Introducing a new series featuring stories of everyday people living active lifestyles.
The Lethbridge Sport Council is proud to be launching: Your Quality Life (YQL). In YQL we hope that, with the help of the community, we can highlight positive sporting and active lifestyle experiences throughout the greater Lethbridge area. With YQL Stories, we will draw attention beyond just the competitive aspects of sport, but also the important role it plays in personal development, relationship building, and living an overall quality life.
For this edition of Your Quality Life we were lucky enough to have a chance to talk with Husky First Charger. Husky comes from the Blood reserve outside of Lethbridge. He is a skateboarding enthusiast and proud father.
Husky First Charger comes from the Blood reserve outside of Lethbridge. He is a skateboarding enthusiast and proud father. While Husky is incredibly humble when describing his skateboarding abilities, one thing that is impossible to downplay is the profound impact that skateboarding has had on his life. Husky has used skateboarding as a vehicle to drive positive change and awareness in his community.
As a child growing up in Southern Alberta, Husky always felt drawn to skateboarding whenever he saw other kids riding a board, but financial difficulties prevented his family from ever being able to buy him a board of his own. Luckily, at the age of 13 Husky would finally get the opportunity to try skateboarding when one of his friends got a skateboard for Christmas. The two friends took turns riding the board and as soon as Husky started he knew that he was going to really enjoy the sport. Husky credits skateboarding for keeping him out of trouble all through his youth. Looking back on it now Husky is aware that without skateboarding he may have headed down a very different and a much more dysfunctional path.
Following his graduation from high school, Husky found himself drifting away from skateboarding somewhat as adult life took center stage. It was also at this point that he became involved with drinking, something he had avoided doing during his teens. Husky was further removed from active living when his daughter Rae Marie was born. Being a parent became a priority.
In spite of still being in his early-mid twenties Husky felt like his body was breaking down and that he couldn’t move the way that he used to. While skateboarding had an undeniable positive effect on his well being as a youth Husky felt that it hadn’t necessarily provided him with baseline fitness.
At 26, Husky tried kickboxing and mountain biking at the invitation of two of his friends. In spite of initial reluctance Husky greatly enjoyed both activities and found that the more he biked and boxed the better his body began to feel as his fitness improved. Husky greatly credits his multi-sport experience with giving him the fitness he needed to get back into skateboarding properly. While Husky wishes he had gotten into the gym much sooner in his life he is thankful that it has enabled him to return to his first love of skateboarding.
While Husky was happy to be active and back in full swing skateboarding he had always felt a desire to do something more with the sport. Husky drew inspiration from Nations Skate Youth; an Indigenous skateboarding group he had encountered when he had lived in BC for a short period that used the sport to inspire and give to the youth. On top of that Husky would regularly get messages from people in the community asking him how much skateboarding lessons from him would cost. Husky never lost sight of the young child he was in his youth who was desperate to get involved in skateboarding but unable to because of his family’s financial position. From this Husky worked to found Nitokska (the Blackfoot word meaning “One”) a group through which he offers free skate lessons.
Husky would go on to take Nitokska one step further thanks in large part to inspiration from his daughter Rae Marie. During this past summer Rae Marie First Charger began to get informed regarding Canada’s history with missing and murdered Indigenous women. On top of that both of her grandparents (Husky’s parents) were residential school survivors. Both of these factors led Rae Marie to want to get involved in her community spreading awareness, from her drive to get involved Husky found inspiration and he credits her as the inspiration behind “Orange in the Streets”. Orange in the Streets was a public demonstration run through Nitokska that involved the group skating through town all dressed in Orange shirts to raise awareness about the ongoing struggles and injustices forced upon Canada’s Indigenous communities. The event was a massive success with huge turnout and very positive public reception. As a result Husky hopes to do more events in the future.
Husky First Charger has never gone pro as a skateboarder, nor has he charged a dollar for his lessons, and yet has managed to find a way to use the sport to touch the lives of an entire community. Husky is a teacher and a leader but is very open that he is still a learner as well; every event he works on and person he works with he is constantly searching for ways to improve and learn more. There is no better example of this than that of his daughter Rae Marie. While Husky may have served as inspiration and a teacher for Rae Marie to get involved with skateboarding, kickboxing, and biking, she in turn has inspired her father not only to head the Orange in the Streets event but to get more in touch with his cultural roots than he ever was in his youth.
Husky has used sports and fun to enrich his own life as well as the lives of those around him. As a result, he stands out as an exceptional and well-deserving entry to the YQL series.
If you have someone with a story whom you would like to nominate to be a part of our YQL series please send your nomination in to [email protected].