Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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New health and physical activity project moves residents

BY ESTHER YUEN

Renfrew-Collingwood community organizations and the University of B.C. Kinesiology Department partnered earlier this year to launch the Renfrew-Collingwood Interculturalism, Health and Physical Activity Initiative. The goal of this project is to promote interculturalism, defined as curiosity about people different from ourselves and a willingness to connect, through physical activity to increase social-connectedness, health and well-being in the community.

Residents of the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood are encouraged to participate in events associated with this initiative and are invited to share their learning experiences. This initiative is expected to continue indefinitely, but is also expected to launch and support other related projects and programs in the neighbourhood.

To support the project, diverse teams made up of Renfrew-Collingwood community leaders have been or are in the process of being established. The steering circle, responsible for giving direction to this initiative, consists of representatives from Collingwood Community Policing, Vancouver Coastal Health, Windermere Family of Schools, Collingwood Neighbourhood House, Renfrew Park Community Centre, UBC and Collingwood Business Improvement Association. The Intercultural Communicators Circle disseminates stories and information, and the Intercultural Connectors Circle, once formed, will reach out to groups that are identified as low-participatory groups.

UBC faculty, staff and students will be working alongside the three circles as well as Renfrew-Collingwood residents or groups who are or will be involved in intercultural physical activities. Led by Dr. Wendy Frisby, the UBC group will act as an academic resource to the community and assist the community in documenting the project. Their aim is to build capacity around the neighbourhood and, in the process, gain insight into real-life community development.

Between now and December 2013, all three circles and UBC representatives will work together to identify existing skills and to learn new skills, create a regularly updated map of intercultural physical activities in the community, promote and communicate about the initiative and document and review the project process.

Residents of the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood should contact Paula Carr at pcarr@cnh.bc.ca if they have questions or are able to contribute to the map or organize events and programs that promote community and intercultural physical activity. The Intercultural Communications Circle is also actively looking for motivational stories from community members that give insight into stories about community-based physical health initiatives.

Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Former BC Lions running back recalls his journey from the Deep South to north of the border

BY SOREN ELSAY

You may know him as the quiet, soft-spoken guy helping you behind the counter at Renfrew Park Community Centre, but John Henry White was once a punishing force as a running back for the BC Lions.

Before he played over 120 games and racked up over 8,000 yards in the Canadian Football League as #20 for the Lions, John Henry White very nearly remained in the United States. After starring for Louisiana Tech University, the diminutive White, who stands at 5’9”, had an outside chance of playing in the National Football League. Originally drafted in the eighth and final round of the 1978 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, White nearly made the Chiefs’ opening day roster.

“I was the final player released by the Chiefs that year,” explains White. “I could have easily stayed [in the NFL], but I would have been on the inactive roster and [the inactive roster] wasn’t nearly the same as it is today.”

Instead, White entertained the idea of migrating north. Although the BC Lions coach at the time, Vic Rapp, had been in contact with him during his college career, White knew very little about the CFL.

“I hadn’t really looked at the CFL much, I’m from the deep south of Louisiana, and I knew certain things about the CFL but not a lot,” recalls White. “The first team that [approached] me was Saskatchewan … I had never even heard of that name!”

After signing with BC, White was forced to adjust to the many differences between the Canadian and American version football, such as a wider field, one fewer down and the ability for multiple players to be in motion before the ball is snapped. Although he gained much of his knowledge through team classroom sessions and one-on-one talks with teammates, White still had to personally alter his game.

“[In college] you would look to go wide, get to the sideline and then go [upfield],” explains White, “but in the CFL, [the field] was so wide that you could just keep going east and west and end up going nowhere. That was a big transition.”

“The biggest thing was the motion, though. In college you could only have one guy in motion [before the snap] at once, up here you would sometimes have five guys moving at once; it was crazy.”

Once he had gotten a handle on the new game, White became a steady contributor for the Lions with 35 touchdowns over the course of 10 seasons in the league from 1978 to1987. Among his fondest memories of his time in the CFL are winning the 1985 Grey Cup and an 84-yard catch-and-run touchdown against Hamilton during the ’79 season.

Following the end of his football career, John Henry White chose to stay permanently in the city of Vancouver.

“It’s a beautiful city, but it’s actually the people that made me want to stay, ever since I first came here I’ve felt at home.”

John Henry White is currently a staff member at the Renfrew Park Community Centre and once coached the local junior football team, the Trojans.

Soren Elsay is a Langara student and an aspiring journalist.

Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News