Embracing golf for a good cause

Create: 12/01/2015 - 19:23

Murray Waboose and Team Matawa took home first place honours with a 56 at the 2013 Nishnawbe Aski Nation Embrace Life Golf Tournament.
“We had a string of birdies, two eagles and we didn’t have any bogeys,” Waboose said, noting his team included golfers from Ginoogaming and Lac La Croix First Nations.
Waboose said the conditions were difficult due to fast greens during the Aug. 20 tournament at the Clearwater Golf Club near Thunder Bay.
“If you landed in the right places it was easy to get (a birdie),” Waboose said. “Everybody chipped in and everybody had good drives. It was good teamwork. We enjoyed our company too, and I think that is what made the playing a lot easier too.”
Waboose plans to attend next year’s tournament, noting the event was “a great cause.”
“It was a great venue, it was a great event, it was well organized and it’s certainly going to a good cause — promoting family health,” Waboose said.
The tournament raised about $12,218 for the annual Embrace Life Conference, scheduled for Feb. 18-19, 2014 with a number of parental and youth self-esteem workshops to promote healthy living.
“We come together, not to assess blame, but (to take) responsibility for how we can promote healthy living to address our family challenges, to address prescription drugs, gangs and suicide,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic.
“(It’s) a forum where we can share our ideas and our stories together, how we can empower ourselves.”
Kakegamic said First Nations people need to reclaim the values their ancestors had many centuries before contact.
“We just need to rediscover them, reclaim these values,” Kakegamic said.
Kakegamic welcomed the golf teams from a number of First Nation organizations and companies, including Tikinagan Child and Family Services, AON, Windigo First Nations Council, Matawa Education, TELECO, Nishnawbe Aski Police Service, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, NAN, Best Western, Wasaya Airways, Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School and Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services.
“We’re hoping to have birdies on every hole — because we’re so good,” said Windigo’s Frank McKay, joking with his team just before teeing off at the Forest 3rd hole. “We’re looking to win this tournament.”
McKay said the Embrace Life conference is an important cause to support.
“It supports the First Nations, individuals and families that are in crisis and require some support to face the challenges they have in life,” McKay said.
NAPS Sgt. Jackie George said it was a “perfect day” to play golf, with a clear blue sky and about 30 C temperatures.
“It’s the first Embrace Life Golf Tournament put on by NAN and members of NAPS are really happy to participate,” George said just before teeing off at the Forest 6th hole.
Helen Yesno, partner of NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno, enjoyed the opportunity to play golf and possibly hit “a hole in one.”
“We’re hoping to take first place,” Yesno said, joking with her team just before teeing off at the Forest 8th hole. “It’s important to hold this (tournament) to raise funds for the Embrace Life conference.”
An Embrace Life Walk-a-thon was also held on June 22 from Boulevard Lake to Mount McKay to raise funds for the upcoming Embrace Life Conference. A gala dinner is planned for Nov. 14 at the Norwester with Tony Campolo as guest speaker and a car wash fundraiser and a spaghetti dinner are also in the works.

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