Breakthrough Award Winners 2005-2006

Six CAAWS Breakthrough Award Winners Named

April 30, 2007

Ottawa, ON, . . . The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) will present six Breakthrough Awards for accomplishments in the calendar years 2005 and 2006. Three individuals and three organizations will be honoured. These awards recognize exceptional achievements that break through traditional barriers and pave the way for girls and women to participate in sports and physical activity at every level.

Savoy Howe, Toronto, Ontario
Individual Provincial/Community Award – Recognizing an individual whose accomplishments have pushed the limits and enhanced the participation of girls and women in sport and physical activity.

In 1992, very few women participated in boxing, but Savoy Howe took up the sport and quickly moved from recreational boxer to competitor, coach and advocate for the sport. Fifteen years later, she operates a women’s boxing gym, where women can feel comfortable to learn a new sport and train at their own pace. Although Savoy has boxed in 14 amateur fights, she has also opened the doors to this non-traditional sport to more than 1000 women. She founded the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club in 1996, and it has developed its own niche in the Toronto sports scene. In addition to running boxing classes for women and training competitors, she has brought her unique philosophy and style of teaching to help marginalized women. She has created a series of workshops for team building development for involving at-risk youth and for community development. She also has run a program for women over 50 who have experienced violence and is currently developing a boxing/physical activity program geared specifically to women victims of violence.

Savoy’s love of sport and desire to do good things for people has led to her tireless devotion to creating equal opportunity for women, and to educate that strength and transformation take many forms.

Chandra Crawford, Canmore, Alberta
Individual National Award – Recognizing an individual whose accomplishments have pushed the limits and enhanced the participation of girls and women in sport and physical activity.

This gold medalist in cross-country skiing from the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, is not only a world-class athlete, but Chandra Crawford is an outstanding positive role model for girls and young women. For the past two years, she has been the driving force behind “Fast and Female,” a one-day program designed to encourage girls to become involved and to stay involved in sports. The day long program has expanded to include 80 girls ages 9 to 19. Chandra’s commitment to the project included finding sponsorship to bring 12 girls from across Canada to the day, and to bring fellow skiers from the provincial elite or National elite cross country ski teams to serve as mentors for the young participants. In addition to cross-country skiing, the day also exposes girls to other activities, such as dance and yoga.

Chandra’s personal competitive fire still burns deeply as an elite athlete, but her passion to see more girls take up the sport burns just as deeply. As she has said “I have two goals: to spread the love of being active and to dominate the world on the racing side.” Her passion has already inspired young girls to follow in her footsteps, and her dream is to grow this program into a national wellness campaign, promoting cross country skiing and active living.

School District 2 Health Action Committee (DHAC), Moncton, New Brunswick
Organization Provincial/Community Award – Honouring an organization that has provided funds or services to enable fuller participation by girls and women in sport and physical activity

A diverse group of professionals constitute the DHAC in Moncton. It includes educators from all levels, medical professionals, people from government departments, and community groups. Its mandate is to promote the development of healthy lifestyles, with the specific goals of promoting awareness of and the benefits of both healthy eating and physical education/activity. A sub-committee of the group planned a very successful “Go Girl! Physical Activity Festival” for the 650 Grade 8 girls in District 2. The primary objective of the Festival was to introduce girls to a diverse range of non-traditional physical activity opportunities available in the community. The goal was to encourage them to become regular participants, increase their activity levels and enhance their overall wellness. The committee established criteria for the presentations: female role models where possible; basic skill instruction with participation in modified or adapted versions of the activity; and follow-up or continuing involvement opportunities in the community.

After more than a year of planning, over 650 girls from 22 schools took part. Qualified instructors offered introductory sessions in such diverse activities as Fencing, Highland Dance, Hip Hop Dance, Lacrosse, Orienteering, Rugby, Tae Kwon Do, Ultimate Frisbee and many more. The day was a resounding success from all perspectives, participants, presenters, staff and parents. Many of the schools involved have continued with ‘gender split’ physical activities, presenters have reported increased enrolments in programs and the girls are taking more interest in their own activity levels.

Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) Cornwall, Ontario
National Organization Award – Honouring an organization that has provided funds or services to enable fuller participation by girls and women in sport and physical activity.

The national co-ordinating body for college sport in Canada, the CCAA provides leadership, programs and services that foster student-athlete development through high-level competitive opportunities. In 2005, the CCAA launched its Female Apprentice Coach Program. Its aim is to target potential coaches from the ranks of graduating student athletes, and to develop the new position of apprentice coach to create opportunities for women. The CCAA offers incentive grants to institutions that offer apprentice coach positions on their staff within the CCAA sports of soccer, volleyball, basketball and badminton. These grants can go towards professional development opportunities and costs associated with the apprentice coach responsibilities.

With 10 participants the first year, and 13 in 2006-2007, the success of the program is clear. Of original 10 Apprentice Coaches, seven have been hired as assistant coaches by their institutions. All program participants hope to continue with a career in coaching, and in turn inspire other graduating student athletes to eventually become coaches as well, creating a self-sustaining program and a vibrant source of future women coaches.

St. Thomas Times, St. Thomas, Ontario
Media Community/Provincial Award – Presented to a member of the media who has increased the profile and awareness of the achievements, abilities and potential of girls and women in sport and physical activity.

The St. Thomas Times is a daily newspaper that serves the largely rural agriculture-based county of Elgin in Southern Ontario with a population of over 80,000. For many years it has provided consistent, high quality coverage of a wide-range of female sport participation. Though a relatively small newspaper in terms of page numbers, it regularly includes colour photographs; strong headlines; and lead stories of girls’ high school sports, teams and tournaments as well as individual female athletes of all ages. Its coverage has ranged from a front sports page story about a local girl winning a bronze medal at a regional track meet to coverage of the St. Joseph’s high school girls’ hockey team. Whether covering the local high school girls’ curling team, wrestling team or a community hockey league, the sports writers report on the events with the same professional written caliber as any other sports activity.

The balanced, fair coverage of girls’ and women’s sports provided by the St. Thomas Times is unusual in today’s media environment. The coverage encourages and celebrates the participation of girls and women of all ages, and at all levels of activity in the community. It sets a strong example for other newspapers to follow.

Judy Kent, Picton, Ontario
Marion Lay ‘Herstorical’ Award – Recognizing an individual, group or organization whose long-term activities and achievements directly affected, improved, or positively influenced girls and women in sport and physical activity

Judy Kent has given leadership to a wide range of sport organizations. Her contributions as an author, speaker, trainer, facilitator and teacher have enhanced sport both nationally and internationally. Her passion for sport was seen early in her life as a dedicated swimmer, and this passion continued through to competitions as a Masters Swimmer until 1986. Her work since 1984 as Owner and President of Kent Consulting provides many examples of her love of sport, respect for others and commitment to fair and ethical sport. She has presented at many conferences on Conflict Resolution and is considered an expert in the area of Strategic Planning for sports organizations. She has written a wide range of publications, manuals and journals providing tools for leaders to manage sport organizations effectively. Her work with Commonwealth Games Canada, and the Commonwealth Games Federation has given her the opportunity to provide ground breaking organizational leadership in both Canada and more than 12 countries around the world.

She has been instrumental in sharing Canadian success stories, best practices and innovative ideas across Canada, to other countries and international sport federations. Equity in sport is a backbone to all of Judy’s presentations, writing and workshops. She has been at the forefront of developing tools for leaders to remove barriers for women in sport and to support equity in their organizations and cultures. Judy is a mentor and role model for other women in Canada, always available to lend her expertise on issues, and to provide advice and counsel for other women working in the field of sport and physical activity.