For the past eight years the Nor’Westers, with the support of the Edmonton Rugby Union, provided rugby introduction sessions to elementary, junior and senior high schools through the ERU Youth Development Program. In 2014, they provided these sessions to over 2,200 students in 10 schools between March and June. They believe in order to grow the sport of rugby it is critical to provide opportunities for youth to be exposed to the sport at an early age. After completing their 5 year development plan last year, they identified a number one goal which was to grow their Youth Program. They have identified 10 elementary & junior high schools within their catchment area to focus their efforts. They also continue to provide coaching to high schools within and outer regions of the Edmonton area. Over the past few years they have enhanced the delivery of their youth program and are seeing the dividends in both numbers and quality. The Nor’Westers are proud to have one of the largest junior programs in Edmonton and one of the best programs in Alberta. They hope to continue their success and expand their numbers.
Their Plan includes:
- Concentrate efforts on 10 elementary and junior high schools in catchment area as well as expanding into Beaumont and Morinville. This will entail multiple visits to the same school in a given year. Further, to visit the same schools each year in order to establish relationships between Club Youth Development Officer and the students and schools.
- To provide the schools with some basic equipment (balls & flags) so that they can continue on with the program as part of their curriculum.
- To hold a tournament each spring and invite the schools that they visit to participate. This year they will be hosting a mini’s tournament at the NWAA club on July 25th and inviting all Edmonton regional teams as well out some from southern Alberta and further afield.