August 8, 2019 marked the opening of the Portage Games at the Saint-Malachie Adolescent Rehabilitation Centre. Year after year, this friendly sport competition brings together teenagers and counsellors from all of Portage addiction rehabilitation centres.
This is a small event at Portage and each year, young residents from centres in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Regions come together to participate in this competition. This trip is an opportunity for teenagers to meet other young people who are experiencing the same life reality, share friendly moments and of course, win the Portage Games.
Sports are an essential part of therapy at Portage. Indeed, aside from benefits to the body and externalizing feelings, sport activities convey values above all. These values include sharing, community, support and perseverance to reach a goal. The goal for any young person who undergoes rehab at Portage is to get rid of one or more addictions that prevent them from developing, living healthy and productive lives, which every teenager should be able to aspire to. Portage Games are therefore an exceptional opportunity for these youngsters to apply the tools and skills learned at Portage in a festive setting.
Residents compete in volleyball, basketball and soccer tournaments. The winners are awarded medals and the team with the best sportsmanship also receives a trophy. The festivities are complemented with artistic performances such as dancing, comedy shows and musical performances. Portage has promoted creativity for years. Residents are able to explore and bring out the best of themselves through various activities such as creating book clubs, art workshops or occasional events such as art exhibitions.
Mrs. Cindy Chabot, Director of the Saint-Malachie Centre where the event was held, said: “I am extremely happy with the visit’s turn out. Pooling their various experiences is tremendously beneficial to young people because it allows them to realize that they are not the only ones living with addiction, and they feel less isolated in their efforts.”
Youngsters are not the only ones benefiting from this event; Portage counsellors accompanying their residents can take this opportunity to come together, share and most importantly, become aware of the organization’s magnitude and its positive impact on the communities in which it operates. Altogether, these Games are not only appreciated by everyone, they are a huge success year after year.