For over 20 years, Portage has hosted around 100 residents from New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario for its annual summer Olympics in Saint-Malachie. This gathering is an opportunity for these youth to come together and share their stories and rehabilitation treatment experiences, all while getting exercise and working as a team. They compete in various team sports like volleyball, hockey, football, basketball, and soccer – among other activities.
This year, due to COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, Portage’s Olympiads went virtual for the first time. Residents got to experience the day at their respective centres and were able to see how the day unfolded for their neighbours through video conferencing facilitated by staff.
Many adaptations have been made throughout the organization to protect the health and safety of both residents and staff, and this yearly tradition was not going to be left out. These youth, all from different parts of the country, have experienced many hardships in their young lives, and the Olympics encourages them to cultivate meaningful friendships with teens that have been through the same.
Bringing so many youths together for sports and activities means so much more than fresh air and physical activity. It also represents what is possible and achievable. It encourages them to see that there are others who feel and experience the same difficult moments as they work toward freedom from addiction. For these reasons and so many others, finding a way to adapt to the current climate was a task necessary to make that happen this year. A true accomplishment, as seen through these photos.
For more information on Portage’s youth rehabilitation programs, please click on the following: