Contributions to sport honoured

Fort Liard recreation co-ordinator Roslyn Firth gets prestigious award

April Hudson | ACHO DENE KOE/FORT LIARD
June 4, 2015
Fort Liard recreation co-ordinator Roslyn Firth receives the Delma Kisoun Memorial - Community Contributor award from Ryan Fequet, vice-president for Sport North, during the 2015 SNF Awards Banquet. - Darren Horn photo

Fort Liard recreation co-ordinator Roslyn Firth receives the Delma Kisoun Memorial – Community Contributor award from Ryan Fequet, vice-president for Sport North, during the 2015 SNF Awards Banquet. – Darren Horn photo

Sport North celebrated one of Fort Liard’s own during the 2015 SNF Awards Banquet in Yellowknife on May 23.

It has been seven years since recreation co-ordinator Roslyn Firth joined the community, and in that time she has built up the hamlet’s sports programming for youth and adults, working closely with Echo Dene School.

This year, she was selected as the recipient for the Delma Kisoun Memorial – Community Contributor Award.

Fort Liard senior administrative officer Mark Misquitta said Firth has been doing a great job at the hamlet during the time she has been there.

“Liard definitely appreciates the work she has done,” he said.

During her time in the community, Firth has worked to develop opportunities in cross-country skiing, snowboarding, speedskating and soccer.

Firth started working for the hamlet in 2008 after moving to the NWT from B.C. with her husband.

An athletic person herself, Firth had run a fitness centre in B.C. and wanted to continue in the field of physical activity.

When the position of recreation co-ordinator opened in Fort Liard, she jumped at the chance.

Since then, Firth has breathed new life into the community’s soccer program, which now has about 30 participants from ages eight to 18, and started a snowboarding program from scratch.

In the few years since the snowboarding program began, Fort Liard has already had five youths qualify for the Arctic Winter Games.

This year, Firth hopes to qualify some of her soccer players.

“Our kids are getting to be really proficient players, so I’m crossing my fingers that this year some of them might qualify. Even if we have one or two, that would be so amazing,” she said.

It helps that Liard has a gym in which it can hold indoor soccer. Five nights per week, anyone of any age can show up to play.

As for snowboarding, Firth takes the children to Powder King Resort, outside of Prince George, B.C., every year so they have an opportunity to experience a larger hill.

The natural hill in Liard is great as well, and Firth said she brings in instructors from NWT Boardsports in Yellowknife to hold clinics each year.

“We have quite the hill here – no lift or anything, so the kids have to be very fit to climb it. The coaches come in and teach snowboarding, and then the kids take off on their own,” she said.

“Considering we have such a small population, it’s a really big deal that our snowboarding kids have qualified for the Arctic Winter Games in the past. We’re super proud of them for that.”

One of the greatest things about co-ordinating sports in the NWT is the amount of funding options available, Firth said.

Although her job entails coaching children, she is also responsible for the administrative legwork of getting money for her programs and writing reports.

“(The funding) is there if someone wants to take advantage of it. The support I’ve gotten from all the recreational organizations has been amazing,” she said.

“That’s why I was really honoured to get the award – but I get so much support from (the government), Sport North and NWT (Recreation and Parks Association) that it’s almost hard not to do a good job here. It may look like I’m doing something spectacular, but really I’m just doing my job.”

In the future, Firth wants to see the programs that are already in place grow. Taking on new activities, however, may not be in the cards.

“At the moment, I think we have pretty much all I can manage. We have all these sports going on and I can’t really see us adding another one for a while. Our snowboarding program is still relatively young, so we need to keep working on that one – I don’t want to divert my energy,” she said.

“We’re pretty much at maximum sports right now. But I think we cover all the seasons and there’s something for everyone.”