2008 WISE Fund Recipients

Kitchener-Waterloo Synchronized Swim Club – Kitchener, Ontario
Category: Organization
Sport: Synchronized Swimming
Supported by: Synchro Canada

The K-W Synchro Club offers both recreational and competitive opportunities to its members, but has noticed that recreational swimmers (and their parents) are often reluctant to move into competitive synchro because of the added costs and the additional time commitment. K-W Synchro hopes to remove one of these barriers by subsidizing competitive costs for 6 recreational swimmers from their club. They will use the WISE Fund grant to offer six scholarships of $150 each to rec swimmers who demonstrate the potential to become members of the competitive team.

Fast and Female – Canmore, Alberta
Category: Organization
Sport: Cross Country Skiing
Supported by: Cross Country Canada

The first-ever Fast and Female Ski Day for Girls was introduced in 2005 in the Canmore/Banff area following the success of Chandra Crawford and other members of the women’s national cross-country ski team. The inaugural event attracted more skiers than it could handle and consisted of skills and technique work as well as inspirational talks from national team athletes. Since then, Fast and Female has spread across the country! The WISE Fund grant will be used for travel expenses related to the 2008 event taking place in Callaghan Valley, British Columbia, competition site for the 2010 Nordic Olympic events. For more information about Fast and Female, visit www.fastandfemale.com.

GTA Diving – Toronto, Ontario
Category: Organization
Sport: Diving
Supported by: Diving Canada

GTA Diving is a unique diving club because it sparked a landmark shift in the diving community by inspiring everyday women to get involved in the sport of diving, dissolving the perception that diving is a sport only for elite athletes. The club offers adult competitive diving, trampoline and acrobat skills, instant video replay, world-class coaching and discounts for seniors and post-secondary students. GTA Diving will use the WISE Fund monies towards the launch of an awareness campaign targeting women who are 40 years+ to become involved in competitive diving. For more information about GTA Diving and its programs, visit www.gtadiving.com .

Lakeshore Sport Alliance – Eriksdale, Manitoba
Category: Organization
Sport: Multi
Supported by: Athletics Canada

Lakeshore Sport Alliance in rural Manitoba uses sport for community development. Its goal is to increase opportunities for youth, specifically girls and aboriginals, because childhood obesity and inactivity levels are especially high in this area for these two groups. Because of the constraints of a small population, large geographical area and lower socio-economic status, the Alliance is getting creative with their sport programs. Creating teams of smaller size (i.e. 5 on 5 soccer played indoors), and offering ‘Girl Days’ where a variety of sports are offered are two ways that the Lakeshore Sport Alliance is thinking outside the box. By building sport programs to fit with their community demographics instead of trying to fit their demographic into the traditional sport development model, they are providing opportunities for more girls to get involved in sport.

Softball Ontario – North York, Ontario
Category: Organization
Sport: Softball
Supported by: Softball Canada

Softball Ontario’s ‘Girls Rule – Junior Development Umpire Clinic’ is designed to encourage more girls to stay involved in softball after their playing careers are over. ‘Girls Rule’ helps to develop female umpires aged 12-18 and is attracting more females to umpiring which has been traditionally dominated by boys and men. Through this program, Softball Ontario is building capacity for female officials and inspiring girls of all ages to take on leadership roles in the sport of softball. The WISE Fund grant will be used for promotion of the clinic, facility costs, instructors, etc.

Canadian Women’s Sledge Hockey Team – Elmira, Ontario
Category: Organization
Sport: Sledge Hockey
Supported by: Hockey Canada

In an attempt to promote equality for women’s sledge hockey at the Paralympics, a group of women’s sledge hockey players hope to demonstrate the value of elite women’s sledge hockey at the international level through participation in women’s sledge hockey exhibition games at the Men’s Sledge Hockey Worlds in Boston, Mass in April 2008. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has agreed to allow two matches between the US women’s team and a group of Canadian female sledge hockey players. These women have been self-funded to date and plan to use the WISE Fund grant to off-set some of their training and travel costs for this important event which could spark the development of women’s sledge hockey internationally.

Sidney Thebeau – Dieppe, New Brunswick
Category: Athlete
Sport: Rhythmic Gymnastics
Age: 12
Supported by: Gymnastics Canada

Not long ago, the sport of rhythmic gymnastics was in jeopardy in the Moncton area. Two clubs closed their doors and an accomplished Russian coach returned to Russia jobless. Athlete Sidney Thebeau and the rest of her teammates were left without a coach and without a club. For many young athletes, this would’ve been the catalyst to explore other sports, but Sidney was devoted to rhythmic gymnastics and worked with other former gymnasts to create a new club. She lost a full year of training, but quickly rallied back to become the Provincial and Atlantic Novice champion in 2007. This talented athlete will compete at the National Junior level this year and plans to use the WISE Fund for her training and competition fees in 2008.

Michelle Stilwell – Nanoose Bay, British Columbia
Category: Athlete
Sport: Athletics
Age: 33
Supported by: Athletics Canada

A gold medalist in wheelchair basketball at the 2000 Paralympic Games, Michelle (Mikey) Stilwell is no stranger to athletic success. However, shortly after the Games, medical complications related to her existing spinal cord injury forced her to quit basketball and consider other activities. She quickly found wheelchair racing and started racking up medals and accomplishments becoming World Champion in just two years! Mikey hopes to be a member of the national team competing in Beijing at the Summer Olympics in 2008 and plans to use the WISE Fund grant to help with equipment costs. She needs a customized race chair that will hopefully help her to break World Records in the 100m and 200m sprints.

Maria Halavrezos – Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Category: Athlete
Sport: Canoe
Age: 16
Supported by: CanoeKayak Canada

Maria trains 20 hours per week year-round, but like all other female canoeists, she can only take her sport so far. Unfortunately, she has never been given a chance to race at the Olympics because women’s canoe is not currently an Olympic sport (men’s canoe is part of the Olympic program). The International Canoe Federation is examining the addition of women’s events on the Olympic program and women’s canoeing is being considered. Maria wants to be considered for the team and hopes to get a head start by attending a variety of different training camps and competitions over the next year. The WISE Fund will help Maria cover some of her training and competition costs leading up to her goal of being a member of Canada’s first-ever Olympic-bound female canoe team.

Minna Mettitinen-Kekalainen – Sudbury, Ontario
Category: Athlete
Sport: Multi
Age: 41
Supported by: Rowing Canada

Minna is a paralyzed, single mother of two autistic children who was morbidly obese until 2005 when she discovered sport and physical activity and completely changed her own life. After shedding over 100 pounds, Minna started to train seriously in the hopes of becoming a competitive athlete. She got involved with adaptive rowing and wheelchair basketball and received an invitation to Rowing Canada’s Adaptive National Team selection camp. She also raced at Masters Nationals in sprint kayak. Over the last two years she has initiated organized sport activities for other people with disabilities in her community and is now focused on learning to play sledge hockey. Minna will use the WISE Fund grant to purchase a sledge.

Diane Guignard – Bathurst, New Brunswick
Category: Coach/Official/Sport Administrator
Sport: Swimming
Age: 42
Supported by: Swimming Natation Canada

Diane was heavily involved in swimming from the early 1980’s to 1999. During that time she attended many national and international games and coached 7 provincial record holders. In 1997, she became a mother to twin boys born premature with numerous medical issues and it became impossible for Diane to continue her involvement in the swimming community. Diane has recently made her way back onto the pool deck and has enrolled her two young sons in adapted swimming programs so that she can share the sport she loves with her children. As the head coach of her club again, Diane is hoping to get back on track with her coaching skills and will use the WISE grant towards her Level 4 and 5 coaching certification.

Laura Bond – Ottawa, Ontario
Category: Coach/Official/Sport Administrator
Sport: Basketball
Age: 23
Supported by: Canada Basketball

Laura, an elite women’s basketball coach, is the assistant coach for the Women’s U17 Centre for Performance basketball program run by Canada Basketball. She regularly travels from Ottawa to Toronto in order to fulfill her coaching duties. This is a volunteer position and travel and accommodations expenses are not covered. As a university student, Laura is struggling financially to make this work and dreams of becoming a career coach at the national level. The WISE Fund will help Laura off-set some of her basketball-related expenses as she works to attain her Level 3 coaching certification.