CAAWS is delighted to present the list of 10 organizations and individuals selected to receive a Women in Sport Encouragement (WISE) Fund grant for 2018. Each of the recipients is offering or creating opportunities and programming for girls and women in sport, and CAAWS is proud to support their efforts.

The 2018 WISE Fund recipients, supported by their respective National Sport Organizations, are as follows:
• Anna Walsh (NL)
• Debra Neufeld (BC)
• Edmonton North Soccer Zone (AB)
• Jackie Powell (SK)
• Judo Canada (QC)
• Julia Loparco (NB)
• Manitoba Softball (MB)
• Storm Selects Lacrosse Society (BC)
• Tennis NWT (NWT)
• Whitewater Ontario (ON)

Anna Walsh
Sport: Rowing
Supported by: Rowing Canada


Coach Anna Walsh is currently in the process of preparing the Newfoundland rowing team for the next Canada Summer Games in 2021. In addition to her leadership role as coxswain for Newfoundland at the 2017 Canada Games, she coaches for the Special Olympics Mount Pearl FUNdamentals program, summer soccer/bocce recreation programs, and the Mount Pearl Soccer Association. Anna’s goal is to complete the NCCP for competition development and Rowing Canada Performance Coach Pathway to become one of the only fully certified female rowing coaches in Newfoundland and Labrador. The WISE Fund will help to subsidize travel costs associated with attending the required out-of-province training courses and conferences to help Anna achieve her certification goals to not only benefit herself, but also the entire rowing community in Newfoundland.

Debra Neufeld
Sport: Rowing
Supported by: Rowing Canada


Debra Neufeld is the founder and head coach of the Lillooet Rowing Club in BC. She has an impressive resume as a competitive rower at the University of the Fraser Valley where she was an academic all Canadian, competed at the Canadian University Rowing Championships, and named Most Valuable Player in her final year. She was also twice selected as head rowing coach for the BC Summer Games. The WISE Fund will assist in sending Debra to Rowing Canada’s Performance level certification course. This course will help her to build a targeted program for her predominantly female club, within the framework of their development stage. Debra looks forward to opportunities to continue her coaching education, as well as further mentoring her athletes for potential selection onto provincial and national teams.

Edmonton North Zone Soccer Association
Sport: Soccer
Supported by: Canada Soccer


The Edmonton North Zone Soccer Association is dedicated to providing opportunities for more girls to participate in soccer, and to continue with sport as they grow. During their annual indoor tournament, they will host a “We Support Girls in Soccer” campaign celebrating girls in the sport and encouraging them to continue with an active lifestyle as they transition to post-secondary sport. Their goal is to showcase the opportunities available to their players beyond their club. This tournament unites female teams from across the province and will expose young athletes to opportunities including meeting post-secondary players in attempt to curb the drop out rate. The WISE Fund grant will be used to support advertising efforts targeting girls for their programing, as well as female coach training and development.

Jackie Powell
Sport: Para-Swimming
Supported by: Special Olympics Canada


Swift Current, Saskatchewan native Jackie Powell is the first female swim coach and first Special Olympic coach to enrol in the Advanced Coaching Diploma with the Canadian Sport Institute in Calgary. She has previously coached locally, provincially, and nationally by representing Canada at the Special Olympics World Games and as a master coach developer for Special Olympics Canada. The WISE Fund will allow Jackie to cover her remaining tuition and travel costs to complete her coaching program, which includes mentorship training, as well as to purchase training devices such as heart rate monitors for her swimmers. These devices will assist her in gathering research data as well as teaching her athletes about physical exertion and the effect it has on their performance in sport and overall over their lifetime.

Judo Canada
Sport: Judo


Judo Canada looks to change the conversation regarding the amount of females in leadership roles in their sport by hosting the Women’s Leadership Judo Summit in Montreal this summer – the first pan-Canadian event by Judo Canada targeting women exclusively. Congregating female leaders from every province and in every facet of the sport, including coaching, refereeing, and administration, the three-day conference will explore how to make development tools more accessible to train female leaders and raise female participation for the next generation of women judoka in their male dominated sport. The WISE Fund will be used to fund travel expenses and lodging for the weekend, as well as pay for the guest speakers and facilitators, to ensure every province is represented.

Julia Loparco
Sport: Athletics
Supported by: Athletics Canada


Julia Loparco currently coaches speed skating and para-athletics in Halifax, NS, and Saint John, NB. As a speed skater, she represented New Brunswick at the Canada Winter Games and was a silver medalist with the midget relay team in the 1500m at the National Short Track Championships in 2010. She transitioned to coaching and was named head coach of the Learn-to-Skate and Learn-to-Speedskate programs at the Saint John Amateur Speed Skating Club. Julia also developed a passion for athletics as she coached in her spare time while at university. She aspires to be named Athletics Legion Coach for the National Championships in 2018, as well as a Canada Games speed skating coach in 2019. The WISE Fund will help her to further her NCCP certifications on the path to realizing her goals.

Manitoba Softball
Sport: Softball
Supported by: Softball Canada


Manitoba Softball is dedicated to ensuring the development and retention of female athletes in softball by providing more opportunities for female training through their annual high performance development clinic. This event provides 40 female athletes with the opportunity to receive targeted mentorship through training with national level coaches and learning top-level techniques. They will also be able to utilize the various sport science options available at the Canada Games Sport for Life Centre. The WISE Fund will help to offset the costs of the clinic related to the facility, equipment and clinician expenses. This will help to ensure that the athletes receive the best possible training while keeping costs to a minimum.

Storm Selects Lacrosse Society
Sport: Lacrosse
Supported by: Canadian Lacrosse Association


The Storm Selects Lacrosse Society is committed to utilizing the Aboriginal Long Term Athlete Development Model to ensure growth in the sport is developed for and with Indigenous culture, language, history and worldview. This commitment has allowed athletes to compete in national competitions, which has helped to develop self-esteem and confidence while also creating role models for younger female Indigenous athletes. The Storm Selects Lacrosse Society will use the WISE Fund grant to support a one-day clinic that would allow the athletes to come together to share the value of lacrosse and encourage female participation. The funds will also be utilized to promote the BC Indigenous female box lacrosse team and participation in the Nations Cup Tournament in May 2018.

Tennis NWT
Sport: Tennis
Supported by: Tennis Canada


Tennis Northwest Territories has set an objective to advance tennis development and increase and retain female participation and excellence at all levels of their sport. Their programming, through the use of certified coaches to support skill development, will deliver a series of tennis training sessions focusing on stages 1 to 4 of the Long Term Athlete Development Model with the goal of improving physical literacy in girls. Tennis NWT will use the WISE fund to offset training and facility costs, and create honorariums for facilitators. The fund will also subsidize promotional materials to build awareness to help Aboriginal girls try out the sport and easily integrate with other female athletes to inspire future participation.

Whitewater Ontario
Sport: Whitewater slalom paddling
Supported by: Canoe Kayak Canada


Whitewater Ontario noticed a gap between the participation rates of girls and boys in their sport. To address this issue, they launched their “Girl Power” program in 2017. The program targets girls aged 11-14 and provides a female-centric training experience from female coaching and tailored FUNdamentals, to access to appropriately sized equipment. The WISE Fund will help to improve this program by providing an opportunity for all Whitewater Ontario coaches to participate in CAAWS and NCCP workshops, as well as generate awareness of the program through promotional campaigns and events showcasing the “Girl Power” slalom races. Their goal is to build knowledge and skills among all coaches to think consciously about delivering the most appropriate and high-quality coaching to young females to achieve gender parity in all classes of their organization.