Area youth learn tribal connections to lacrosse

3 weeks ago

HOULTON, Maine – On a sunny, spring morning Saturday, April 27, a group of 26 youths gathered at the Maliseet Athletic Field to spend a few hours honing their lacrosse skills with a former professional lacrosse player.

The free lacrosse clinic was open to ages 5-18 as part of an ongoing effort by the “4 The Future Foundation” to raise awareness and tribal connections to the sport of lacrosse.

Jerome “Hiana” Thompson, Jr., one of the founders of Thompson Brothers Lacrosse and the 4 The Future Foundation based in central New York, said his group’s purpose in holding the clinic was to help area youth, particularly those with Native connections, better understand the sport of lacrosse.

“We really just want to introduce the sport to the local youth,” he said. “Our mission is to spread the gift of putting (lacrosse) sticks in kids’ hands. 

The clinic featured all of the basic fundamentals of lacrosse, from scooping, passing and catching the ball, but also included a few advanced drills for those youngsters who were already familiar with the sport.

Thompson is a Haudenosaunee professional lacrosse player from the Hawk Clan of the Onondaga Confederacy of the Six Nations of the Grand River. He plays for the Albany Firewolves of the National Lacrosse League. Initially drafted by the Buffalo Bandits in 2011, he gained a roster spot for the 2015 NLL season. He is the brother of fellow NLL players Jeremy, Lyle and Miles. Outside of the NLL, Thompson has played for the St. Regis Braves, Iroquois Ironmen, Onondaga Redhawks and the Iroquois Nationals.

The 4 The Future Foundation, inspires youth by encouraging the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle while promoting the attributes of the student-athlete and a call for generational leadership. Its focus is on creating programs for Indigenous and underserved communities with the sport of lacrosse, which is also known as the “Creator’s Game” by Indigenous people. The camps help create community-based opportunities that provide a pathway for the next generation to achieve their dreams.

“I talk to the kids about the importance of forming a connection with your stick,” Thompson said. “If this is a sport you really want to get into, that connection will help you at the next level.”

Saturday’s lacrosse clinic was the second of a two-day trip to Maine. On Friday, April 26, the group held a clinic at Passamaquoddy Township.

Corey Hinton of the “4 The Future Foundation” said, “We were invited by the community to come, thanks to some grants and generous donations from the community, back in October, but a severe weather event happened.” Hinton explained. “Nature had other plans with us for a while, but we stuck with it and were persistent.”

Hinton is also a former lacrosse player, who is now an attorney with the law firm Drummond and Woodsum in Portland. 

“I played lacrosse my whole life and it made me who I am,” Hinton said. “It gave me so much in life, and even though I can’t play (competitively) any more, my passion is still there. So, I give back in other ways through this non-profit organization.”

Thompson Brothers Lacrosse engages in event speaking, lacrosse development projects and community building initiatives. Our mission is helping the next generation develop a strong work ethic and commitment to becoming a better student, athlete, and member of their community.

Thompson said his goal for the clinic was for the local youths to gain a better understanding of the sport, while also learning how to make an emotional connection to the game. 

“The main thing is to have fun,” he said. “It is hard to get into anything if you are not having fun.”