2007 WISE Fund Recipients

Diamond Drillers Soccer Club – Yellowknife, NWT
Category: Organization
Sport: Soccer
Supported by: Canadian Soccer Association

The Diamond Drillers soccer club consists of girls aged 13 to 15 who are committed to developing their soccer skills. Although the club has been together for 4 years and practice 3+ times per week year-round, they are limited in their competitive opportunities due to geography and population size. The Diamond Drillers will use the WISE fund grant to travel to Edmonton in July where they will participate in a tournament, attend training sessions, and take in some of the U-20 World Cup FIFA matches.

Saskatoon Sports Council – Saskatoon, SASK
Category: Organization
Sport: Wrestling
Supported by: Canadian Amateur Wrestling Association

The Saskatoon Sports Council is developing a female-specific wrestling program targeted to urban aboriginal youth aged 12-15. The 8-week program will introduce basic wrestling skills in an attempt to generate interest in this sport. The WISE Fund grant will be used for equipment, transportation and facility rental. They also plan to hire qualified instructors to lead the program.


Chignecto Central Regional School Board – Truro, NS
Category: Organization
Sport: Multi
Supported by: Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD)

CCRSB is using its ‘Girls Healthy Living Week’ campaign to kick-start activities in local area schools. Schools that participate in this week-long event which includes seminars, free sports activities, fitness classes, and guest speakers, will be eligible to apply for nine grants of $100 that can be used to promote more girls-only initiatives at school. CCRSB will use the WISE Fund monies to underwrite the costs of this grant program which is intended to capitalize on the momentum achieved through their ‘Girls Healthy Living Week’.

360-degrees Initiative – Ottawa, ON
Category: Organization
Sport: Squash and Rowing
Supported by: Squash Canada

The 360-degrees initiative is a new school-based physical activity intervention program targeted to 12-year old girls that will be launched in September 2007. The program will endeavour to confront obesity issues through the introduction of squash and rowing. Using advanced technology, participants will keep detailed records of their physical activity levels, thoughts and impressions about participation in sport, and enjoyment levels related to rowing and squash. WISE Fund monies will be used to market the program to youth and recruit participants throughout Ottawa.

Baseball New Brunswick Women’s Committee – Saint John, NB
Category: Organization
Sport: Baseball
Supported by: Baseball Canada

Through the WISE Fund, Baseball New Brunswick plans to establish a women’s 17 years and up baseball program in their province with the objective to field a team for the 2007 National Women’s Championships in Quebec City. Currently there are no girls-only programs in New Brunswick. Baseball NB plans to identify potential players, train athletes at monthly training sessions through the spring and schedule games and tournaments leading up to the national championships in August. Team members will also conduct clinics for girls aged 7-17 all across the province in an effort to help promote the sport to girls and to develop potential players for 2008 and beyond.

Spin Sisters Mountain Bike Club – Calgary, AB
Category: Organization
Sport: Cycling
Supported by: Canadian Cycling Association

Spin Sisters, a non-profit mountain biking club, was established in 2004 to support and advance women in the sport of mountain biking. Over the last three years, the club has seen a dramatic increase in membership as more female riders seek out opportunities to improve their riding skills. The WISE Fund grant will help cover competition costs for the more advanced riders in the club who are anxious to race at the provincial level under the Spin Sisters banner. Monies will also be used for one-day race licenses for novice riders interested in trying a race.

Katherine Girgulis – Calgary, AB
Category: Athlete
Sport: Gymnastics & Diving
Age: 11
Supported by: Diving Canada

Katherine, a national-level athlete in both artistic gymnastics and diving, trains 26 hours per week and plans to compete in 8 gymnastics competitions and 5 diving events in 2007-08! She plans to use the WISE Fund monies to pay for training camps and competition fees. Katherine’s goal is to represent Canada at the Olympic level in both sports and hopes to learn from more experienced gymnasts and divers through her participation in additional training opportunities.

Samantha Hodgins – Antigonish, NS
Category: Athlete
Sport: Taekwondo
Age: 18
Supported by: Taekwondo Canada

Samantha has been involved in the sport of taekwondo for 12 years and has been a black belt since the age of 11. She is a provincial champion and has competed at the national and international level, but her road to excellence has not been an easy one. With the unexpected passing of her coach in 2002, Samantha was left without training support and without a club. She and her teammates quickly banded together and began training out of a dormitory gym at St. Francis Xavier University – teaching and learning from each other. A year later, a new club, Xavier Taekwondo Club, was formed and quickly rose to be the top taekwondo school in Nova Scotia. Samantha will use the WISE Fund monies to cover training and competition costs as she hopes to compete in Pan-Am trials, Canadian national championships and the US Open in 2007.

Nigist Sewnnet – Toronto, ON
Category: Athlete
Sport: Sailing
Age: 40
Supported by: Canadian Yachting Association

Nigist is a disabled athlete and has been sailing since 1999. Sailing has given her the ability to travel, the courage to learn new sports, and the ability to dream of endless possibilities for her future. Nigist has been representing Canada in international races, and dreams to one day represent Canada in the Paralympics. Nigist Wise funding will be used to help offset purchases of boats, boat maintenance, and travel expenses that are extensive. Nigist inspires women sailors disabled and able-bodied with her tenacity, enthusiasm and passion – a true ambassador of the sport of sailing. In Nigist’s words: Discovering the incredible freedom of sailing has given me something to be passionate about!

Nigist’s credentials include: 2nd place 2006 International Hobie 16 Trapseat Cup, San Diego, CA – Hobie 16; 21st place 2008 SETH IFDS Multihull World Championship, Caiscais, Portugal – Challenger, 1st Place 2008 ABYC Skippers Plan Regatta, Toronto, ON – Martin16, 1st Place 2007 Queen’s Quay Disabled Sailing Regatta, 10th Place 2007 Mid Winter Regatta, St. Petersburg, FL – 2.4mR.

Karen Williams – Winnipeg, MB
Category: Coach/Official/Sport Administrator
Sport: Swimming
Supported by: Swimming Natation Canada

Karen, a respite worker, was introduced to swimming with a disability (SWAD) while taking care of a client with cerebral palsy. As a result of her experience with rehabilitation, her interest in coaching SWAD grew and she began gathering information about the technical aspects of the sport. Through talking with other coaches and athletes and by enrolling in courses, Karen gradually learned more about coaching and became motivated to further her coaching career. She plans to use the WISE Fund grant for costs associated with becoming certified as a Level II coach as she will be traveling out of province to take this course.

Suzanne Paulins – Brantford, ON
Category: Coach/Official/Sport Administrator
Sport: Swimming
Age: 40
Supported by: Swimming Natation Canada

Suzanne has been an active volunteer with the Brantford Aquatic Club since her oldest child began swimming in 2000. She puts in over 400 volunteer hours per year and over the last seven years has become a Level 5 Master Official with Swim Ontario and Swimming Natation Canada. Suzanne is currently working towards becoming an international official with FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sport, which requires extensive travel to gain more experience in officiating. Suzanne will use the WISE Fund monies to assist with her travel costs and hopes to be appointed to the FINA officials list in 2011.

Sonja Leverkus – Fort Nelson, BC
Category: Coach/Official/Sport Administrator
Sport: Weightlifting
Age: 27
Supported by: Canadian Weightlifting Federation

Sonja, a former competitive rower and pre-elite rowing coach, plans to develop a weightlifting program for young girls in northern BC. She is currently coaching weightlifting at the Chalo School on the Fort Nelson First Nation Reserve and hopes to develop a community outreach program for other aboriginal communities in her region. The WISE Fund grant will be used for expenses related to promoting and implementing her weightlifting workshops.