This past year was tuff on our youth to say the least. Due to our summer being interrupted last year, in collaboration with our PUMA family, we picked back up where we left off this summer with the INSPIRE program, focused on ball, fitness, wellness and culture. As per our previous year, our goal was to create experiences off the court that encouraged the youth to be more creative as well as take better care of themselves physically and mentally.
The youth were provided with a pair of Puma lifestyle sneakers, a pair of Puma Hoops sneakers, a bag, a water bottle, shorts, t-shirts, hoodies and a new bike to facilitate their travels.
To kick things off, the guys got a chance to work some of that quarantine rust off with hill runs as they got to bond with each other and set some summer goals.
SCREEN PRINTING WORKSHOP W/ THE LETTER BET PRESS:
The Letter Bet Press team, Kev and Louis gave our youth and volunteers a tutorial on the screen printing process. After learning about the different steps, the youth got a chance to print on their t-shirts.
Led by coach Steven Hazzard, the guys got a chance to work on their game daily. Repetition and putting reps in were the focus all summer.
The guys participated in a workshop held by OPUS BIKE where they got a crash course on how to maintain & clean their bikes. They were also gifted helmets and other cycling essentials curtesy of Opus.
Following the workshop, the team went on a ride led by foodie and bike enthusiast UPTOWN TRAV.
The first stop was Tran Cantine where everybody enjoyed their famous Banh Mi for the first time.
Once they were fuelled up, the ride continued to The Beta Bar inside Ssense Montreal. The boys got to try their unique drink of choice at the Adaptogenic Beverage Bar.
Finally, after spending hours in the sun, we concluded the afternoon at Velish Village for organic cold press juices to replenish the body.
YOGA & MEDITATION:
Knowing the tole quarantine has taken on us all emotionally, we thought it was important to integrate yoga and meditation to the program. After introducing himself and the practice to the youth, Brandon Dawson Jarvis led the way all summer guiding session after session which everybody looked forward to.
Also, a special thank you to Brandon for gifting the boys with their personal Grove Campus mats.
The boys had the pleasure of being a part of the Black Montreal Experience tour, a walk through Montreal neighbourhoods learning about the history of the local Afro community guided by Rito Joseph.
Rito shared his knowledge with the youth, teaching them about a lot of important untaught history.
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS:
The boys got an intro class to Muay Thai by Sean St. Louis at Angry Monkey MMA Gym challenging them mentally and physically.
THE COOK OFF:
The guys were separated into 2 teams, given a budget to do groceries and had to a little cook-off.
Although it was a competition, it was dope to see a bunch of young men be open to trying something new, doing their research, figuring things out as they went and having fun in the process.
For more content or information about the initiative, follow the program's Instagram: @inspireandball
All photos + videos by Paulo Vivanco.