope and Health and the Indigenous community on Vancouver Island,” said Nerwinski.

“Personally, this will be my fourth participation and this year will be very special because it’s been a few years. I look forward to making new friends, as well as seeing many familiar faces. Being able to see these children grow, mature and develop a love for football is really something very special to see. I can’t wait to make more memories this year!

  |  Sports Chat Line
Head coach Vanni Sartini hydrates ahead of the afternoon session

It was great to see the Whitecaps back in support of the event. It was the first time on the island for several of the players and they enjoyed the helicopter ride.

The Society of Hope and Health

The Hope and Health Society was established in 2010 with one of its goals being to use sport to bring Indigenous communities together. The Executive Director of Kw’umut Lelum Family and Children’s Services Agency, William Yoachim, has had his own positive experiences through sport and has actively created an environment to inspire children.

Community Camp of Hope and Health |  Sports Chat Line
Community Hope and Health Camp

The Hope And Health Society does many other great works in the Nanaimo community. The primary target audience for the Hope and Health Initiative is Indigenous children and youth, including those involved in the foster care system or living away from home or community.

Of course, this event has a special place in my heart after being a foster parent of an Aboriginal youth for 3 years. It was a great experience and he always enjoyed playing soccer and coming to Whitecaps games with me.

Vancouver Whitecaps and Sports Talk Line

It was a great event and I encourage everyone on Vancouver Island to come out and support it. Or support the Hope and Health Society in any way you can. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids, I can tell you it will be worth it.

The Vancouver Whitecaps return to the big field on Saturday August 27 against Nashville. They will be well rested after a full week off following their 1-1 draw at the Rio Tinto Stadium against RSL. For more Vancouver Whitecaps news and notes, be sure to follow me on Twitter at JoshuaGriffith0.

Be sure to check out the Sports Talk Line website for better sports coverage. The MLS season is coming to an end but the EPL has just resumed. Also for NFL, NHL and NBA fans, the 2022 seasons are just getting started. With upcoming camps in the NHL and NBA and NFL already in preseason mode, sports will be back fast and furious.