In this section:

Sports & Recreation

Goals / Purpose of Program

The goal of the Aboriginal Youth  First Sports and Recreation Program is to develop and deliver a diverse range of sports and recreation activities that encourage Native youth in East Vancouver to be active, participate in skills training, make positive life choices, and develop their leadership skills. 

Our focus is on developing programming with youth and removing barriers to support the participation of all Native youth, particularly those who are not currently active.  We aim to strengthen resiliencies amongst youth, their families, and the community by increasing awareness and knowledge, and fostering youth skills and leadership development.

We work in collaboration with youth and a broad range of community partners to host a wide range of sports and recreation activities, and encourage youth to access a wide range of programs, in and near East Vancouver.

AYF Sun Run

Celebrating Many Years of Overwhelming Success!

A formal program evaluation was completed at the end of a three-year pilot program, and showed an overwhelming demand for sports and recreation activities for Native youth in East Vancouver.  All of the activities were well attended by youth and supported by our many partners.  In particular, we are very proud of our success in the following areas:

  • Balanced mix of drop-in, structured and competitive activities, as well as one-time, occasional, and ongoing activities
  • Certified skill-building activities that had 260 youth participate, with 200 certificates awarded.  Many youth used their newly acquired skills to become Peer Mentors for the program.
  • Partnership with 52 community organizations, groups and individuals
  • Creation of a program logo by a Native youth
  • 3,397 youth accessing the program
  • Introducing youth to new activities such as canoeing, capoeira, boxing, snowboarding, rock climbing, parent/tot swims, triathlon, Vancouver Sun Run, cultural activities, skills building camps, and weight training
  • Co-founding partner for the community based National Aboriginal Day Celebration at Trout Lake
  • Doing all this with only 2 - 2.5 staff


How Youth Can Become Involved

  • Native youth ages 11–24 years
  • Youth of all levels of skill and experience
  • Those who want to be active, have fun, and make positive changes in their lives while participating in new and familiar sports & rec activities
  • Those who are willing to follow basic guidelines to maintain a safe, positive, and healthy space for youth to participate
  • Those who want to learn with and from other Native youth

We also welcome the participation of Elders and volunteers who would like to share their knowledge and/or skills with Native youth.  Some activities may include parents/guardians and other family members. 

Our Current Programming

In our initial years of operation, our team worked very hard to introduce as many activities as possible to encourage youth participation and partnership development.  This work helped us to identify which programs to continue to focus on.  We continue to increase our efforts to help youth develop and utilize their leadership skills, gain certifications, and focus on health and nutrition.  We also strive to ensure that we are providing a good mix of programming in various areas to meet the needs of our diverse youth population.  We are seeking long-term, sustainable funding for the program.   In the meantime, we focus a lot of attention on identifying core programming for the coming year, budgets, staffing, and partnerships to ensure we are offering high quality and consistent programming to Native youth who have come to make AYF activities a regular part of their schedule.

Our discussions with community organizations include fostering partnerships that provide as much free space, coaching, and sports activities as possible. We maintain this approach so that we can provide as much programming to as many youth as possible within the funding limitations of this program.  The AYF team continues to focus on developing and maintaining diverse community partnerships to increase and enhance opportunities for Native youth to take part in sports and rec activities throughout East Vancouver.

Check out the current AYF calendar for information about the many different activities youth can take part in!  (Available at our main office.)


We gratefully accept donations of new sports and recreation equipment and gear for our youth participants.  Please contact us to enquire which items would be particularly useful for current programming.

Examples of items which would be helpful include:

  • New running shoes for our Walking / Running Club members
  • New winter jackets and gear suitable for cold weather, as well as equipment for our snowboarding program
  • Gift cards for sports equipment and clothing retailers
  • Bus tickets for youth participants

In the near future, we hope to post specific requests for individual youth who are on teams, in skills building camps, or training on their own in specific sports or recreational activities.

Depending on the size and value of the donation, UNYA may be able to provide a tax receipt for donations.

AYF Sports & Recreation Program Brochure (pdf) 

Program Funders

Currently, the Aboriginal Youth First Sports and Recreation Program receives funding from the BC Sport Participation Program (administered by ViaSport),  the Aboriginal Health Initiatives Program (VCHA) and the N7 Fund (Nike).  

We've also received very generous donations from Hockey Helps the Homeless, and Tony and Julie Elwood and the Vancouver Police Foundation.

AYF also relies heavily on in-kind contributions provided by UNYA and a wide range of community partners, as well as committed peer leaders and volunteers.

We continue to actively seek other sources of funding to support this dynamic, highly-successful program which provides such great opportunities for Native youth to be active, make healthy lifestyle choices, and develop/share their leadership skills.

How to contact us:

1618 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5L 1S6
Phone: (604) 254-7732
Fax: (604) 254-7811

Training the Leaders of Tomorrow

1618 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V5L 1S6 Call: (604) 254-7732 Email: