Creating culturally safe youth sport environments supporting Canadian newcomers' wellbeing


Higher levels of physical activity have been associated with physical, psychosocial, and cognitive indicators of wellbeing (e.g., Kettunen, 2015; Richards et al., 2015). Accordingly, sport programs are offered across Canada to ensure persons from all segments of society are involved in quality sport experiences that promote physical activity and wellbeing (Sport Canada, 2011). However, research has indicated that newcomers to Canada have lessened access to sport when compared to permanent residents and Canadian citizens, due to a multitude of interrelated factors (Aizlewood et al., 2005; Bryan et al., 2006). Thus, further research is needed to understand how access to culturally safe sport programs can be facilitated amongst newcomers to Canada. The purpose of the study was to qualitatively examine the lived experiences of the founder and active leader of a newcomers youth sport program deliberately designed to promote the physical activity and wellbeing of its participants. Two interviews were conducted with the program leader over a 2-month timespan, the transcripts of which were combined with program documents for analysis. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, 2016) was used as a preferred analytical approach to situate the program leader's lived experiences delivering the sport program. Findings provide an intricate picture of the complex contextual factors to be accounted for when running a newcomers youth sport program and ensuring its interconnectedness to other contexts (e.g., school) in youth's lives. Practical implications will be discussed during the presentation, focusing on the importance of intentionally facilitating culturally safe environments that support newcomers' adjustment to Canadian life.