Ali Mohammed (left) and Ali Hassen play basketball at the Central Alberta Refugee Effort’s seventh Summer Sports Day on Ellenwood Drive Thursday. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate)

WATCH: New Canadians learn sports in Red Deer

The Central Alberta Refugee Effort hosted its seventh Summer Sports Day Thursday

Learning a new sport can help refugees more easily adapt to Canadian living.

The Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE) hosted its seventh annual Summer Sports Day at 120 Ellenwood Drive in Red Deer Thursday, where refugees could play basketball, football, slo-pitch, tennis, beach volleyball, disc golf and lawn games.

Avery Acheson, CARE intake and settlement manager, said the goal of the event is to teach immigrant and refugee youth about the sports you’ll see in fields and community centres in the city.

“It’s a great opportunity to play and learn these games,” he said. “If they go out to their neighbourhood field or neighbourhood parks they can go join in (a game) or join sports leagues and play games that are new to them.”

The event is the annual introduction to Canadian Summer Sports Day. More than 250 people participated in this year’s day.

Acheson said the event has quadrupled in size since the first Summer Sports Day.

“The first time we ran this it was just for youth … and we had about 30 participate, which was good. Since then we’ve expanded it to be a full sports day for families with a barbecue,” he said.

New Canadians have a lot of fun during the day, Acheson added.

“They get to see what the different skills are in different sports, learn the rules and figure out how it works.

“Learning the sport gives them an opportunity to go out and know they can have a good time joining a team,” he said.

Even if refugee and immigrant know the sports available, then they are encouraged to just enjoy the day, Acheson said.

“A lot of them are familiar with many sports, especially soccer. But for today we try to do things a little less well-known like beach volleyball and tennis,” he said.

CARE partnered with the City of Red Deer, Atco, Subway, and Tasty Bakery to host the event.

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