B.C. Lions player Jason Arakgi chooses volunteers during a presentation at Brechin Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon. Arakgi and teammate Adam Bighill spoke about power conservation as part of the Fortis B.C. Energy Champions program.

B.C. Lions player Jason Arakgi chooses volunteers during a presentation at Brechin Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon. Arakgi and teammate Adam Bighill spoke about power conservation as part of the Fortis B.C. Energy Champions program.

B.C. Lions teach kids to be ‘energy champions’

B.C. Lions players Adam Bighill and Jason Arakgi are in Nanaimo this week as part of the Fortis B.C. Energy Champions program.

The B.C. Lions are spending the off-season trying to help build champions off the field.

Two members of the Canadian Football League team, Adam Bighill and Jason Arakgi, are in Nanaimo today (Jan. 26) and tomorrow to visit elementary schools as part of the Fortis B.C. Energy Champions program.

“I think it’s a really good message and I think it’s something that everyone across the world should take to heart,” said Arakgi. “It’s something that we should always try to do, is make our world a better place.”

The first school the players visited Tuesday was Brechin Elementary School. Bighill, Lions linebacker and the CFL’s reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player, and Arakgi, Lions special teams captain, talked to the students about sources of energy, how power is used in homes and school, and ways to conserve.

“I think it’s a message that the whole world should be preaching, as far as being cautious with energy use and the saving of energy,” Bighill said. “We realize that fossil fuels are non-renewable resources, they’re only going to last so long, so we’re just trying to be as appreciative of that as we can.”

Students helped brainstorm ways to conserve power, such as putting on a sweater to stay warm, taking shorter showers and switching off lights and electronic devices. The message was reinforced with games that involved students racing to don extra layers of clothing.

The Lions players said young people these days seem to be more savvy about protecting resources and the environment.

“I think more and more people are starting to realize that we can’t just keep pushing it to the back and hope that it will take care of itself,” said Arakgi.

The Fortis B.C. Energy Champions program is in its sixth year and the players visit 75 schools a year and have discussed the topic with more than 20,000 students over the years.

Aside from the messaging, it’s been an opportunity for the Lions to connect with fans in many different regions of the province.

“There’s a lot of great football fans throughout B.C. and it’s great to get all around … and really find out where all the fans are and how much they appreciate us,” Bighill said.

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