Métis student Zach Lomsnes is in his second year of the Exercise and Sport Studies Program in the College of Kinesiology. (Photo: Submitted)

USask kinesiology student a role model who inspires healthy living for Indigenous youth

Zach Lomsnes spent most of his life in the small Saskatchewan town of Big River, where he often volunteers at community events. He has also volunteered at different youth events in Lloydminster and Saskatoon.

Lomsnes enjoys spending time with younger generations and aspires to be a strong role model, especially to those living in Indigenous communities. He values the connections he makes and is inspired by the joyful enthusiasm children express as they learn about sports.

Lomsnes was recognized with an award in the community category at this year’s Indigenous Student Achievement Awards, which was held virtually on Feb. 4, 2021. The awards are held annually to honour University of Saskatchewan (USask) Indigenous students in recognition of their academic excellence, leadership, research, community engagement and resiliency.

The award ceremony was part of Indigenous Achievement Week (IAW), which celebrated the successes and contributions of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students, staff and faculty within the context of the year’s theme: nīkānihk itohtētān, walking together into the future. IAW also offered up a series of online events and workshops.

We asked Zach a few questions about his USask journey:

Why did you choose kinesiology and the Exercise and Sport Studies program?

I chose kinesiology because I want to become an advocate for healthy living and help others live healthy lives as well. I am working towards becoming a physiotherapist and this program is a great step in achieving my goal.

Why is community volunteering and mentoring youth important to you?

These are important to me because without volunteers and good mentors in my life, I would not be where I am today. Growing up in a small community, we rely on countless volunteers in order to run successful events, so I think the best way to thank these volunteers is to pay it forward and volunteer myself. It is important for me try and give back to my communities and become a good role model for the next generation because I think it is crucial that the youth see where hard work, dedication and commitment can get you as such role models are not always present in a young person’s life.

How have your studies developed your knowledge, skills and leadership?

My studies have not only allowed me to gain the knowledge on how to live a healthy life but become an advocate for healthy living. I now have the credibility to teach others about the benefits that physical activity and exercise can have on your health. My goal is to try and give others the knowledge and tools necessary to live a long healthy life so they can truly enjoy their time in this world.

Has someone in your life inspired you to get to where you are today?

Yes, there have been people who have inspired me to get where I am today. The first is my family for always being supportive, pushing me to be a better version of myself and teaching me about the importance of a strong work ethic. The second would be a teacher I had in high school; Miss D. Miss D kept me inspired in a way that others couldn’t. Without her I know I wouldn’t be where I am today, so I hope one day I can be that inspiration for somebody.

This year’s Indigenous Achievement Week theme is nīkānihk itohtētān, walking together into the future. What does this mean to you?

To me this quote means that we need to work together as equals in order to create a successful future for our youth today. The youth today are the people of tomorrow, so we need to continue working together and putting things like race aside in order to build a healthy society for all.

Tell us anything about yourself that you would like us to share.

One thing I would like to share is something that keeps me motivated as I progress through life. The only thing we can really control in life is ourselves and it is important to remember that. You can’t control what happens in your life, but you can control how hard you work, how dedicated you are, and how nice you are to people. Sometimes life throws a curveball at you and you can’t control the past, but you can control what kind of person you are going to be moving forward.

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