Attending the Nike N7 conference has given the tools and direction that I need to have a solid foundation for the basketball club here on my reservation. I am grateful for the support from my NYLA family to help my community through this opportunity.
I attended the Nike N7 conference which was held at the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon in October 2011.
The Friday I arrived in Portland was just a introduction to the Nike campus with tours of the various departments at Nike. We also had a welcome dinner with conference registration. I got to network and meet other Native Indigenous orgs. from Canada and the U.S. On saturday Nike had a welcome ceremony, and during the Ceremony N7 Sam McCracken gave a brief history as to how the N7 program was founded. Sam McCracken, a Nike employee brought an idea to Nike executives about doing a program with Native American communities. Sam McCracken adivised the Nike executives that diabetes, suicides and various health issues were common amongst tribal communities. The CEO of Nike also spoke and advised the importance of health amongst our Native Youth.
Nike N7 is a program that is dedicated to helping Native Youth through sports involvement and exercise to combat the health issues that stunt the health of Native people. Diabetes is now being seen in Native Youth as early as 4 yrs old and Native people are more at risk of Diabetes. The N7 program supports organizations that are doing work with the youth in Native Country.
I am in the beginning stages of starting my basketball club here on my reservation and found that the conference was very positive. The youth who will be participating in the basketball club will have to have good grades. Sports and Academics compliment each other and Academics are important. The baskteball club will be taking some of our high school members to trips to Arizona state Community Colleges and Universities to meet with the Native American counselors. We are stressing to our youth the importance that ones Ninth grade schoolyear is vital when applying for University.
During the three day conference, there were two tracks focusing on Sports and Business. The Business track was about finding grants and resources, writing grants, how to manage a team, and how to start a sports program and consisted of orgs that Nike N7 has funded. There were tribes who were working with starting sports programs and also soccer leagues. The grant writing 101 was a vital session to attend. The grant writing session made it concrete that strong words should be used when writing a grant – words such as social impact, health impact. and cultural impact.
There was also panel of representatives from various orgs that have gotten past the start up stage. The Sports track consisted of ‘Coaching: How to Lead’, ‘Nike Sparq Training’ and ‘Problems Native Athletes Face Today’ which is the overall negativity of the resevation environment.
The Nike N7 conference also stated… ‘A closed mouth doesn’t get fed’ which means that we must network during the break sessions. I made some contacts of people who can help me get funding for the program I am starting.
There was also a panel of the Nike N7 athletes, Native Indigenous Athletes who are competing at the professional level. I was very happy to leave the conference with positive energy and also knowing that a company like Nike is interested in helping our people. On Sunday there were some sessions about maintaning your sports program. The Nike N7 conference is a must attend conference for our members who are working towards health and sports programs in our tribal communities.
I am satisfied with the conference layout of Sports and Business sessions and also the respect that Nike has for our people. I will use the tools that I have learned and feel I have better direction as to what to do now here on my tribal reservation.
Peace and be strong stay strong