Children Of Elizabeth Stratton Are State Athletes

Brothers With Copper Valley Ties Competing In Northern Games  (Photo, Native Youth Olympics)  Children of Elizabeth Stratton Are Members Of ...

Brothers With Copper Valley Ties Competing In Northern Games 

(Photo, Native Youth Olympics) 

Children of Elizabeth Stratton Are Members Of Chickaloon Village Team 

JoJo (Joseph) Rodgers 

Brothers Are Native Youth Olympics Athletes 
Boys Are Also Competing In Arctic Winter Games 

By Kathy Stratton 

Elizabeth Stratton grew up in the Copper River Valley. She was the daughter of Bob and Kathy Stratton, who ran the Glennallen Quick Stop Truck Stop during her childhood. Kathy Stratton now works for the Copper Valley Chamber. The following story about Elizabeth's boys,  Daniel & Joseph Rodgers, is shared by their grandmother, Kathy. 

Daniel and Joseph Rodgers (sons of John and Elizabeth Rodgers) have been involved wiith Native Youth Olympics (NYO) for about 6 years. They had gone to Colony Days where the Chickaloon tribe was giving a demonstration. They were fascinated and watched a long time. 

The coach of the team came over to talk to them and invited them to practice with them, which they did. They practice 2-3 times/week in the winter at the Pathway School in Palmer.and are a part of the Chickaloon team. Except for 2 years of Covid, they have been on the competitive circuit in Alaska, being invited to more and more meets. They have done demonstrations in schools and villages and participated in making training videos for the Jr. Native Youth Olympics. Last summer, they (along with their mom and Coach Duc Ngo) ran a 3-day camp in Gulkana, along with an NYO meet in Glennallen. Gulkana Village, CRNA, and local individuals participated.

Some of the things that really impress us about NYO are the outstanding sportsmanship, encouragement, and camaraderie. They have made good friends. 

Daniel Rodgers 

Daniel was born prematurely and has had many challenges, including being totally deaf. NYO has changed the way they start some of the events, using arm signals instead of voice commands, so that he would not be at a disadvantage.

The Chickaloon. Invitational will be held at Teeland Middle School February 9-11. Most NYO meets are divided into Junior and Senior events and separated between males and females. Some meets also have open events for adults.

The Junior division is for grades 1-6. This is Joseph’s last year as a junior. He is 11. Senior division is from 7th to 12th grade. Daniel is in 8th grade and is 14. Most meets have 10 different events. In the picture of JoJo, you may see a lot of medals around his neck. He has a lot of natural ability. He entered 10 events and medaled in all of them—9 of them firsts, a couple new records. 

The Arctic Winter Games are for only those north of the 55th parallel. It is the largest and most high profile competition in the circumpolar north. There are 21 sports this year and include teams from several Canadian provinces, Greenland, the Sami region (Finland, Sweden, and Norway), and Alaska. AWG are held every 2 years—in a different place. They will be held in the Mat-Su this year from March 10-16.

The Arctic Winter Games Team Alaska has 240 athletes. Daniel and Joseph are both on the Arctic Sports team. It is divided into 2 age groups. The Junior NYO, ages 12-16, and the adult. Each of those is divided into male and female. Each group has 5 team members. (Joseph received special consideration because of his age.)They had to apply to be on the team, and a selection committee then chose the team members, based on a number of criteria, including skill, sportsmanship, leadership, and community.

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be held at the Menard Sports Center and require a ticket. Sun-3/10 and Sat 3/16.

All of Daniel and Joseph’s events will be held at Colony Middle School. Other events will be held at various venues throughout the Mat-Su Valley. The Arctic Sports will have 7 different events. Daniel and Joseph will be competing in all of them—triple jump, two-foot high kick, kneel jump, Alaskan high kick, arm pull, one-foot high kick and the sledge jump. The sledge jump is not one Alaskans normally do, so that should be interesting. All events are free. 
Other events the boys participate in in the regular NYO meets are the scissor broad jump, seal hop, Dene (Indian) stick pull, Inuit (Eskimo) stick pull, wrist carry, one-hand reach, and the toe kick.


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