To create opportunities for BIPOC youth to learn about and play the sport of Curling. The Black Rock Initiative (BRI) also provides Curling clubs with the support and tools necessary to be a welcoming and inclusive facility.
WHO ARE WE?
BRI is a not-for-profit organization based out of Nova Scotia that began in April 2021. Our founder, Andrew Paris, is a black curler of over 25 years who wants to change the face of Curling. A father and community activist, Andrew came up with a plan to address the gap of diversity and inclusion in the sport and the BRI was born.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
We have created three programs throughout Nova Scotia in partnership with a number of organizations who already work in historically marginalized communities. We have partnered with the Halifax Curling Club and a number of Boys and Girls Clubs to create the Black Youth Curling Program. We have partnered with the Mayflower Curling Club and Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia to create an Intro to Curling Program, specifically designed for youth and families who are new to Canada. Finally, we have partnered with the Truro Curling Club and the Millbrook Health Centre to create the Indigenous Youth Curling Program. In addition to these programs, we have created training for each of the curling clubs to educate and discuss the importance or equity, diversity, and inclusion within the sport.
During the most recent Curling season, we hosted 12 on-ice sessions and five off-ice sessions throughout the three programs and four “Try-It” events that took place during the season. We had 37 youth take part in the three programs and roughly 117 participants who were on the ice during the “Try-It” events or one of our off-ice sessions. Out of the 37 youth who participated in one of our programs, 12 of them registered to join the junior program at their local curling club! Despite the season being shortened due to Covid-19 health restrictions, we consider this to be a huge success. We look forward to building on that success next season.
In addition to running the three programs again, future plans include creating program documents to be licensed to other curling clubs containing our best practices, lessons learned, important things to consider when working with historically marginalized communities, and much more. We also look forward to developing our relationships with curling clubs and not-for-profit organizations across Canada to create more opportunities for BIPOC youth to feel included in the sport.
To make this project a reality, we have partnered with several organizations within the sporting world including, Goldline Curling, Sport Nova Scotia, Curling Canada, the Global Initiative for DEI in Curling and Rock Solid Productions. The number of community partnerships continues to grow to ensure our work is meaningful, successful and the impact to the sport of Curling is long lasting.