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Storm, An Indigenous-Focused Basketball Club Shapes Tomorrow’s Leaders

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Culley Kipling aims to provide young Indigenous boys with leadership skills through basketball to help them become strong and resilient men.

Culley Kipling started the Junior Storm Basketball Program as part of the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreational Council (MASRC), to connect with Indigenous youth throughout the city and from rural Manitoba. He aims to provide Indigenous youth with the opportunity to play basketball year-round without financial costs as a stressor. Kipling emphasizes that he understands the impact of the environment that many Indigenous youth experience, so he hopes his program will allow boys to play basketball without having financial barriers deterring them from pursuing their passion in the sport.

“My goal for the Storm boys is to provide them with leadership through an Indigenous perspective as every single one of the boys [I teach] are bright and talented. I dream they can become strong and resilient men, which will help guide them on their educational, personal and career journeys,” Kipling says.

While Kipling tried to start the basketball program for young Indigenous male youth in 2019, he admits he was not equipped with the best understanding of operating a not-for-profit sports program. To add to this, the pandemic began shortly after Kipling’s attempt to start Storm, and consequently, the province-wide lockdowns halted the program’s launch. Three years later in February 2022, Storm, an Indigenous-based-inclusive basketball boys club was officially launched as part of MASRC. Now, Kipling acknowledges that he comes better equipped to take the lead responsibility of Storm with the three years of knowledge he has acquired since enrolling as part of the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. Kipling is also a member of the Indigenous Business Education Partners (IBEP) at the Asper School of Business, which he says contributed much to his networking skills.

Kipling attributes his success to his grandparent’s teaching and upbringing, a time he recalls with fondness. Though also recognizes the hardships his family experienced, to which he says helped mould him into the person he is today.

“Anything and everything that I have is because of the understanding of the world I gained growing up. At the end of the day, nobody will do the work for you, and you must learn to be committed and reach for your success. You must seek to be humble and keep your perspective open for what the universe has planned for you,” shares Kipling as parting advice.

Culley Kipling is in his fourth year in the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba, majoring in Human Resource Management. Kipling plans to officially graduate in Fall 2023. Post-graduate, he aspires to pursue a Master’s degree.

Kipling’s paternal and maternal grandparents were residential school survivors who were forced to assimilate, resulting in losing their culture and identity. Though, Kipling identifies as an Anishinaabe man and is fluent in his Indigenous language, Ojibwe – which he taught himself five years ago. His Spirit name is Flys High Black Thunderbird Man, and he belongs to Peguis First Nation.

Culley Kipling is a father of two children; a daughter, Clara, who is four years old and a son, Caleb, who is one year old.

Kipling started his Basketball journey in grade 9. Playing two years of basketball at St. Laurent and then transferred to the University of Winnipeg Collegiate “AAA” basketball for grades 11 and 12. He has also played basketball with the Anishinaabe Pride for seven years, including playing as part of the Winnipeg Minor Basketball Association, Peg City Youth Basketball League and Peg City Seniors League. In 2011, Kipling was awarded the Alberta Indigenous Games 16u gold medal winner, then in 2014, he won the North American Indigenous Games 19u bronze medal.