Local Journalism Initiative
by Rob Paul Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Many kids grow up with dreams of playing sports at the professional level and one day representing their country, but very few are ever able to come even close to achieving those dreams. A percentage of a percentage are able to reach that level of playing the sport they love. For Rocanville’s Jessica Campbell, she was able to make those dreams a reality in a time when there weren’t nearly as many opportunities for women in sports as there were for men. At 28, Campbell has accomplished a lot in a short time, going from star rural Saskatchewan hockey player to playing in the Frozen Four at Cornell to being part of Team Canada and bringing home multiple medals to playing professionally in the CWHL for the Calgary Inferno. In 2017, Campbell retired from the national team, the team she always dreamt of playing for, to begin her transition into coaching. She’s now the owner of JC Powerskating where she trains hockey players to improve their mechanics, efficiency, and skills as skaters—among the players she trains are Olympic gold medalist Natalie Spooner, Stanley Cup champion Joel Edmundson, and former first-round pick Tyson Jost. Having grown up in a rural area where at the time hockey wasn’t as accessible for women, Campbell credits her big dreams as the reason she pushed past some of the barriers to reach the pinnacle of the sport getting to represent Canada. “I think I was very fortunate,” she said. “In female hockey specifically, I had a very unique path and route coming out of Saskatchewan. Female hockey is a growing sport and there’s a reason for that with increased opportunities and places to play, but for me more than 10 years ago when I first began, it was a very different world for young girls looking up to female hockey players because there was only the Olympic team. I didn’t even have that realization of what could this look like—that was in my early pre-teens—and getting to play girls hockey for the first time and figuring out that I could make Team Canada and that was ultimately the dream. It began with me dreaming of playing in the NHL and as crazy as that sounds, I played boy’s hockey and that’s all I ever knew. “Knowing now that young girls have role models and athletes, not just one Hayley Wickenheiser, but so many names in the game to look up to in so many different ways, it carries a lot of meaning behind why we’re doing it and who we’re doing it for because one day there will be a time where hopefully there’s a paid professional league and we can know we did our part as pioneers in the game and pushing through the barriers and the set backs that we face with the gender inequality in the sporting world and female industry. I think for me it was always a privilege and never a right, it was always an honour to be able to represent Canada and Saskatchewan and to go to Cornell. “That’s maybe just a small-town mentality, we were grateful and constantly pushing to pursue goals that are maybe harder to pursue than when you’re coming up in a city and there’s more opportunities, coaches, and organizations to get involved with. “I know my parents had to drive me hours and hours week to week and weekends and to summer camps—they did a lot, more than I could ever imagine, and that was what ultimately allowed me to take those steps,” she said. “I think for young girls now looking up to any female athlete, the sky is the limit. There’s no barriers stopping them from doing what they love, there’s opportunities and a space for everyone, and a level to challenge themselves to. “If I were a young girl now just lacing up my hockey skates I would want someone to tell me that you can go as far as you possibly want in this sport. Dream big and go for it because at the time, my naive self dreamt of playing in the NHL and nobody ever said you can’t do that—my parents never once said it’s crazy and that I wouldn’t be able to play with the boys at that level and I think because I had that dream and the vision of perusing it as far as I could go, I didn’t have any barriers and there were no limits. I’m constantly reminding myself when I’m working with young athletes—girls and boys—that we need to empower them to embrace whatever it is that they’re passionate about and love to do.” For young athletes, both men and women, Campbell’s biggest piece of advice is to set the highest of goals because whether they’re attained or not, the experiences gained in athletics will positively shape them for the rest of their lives. “Within sports, we need to continue to inspire them to reach and challenge themselves because there are so many important skills and values that come out of athletics,” she said. “There’s so much that has come out of hockey for me that transfers into my every day life that I can take into the work place, can use as a professional, and into relationships and friendships—it’s a trait that’s unique to experiencing and developing on teams. “For every young kid out there, that would be my biggest piece of advice as cliche as it sounds, dream as big as you possibly can and go for it and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t no matter where you’re from, what your gender is, or however big or small you are because I’m living proof of that. “Knowing the statistics of it—I think it’s 0.0003 per cent of girls in hockey that are registered in Canada will get the opportunity to play for Team Canada—and if someone told me that when I was 10, I still would have kept going because I believed in it and I loved it. I want all kids to know that even though right now there’s no professional league, that’s going to be the push and that push is for them and inspiring them to keep doing what they love because one day there will be a world where they can do what they love and get paid for it.” Now that her playing days are over and she’s beginning her journey as a coach, Campbell admits it was never something she thought about at first, but reflecting on how important hockey camps and coaching were for her as a young girl, it pushed her in this new direction. “Transitioning to coaching, I never actually dreamt of being a coach and I think when you’re in the middle of a playing career you don’t think about it,” she said. “You do think about what you’re going to do after hockey because you can’t play until you’re 70 years old, but for me, I never thought that I wanted to be a coach. What I knew as I was playing and running hockey camps—I actually started running my camp in Ochapowace about five years ago when I was still playing—I was running that camp because for me being a female pioneer to carry the representation of the prairies, I had Colleen Sostorics and those players that were the pioneers when I was a young girl, hosting hockey camps in Whitewood. “I remember going to those camps and those were the camps that fuelled my passion, my drive, and the motivation behind it—had the Colleen Sostorics and the Brandy Wests not hosted those camps, who knows if I would have ever been that driven, motivated, and inspired to pursue my goals. “When I was playing, I had an opportunity to give back and I thought if I had a camp in small-town Saskatchewan where maybe the camps aren’t as prevalent then so many kids from all these small towns could come together and get to experience what I once got to experience and if that changes a life or inspires a dream then it’s all worth it. I started running these camps and after my first year I sort of stepped back and realized how passionate I am about teaching power skating and how skating was one of my strongest skills as a player and a skill that set me apart from my peers. “That inspired me to think that one day I’d want to teach power skating—to what capacity I didn’t know, but I knew it was definitely something that made me tick and I was good at it and loved it,” she said. “Transitioning from playing to coaching was easy because I was still around the game on a daily basis and I was now being able to work in the development role for players who were in my shoes on that same path with that same trajectory where they have a goal of making the national team and pursuing college scholarships. I think it was difficult stepping away from not being in it myself, but because I was working and inspiring and focused on my players betterment, it opened my eyes to a whole other world of coaching and the impact that coaches have.” Having the chance to take what she learned as a player and what she saw from coaches to help develop her own coaching style has helped her quickly take off with her business and has allowed her to blend her love of the game with the opportunity she has to be a role model and inspiration to athletes. “Having so many great coaches and not so great coaches throughout my career also helps to shape your own beliefs and values in coaching. Taking that step and only being a few years out of playing, I’ve seen huge steps in my own journey as a coach because, again, I didn’t know I wanted to do this but now that I’m in it I’m just constantly pushing the envelope of how far can I take this. Just this past year I was really fortunate to step into coaching the mens game as a female in a male dominated industry—there’s not a ton of females, there’s more growing every day, but we’ve got to keep pushing and challenging as female leaders in these roles. “For me with skating and skill development it was never about me being a female, it was always about hockey and I need to work with athletes and that brought me full-circle with how it all started—it was always just a game and it wasn’t about girls or boys hockey, it was just about hockey. “I’ve been very fortunate to be able to take the steps to start my own business and started working with 15-plus NHL clients and worked over in Sweden with a men’s pro team, all of that has just created this momentum for building my business and clientele and continuing to establish myself as a female leader for youth for them to know they can breakdown any barriers. If you’re passionate about what you do and good at what you do then you can breakdown any barriers that are set in front of you.” It wasn’t easy for Campbell to step away from the game, but coaching has come naturally to her with her desire to learn and help others get better while showing them anything is possible if you put your heart and soul into it. “I knew through the end of my career that power skating was something I loved to do so I just followed my heart on that path,” she said. “It was emotional moving on from the game but transitioning into coaching was seamless because of my passion for it. I realized there’s a place for this in this field, skating and skills coaches are sought after more than ever on the professional level both for the mens and women’s game. Hockey has come so far and if you look at the best players now in the NHL, there skills and skating—you look at a McDavid, a Matthews, and a McKinnon—they’re dominating everybody else because their individual skills and skating are so much higher than the others. “The role of having skills and skating coaches has been growing and so I’ve been very fortunate to be part of that movement and to be part of the momentum of that path. It hasn’t been about my career as a player, it’s been about my ability and my knowledge base as a coach and that’s the most exciting thing for me now. Even going on Battle of the Blades, the coach in me was trying to figure out why certain things feel the way they do on a figure skate vs. hockey skate—I’m constantly pushing my expertise to understand the difference between the two sports and also how there’s transferable concepts to overall skating. It’s a really exciting time and despite Covid, I’m excited about the future of my impact in the sport and all the players and professionals I get to work alongside and inspiring athletes to meet their highest potential.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
'We need this:' Getting COVID-19 vaccine to remote and urban Indigenous populations – Kamloops This Week
Chief Chris Moonias looked into a web camera as he prepared to get a COVID-19 vaccine just after precious doses arrived in his northern Ontario community.
“I’m coming to you live from Neskantaga First Nation community centre where our vaccines will be administered,” a jovial Moonias, wearing a blue disposable mask, said during a Facebook live video at the start of February.
Moonias was first to get the vaccine in the fly-in Oji-Cree First Nation on the shores of Attawapiskat Lake north of Thunder Bay.
The vaccine had arrived by plane earlier in the day after weeks of planning, and the chief’s video was part of a campaign to get community members on board.
Moonias said in an interview that he had done his own research, had spoken with medical professionals and wasn’t concerned about getting the shot.
About 88 per cent of eligible on-reserve members have since received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Second doses are to arrive Monday.
However, earlier this week, the reserve declared a state of emergency due to a COVID-19 outbreak, with some cases linked to the Thunder Bay District Jail.
Moonias said four off-reserve members in Thunder Bay, all under the age of 40 — including his nephew — have died. And he’s worried about the 200 other members who live off the reserve — almost the same number as those on the reserve — and when they’ll get inoculated.
“I even thought about flying my peopleup… to get the vaccine,” said Moonias, who added it’s unlikely to be an option because of cost.
Canada is in the midst of the largest vaccine rollout in its history. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Indigenous populations much harder and Ottawa says they are a priority for vaccinations.
The actual distribution remains complex and varied across the country.
Neskantaga is one of 31 fly-in First Nations included in Operation Remote Immunity, part of the first phase of Ontario’s vaccination rollout. The operation was developed with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Ornge, the province’s air ambulance service. The goal is to provide mass vaccinations by April 30 and it is having early successes.
There are challenges getting the vaccine to remote First Nations and questions about distribution for urban Indigenous populations.
The Assembly of First Nations says most Indigenous communities haven’t received sufficient supply to extend doses to their off-reserve members. The National Association of Friendship Centres says there is no national vaccination plan for urban Indigenous people.
There’s also concern there is no national plan to tackle decades of mistrust created by systemic racism and experimentation on Indigenous people.
There are many examples throughout Canadian history of scientists sponsored by the federal government or the government itself doing medical experiments on Indigenous people, including children, who were the subject of a tuberculosis vaccine trial in Saskatchewan that began in the 1930s.
Ontario New Democrat Sol Mamakwa, who represents the electoral district of Kiiwetinoong, said some constituents tell him they are scared to take the vaccine. They don’t trust it.
He has been travelling to communities to help promote it and received his first dose alongside members of Muskrat Dam Lake First Nation.
Community engagement has been key in vaccine uptake, Mamakwa said. Promotion begins weeks before vaccine teams arrive and includes radio campaigns, social media posts and live online question-and-answer sessions.
It’s about giving people information, he said.
“One of the only ways out of this pandemic is the vaccine,” said Wade Durham, Ornge’s chief operating officer, who added it’s key to have Indigenous people involved in vaccine planning.
Each First Nation in Operation Remote Immunity has a community member responsible for answering questions and setting up a vaccination site. Immunization teams are required to take cultural training and, when possible, include Indigenous medical professionals and language speakers.
Indigenous Services Canada said it is aware that a history of colonization and systemic racism has caused mistrust, so campaigns are being developed specifically for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.
Michelle Driedger, a Metis professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, said experience has shown that stakes are high when it comes to Indigenous communities.
During the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, the Public Health Agency of Canada prioritized vaccines by geography. A main lesson learned was to increase Indigenous representation at decision-making tables, she said.
At the time, Indigenous people were over-represented in hospitalizations and intensive care stays, as well as in deaths. Those living in remote and isolated communities experienced worse outcomes.
Driedger said the vaccine response is better now, but there is “rational skepticism.” There needs to be a transparent vaccination plan for Indigenous communities — no matter where they are, she said.
The Matawa First Nations tribal council said its four communities reachable by road are not getting the same vaccine access as its five fly-in ones, and more needs to be done.
Provincial officials have said that remote First Nations received priority for the vaccine rollout because of less access to on-site health care and increased health risks. Chief Rick Allen from Constance Lake First Nation has said the vaccine needs to go where the outbreaks are.
Back in Neskantaga, Moonias said he’ll do anything he can to protect anyone he can.
He continues to give updates about his vaccination. In another Facebook video posted soon after he received his shot, the chief gave a thumbs-up and said he had no pain or discomfort.
“We need this. We need to beat this virus.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021.
This story was produced through the Journalists for Human Rights Indigenous Reporters Program under the mentorship of The Canadian Press, with funding from the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch.
One-third of new virus cases in north of province – Winnipeg Free Press
As case counts, hospitalizations and test positivity rates continue to trend downwards across the province, northern Manitoba continues to take on the brunt of the province’s COVID-19 cases, with more than a third of new cases identified in the region.
The province reported 90 new cases of COVID-19 and four new deaths as of Saturday morning.
Of the new cases 37 were identified in the Northern health region, with an additional 34 in Winnipeg, eight cases each in the Interlake-Eastern and Southern Health regions, and three cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
The number of confirmed B.1.1.7 variant of concern cases in the province remains at five.
Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate continues to dip closer to three per cent — the number health officials indicated could lead to looser restrictions — reaching 3.7 percent provincially and 3.2 per cent in Winnipeg.
Public health officials said Thursday loosened restrictions will be considered in two phases as early as March 5, with the second phase to come Mar. 26.
Manitoba completed 1,861 tests Friday, bringing the total number of lab tests since last February to 523,507.
The total number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Manitoba is 31,809, with 1,208 cases listed as active and 29,708 individuals who have recovered from the virus.
The COVID-19 related deaths reported Saturday include two women in their 80s, and a man and woman in their 90s, all from the Winnipeg health region.
The total number of virus-related deaths in the province is now 893.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to improve, too. The province announced 69 people are currently in hospital with active cases of the virus, with an additional 120 people in hospital who are considered no longer infectious but still require care for a total 189 hospitalizations.
There are 11 people in intensive care units with active COVID-19 and 16 people who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care for a total of 27 ICU patients, the province said.
Indonesia approves free COVID-19 vaccine drive by private companies – Arab News
JAKARTA: The Indonesian government on Friday said it would allow private companies to run coronavirus vaccination programs for workers and families alongside a nationwide drive to expedite efforts in achieving herd immunity.
The country is aiming to inoculate 181.5 million people out of the total 270 million population by year-end.
“The companies will provide the vaccines for free for workers,” Siti Nadia Tarmizi, health ministry spokesperson for the vaccination program, said during a press conference.
Tarmizi added that the ministry’s revised regulation, which serves as the main reference for the vaccination program, was issued on Wednesday to include articles regulating the private sector’s involvement in the vaccination drive.
“The number of vaccines distributed in the private-run program will match the number that the companies requested, and the inoculations will be conducted at private healthcare facilities or the companies’ own facilities,” Tarmizi said.
Additionally, the vaccines used in the program will be different from the free CoronaVac, AstraZeneca, Novavax and Pfizer vaccines that the government has distributed since mid-January.
While initial population targets included health workers, senior citizens, frontline public workers, teachers and lecturers, athletes, journalists, and lawmakers, the general population or those in their productive age will receive their first vaccine jab in April.
The private scheme, which the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin) proposed, will require companies to purchase the vaccine from Bio Farma, a state-owned vaccine manufacturer appointed as the sole importer for all jabs that Indonesia procures.
Bio Farma spokesperson Bambang Heriyanto said the company is in discussions with Moderna and Sinopharm to procure vaccines for the private scheme, which has been dubbed “Gotong Royong,” an Indonesian term for mutual cooperation.
“In accordance with its name, this is a mutual cooperation initiative. The government will provide a space for any members of society that will want to assist the government in the vaccination program,” Arya Sinulingga, a spokesperson for the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry, said on Friday.
He added that the private drive will run in parallel with the government’s program and will not alter the existing schedule or priority groups being targeted.
Kadin said that about 7,000 companies had already registered for the vaccination drive as of Saturday.
“The enthusiasm is really high to take part in this program because it is quite costly for the companies to swab test regularly. It is better for the companies to allocate the cost to vaccinate their workers,” Shinta Kamdani Widjaja, Kadin deputy chairwoman, said at a press conference earlier this week.
She dismissed concerns that the program will commercialize vaccines, saying the government would closely monitor the program to avoid any violations of terms and conditions.
“There are also companies that are willing to vaccinate not only their workers, but also their families. It would be difficult for the economy to recover if we don’t achieve the herd immunity target. The business community is ready to support the government in the vaccination drive and economic recovery program,” Widjaja said.
However, opponents of the scheme said the private vaccination drive will “only enable queue jumpers who don’t really need the vaccine compared with the more vulnerable groups, and disregard the principle of equity for all citizens in a vaccination program.”
Dicky Budiman, an Indonesian epidemiologist, said in an online discussion: “There is also no guarantee that we will achieve herd immunity by inoculating 181.5 million people. This could be misleading the public and making them have the wrong expectation.
“This is also prone to make the government, the companies, and the public relax its compliance to the health protocols, testing, tracing and treatment,” Budiman added.
He said that achieving herd immunity is a long-term goal and that the vaccination drive could not stand alone in battling the pandemic without a comprehensive public health approach.
Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia, agreed and said that the private vaccination program focused mainly on economic recovery targets instead of controlling the pandemic.
“It is clear from the start that the government does not view the vaccine as one of the ways to handle the pandemic, but it has been more about economic recovery,” Riono said.
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