Fitness 2J2 honoured to be SABEX finalist
- Joel Pedersen | March 03, 2017
In mid January, I received a phone call that 2J2 had been selected as a finalist in the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce 2017 SABEX awards for community involvement. Grateful, thankful and speechless (which is unlike me as some of you may know)… the lady asked me if I was still there?
I laughed and thanked her; we spoke with for a few minutes as the news soaked in. I was able to find out the other finalists, as I wanted to congratulate them also. To the best of my knowledge, 2J2 was the only First Nations owned business that was a finalist in the 2017 SABEX, for at least this category.
Starting a small business is a challenge that not everyone is up for. You have to find what you are passionate about; believe in your service or product; know what you are strong in and what you need to improve on; pursue that goal, make it reality. There will be people who support your ideas, and others that will be dismissive. Having the ability to stay professional; to have balance is extremely important for a healthy and positive entrepreneur.
My time growing up was always influenced by sport and fitness; sometimes I enjoyed the practice and training as much as playing and competing (I still do to a certain degree).I had many great coaches, teachers, mentors, and some that didn’t make the Christmas card list.
It didn’t take me long to realize that coaching and leading was something that I enjoyed and was pretty good at. I taught my brothers and sister to skate; to play hockey and soccer. While I still played sports, I also started to volunteer with their teams.
Then into the military, training that really started to prepare me for real life experiences, and importance of physical and mental fitness and resiliency. Joining the Saskatoon Police Service brought me to a whole new level of preparedness and the sustainment of healthy lifestyle.
I enjoyed the high level of training and operational duties of policing and the military. What also occurred was the chance to work directly with community, outside the responding emergency service role. It was at this point that I saw how one person could make a difference in some people’s lives. When working with community built something that often is only found when sport occurs; an equal level where all are the same, regardless of race, gender or age. The sport of fitness.
Fitness 2J2 is a community based socially responsible health and wellness company. First Nation owned and operated we employ Aboriginal women and men. The programming is inclusive open to all levels of fitness and abilities.
When I first started out 2J2 it was part-time business, with the goal of building capacity to become a fulltime business. I saw a need for effective safe functional fitness programming for the Aboriginal community in Saskatoon. Fitness is expensive a drop in class was about $12-$20 and personal training is $60-$125. Not many people I knew had that type of expendable money, especially in the inner city of Saskatoon.
I knew how effective the community-based approach was, and was able to start off some programming initially with the city and then with Pleasant Hill Community Association. Soon after this I was contacted by the Southend School at Reindeer Lake, (a First Nation located north of La Ronge). The principal liked what she had heard and wanted to contract the program for her community. From that point on the majority of 2J2 programming has been in North with partnerships with Northern Sport Culture and Recreation a non-profit company, and with TransWest Air.
I have experienced some very hard personal and professional challenges. With the most daunting and painful, the loss of my sixteen-year-old son Max only a couple of years ago.
The actions I take each day through my personal convictions and belief in passing on the lessons and stories of resiliency is truly the best way I can honour Max and my family. With the intent of hopefully reaching at least some people even for a brief smile of satisfaction of their accomplishment. I know through fitness and living a holistic lifestyle that we can do infinitely more than we think we can.