Métis youth uses sport to ease stress

Adapted from an article in the Sudbury Star: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2015/03/08/young-busy-frappier-uses-sport-to-ease-stress

Melanie-Rose Frappier - March 2015
Melanie-Rose Frappier.

Where to begin with the resume of Métis youth Melanie-Rose Frappier?

The 18-year-old Grade 12 student from École secondaire Sacre-Cœur has received several awards and honours over the years including most recently the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Youth Achievement this past February.

Last March, Melanie-Rose was honoured at the 2014 Gathering Our Voices Aboriginal Youth Conference. She was also chosen as a Top 30 Global Teen Leader with Three Dot Dash for her work in creating It’s Cool to be Healthy—a non-profit organization that educates students on the benefits of exercise and proper nutrition.

Melanie-Rose self-identifies as Métis and had the opportunity to learn more about Métis history at the Métis Nation of Ontario Infinite Reach March Break camp a few years ago. She has always enjoyed learning about the traditions of her Métis culture, so when her school asked her to be the student representative for the Aboriginal Advisory Education Committee, she accepted. Melanie-Rose played a key role in creating the first Aboriginal Studies course for the Conseil scolaire de district catholique du Nouvel-Ontario—the French public school board in Sudbury.

Despite all of her accomplishments, staying organized and knowing your priorities has always been key to Melanie-Rose.

“My priorities have always been school, having a very healthy lifestyle, volunteering and contributing to my community,” said Melanie-Rose.

Still, she insists that none of it would have been as easy or as fun without her love of sports—especially her love for squash.

Melanie-Rose has been playing squash for five years at the YMCA with coach Shayne Groves and was chosen to represent Sudbury and Northern Ontario twice at the Ontario Winter Games.

She was introduced to the game of squash by her younger cousin Luc who told her that he had found a sport that he could “finally” beat her at. She tried it and fell in love.

“He wasn’t out to get me. It’s just family competition,” she laughs. “Something about hitting that ball and being competitive, being able to manipulate the ball and forcing someone to run to it makes squash fun.”

But more than just a hobby, squash has helped Melanie-Rose maintain her stress levels, especially when completing her Grade 12 exams.

“Without the stress relief, I would have lower grades. Squash helps me concentrate.”

Although she is not competing this winter, Melanie-Rose spends four hours every Saturday coaching youngsters in the art of the small-court game. Volunteering has also always been very important to her.

“When I was old enough to teach squash or to do what I can to help another kid, I just continued on that path. Seeing them have fun or smile was like a pay cheque to me.”

Although she hasn’t been as competitive as in past winters, “that hasn’t stopped me. I’m still playing for myself and my health,” said Melanie Rose. “At the end of the day, if I win or lose, I tried my best and it was all me.”

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