On Tuesday, October 4th, Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club members were treated to a heartfelt presentation on a newly established and worthwhile non-profit society that now exists in the East Kootenays.  Lesley McCuaig, founder of Connected Through Sport Society (CTSS), along with board member, Brayden Morton, extolled the virtues of the new program.

Lesley says she was influenced by the organization called “Connected in Motion’” which is an organization committed to helping those people that have diabetes become involved in activities. Lesley decided to take this concept and apply it to people in recovery and those with mental health issues.
Lesley clearly outlines the organization’s mandate, which is to help individuals achieve sober goals while enjoying a fun and meaningful journey on their road to recovery. CTSS facilitates and encourages people with addictions to get involved in community based recreation and sport. “Studies have shown that physical activity greatly enhances the chances for a successful for those afflicted with an addiction(s),” says Lesley.
Brayden rendered a heartfelt story of a person he met through his own experience in a treatment facility. A short time after the person left treatment he decided to take his life. Incidents like this in the world of addiction are sad to say, not uncommon. CTSS is committed to helping people become more productive members of society by living a better lifestyle. For those who are in recovery and experiencing other mental issues, which often come along with recovery, a healthier lifestyle with their peers can be paramount in helping ease the strains of their journey and mitigate the chances of relapse.
Lesley elaborated by relating some of the hospital costs in Canada that pertain to addiction: alcohol, $145 million; opioids, $15 million and cocaine, $13 million. The costs filter down into the regional and local economies.  People that are more productive members of society tend to lessen the financial burden on all forms of government. Subsequently, there are less medical costs and other related costs brought about by virtue of lifestyle.
Regarding participation in sports, Brayden talked about his involvement in a slow pitch softball team this summer where everyone was in recovery. He emphasized the positive mark this left on many of the team members. This was an ideal opportunity for people in recovery to get involved in an activity that was beneficial to their program. In this case, participation in sports definitely has its attributes to furthering the goals of those in recovery.
The East Kootenay Region in British Columbia provides a unique environment for CTSS to implement its non non-profit organization. There are a significant number of people in recovery from addictions in the area, in part due to two treatment centres in the immediate vicinity: Top of the World Ranch in the Fort Steele area and locally situated Wing’s of Eagle Recovery Centre in Cranbrook. Many of the participants in the aforementioned facilities decide to remain in the East Kootenay after leaving treatment.
In order to kick-start its objectives, CTSS has rented the gym (at the Ktunaxa Administration Building – old Central School building) beginning October 12th on a weekly basis into December. CTSS will be holding yoga instruction starting at 6:30 p.m. and volleyball starts at 7:15. Sports will vary from week to week. All are welcome There is no charge for attending, as the yoga instructor is donating her time and the gym rental costs are covered by CTSS.
 Lesley and Brayden presented their hopes and goals to Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club, as they are seeking funding to help with start-up costs. Receiving funding for start-up costs is critical in order for CTSS to further and realize its goals in the community and East Kootenay region. An integral part of the CTSS message is to leave a mark in the community by celebrating, inspiring and connecting through sport.
“CTSS exemplifies a unique initiative in the addictions field, as it offers a new and fresh approach in helping adults recover from addiction(s) in a healthy and safe environment. This worthwhile initiative is the first of its kind in Canada. It is both an honour and a pleasure to have a community oriented institution, such as CTSS be a part of this special endeavour,” Lesley concludes.