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active alumni in touch with you

summer 2009

Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation

building

Bright

Futures Alumnus Ron Onespot is making a profound difference in the lives of Aboriginal youths


“Our goal is to nurture excellence and provide students with an outstanding learning experience and superior education to face our suddenly-uncertain world.”

Message from the Dean What a year it has been! One of glorious celebration of the University’s Centenary year — and it’s not over yet: the University has extended its festivities to the end of the academic year. So you’ll see many opportunities to the end of April to enjoy a superb celebration of the Green and Gold that binds us all to this great institution. Homecoming last year was one of the highlights of this Centenary year, with many of you attending the festivities. It was truly gratifying to spend time with you at the Homecoming football game at Foote Field — braving the chilly winds to cheer our Golden Bears and enjoy each other’s company in our pub tent. Judging by the myriad of enthusiastic comments from alumni, this type of event will definitely be repeated when possible. We held our first ever recognition breakfast at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club for celebrants of their 25th and 50th graduation anniversaries and were delighted to see a very large turnout at this very happy gathering! 2008 saw the culmination of the University’s Campaign 2008 and I am very pleased to report that our Faculty’s development team has done an outstanding job of exceeding our goal of $22 million. In fact, we raised $28 million, thanks to a sterling effort by Development Director, Bob Kinasewich and his team – and to the generosity of our alumni who opened their wallets — and hearts — to this campaign in record numbers. I’m also delighted to tell you that our long-planned Physical Activity and Health Centre (PAHC) is closer to reality than ever. This has now been recognised as a priority facility for the University of Alberta and we have secured $4.5 million from the Government of Alberta toward its development. Plans for this development will soon be available and I hope to share those with you soon. You may know that the University and City of Edmonton have submitted a joint bid to host the Universiade Games in 2015. If Edmonton wins this will be a glorious opportunity for student-athletes throughout Canada. As co-chair of the bid committee, I am hopeful that this long-held dream will come to fruition. As always, our goal is to nurture excellence and provide students with an outstanding learning experience and superior education to face our suddenly-uncertain world. During these times of economic turmoil, it is more important than ever to arm our young graduates with a quiver of versatile skills that will stand them in good stead as they seek to advance their careers. So it is at times like these that I would ask you to think philanthropically of your Faculty and University. We are truly grateful for your gifts — however large or small. They enable us to continue to build our 100 year legacy of excellence in teaching, research, sport and recreation — and particularly in the support of students through scholarships.

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Active Alumni

Yours truly, Mike Mahon, Dean


HEAD COACh Wendy Jerome pioneered sport psychology in Canada.

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Table of contents

active alumni Active Alumni is published annually for the alumni and friends of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. Comments, questions, suggestions and story ideas are welcomed. Contact: Cindi Berg, manager, development and alumni affairs Cindi.berg@ualberta.ca; 780-492-8804

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Heavy Metal Rocks Women

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Building Bright Futures

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Elder Care Trailblazer

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Head Coach

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Opening doors Abroad

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Champion of Fit

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Homecoming 2009

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Educator Extraordinaire

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The Challenger

22 London Calling 24

Korean OdySsey

26 rocky mountain “I Do� 28

Have Degree Will Travel

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If you ask they will give

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Alumni Awards

Jane Hurly, communications strategist Jane.hurly@ualberta.ca; 780-492-6821 Publication Mail Agreement No. 40063741 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, W1-34 Van Vliet Centre, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H9

Principal Photography: Zoltan Kenwell

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message from Wanda Wetterberg,

President of the Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association Hello fellow-alumni and friends of the faculty, 2009 will be a great year for our Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association (PERAA) as we continue to grow and reach past graduates. We have a strategic plan in place for 2009-2011. The highlights include: • Annual alumni events in Edmonton, Calgary , on Vancouver Island and potentially Saskatoon in 2010 • A Healthy Lifestyles Lecture Series in partnership with the Faculty • The 25th Anniversary of the Practicum Program October 2 • Alumni Weekend Pub Night – 7:00 pm October 2 • Looking at a mentorship program to connect alumni and students • Continued fund raising for our PERAA Award • Implementing a governance structure and operating guidelines

In 2007, we raised $780 for the PERAA Award; in 2008, the University’s centennial year, we raised an outstanding $32,000. Thanks to everyone who responded to our $120 challenge! We will be holding our AGM right before Pub Night kicks off on October 2 at 6:00 pm. This will be a great prelude to Pub Night and an opportunity to hear what we are doing and to provide us with feedback. The AGM will also be our first “official” election for a Coordinating Council for the Association. If you would like to get involved we have openings on the Communications/Alumni Relations, Events, Finance/ Alumni Weekend and the Mentorship Committees. We have an outstanding group of volunteers helping to make things happen and invite you to reconnect and become involved. If you are interested in volunteering please call me at 780-436-3623 or by email at wnw@shaw.ca. Wanda Wetterberg (BA Rec Admin ‘74) President, PERAA

Stay in touch with us Did you know we send out a snappy electronic edition of Active Alumni (E-Active) each autumn? If you don’t receive it it’s likely because we don’t have your email address. Email is also a great, quick way for us to send you information and reminders about upcoming faculty and alumni events. 4

Active Alumni

We won’t misuse your information and we definitely won’t ever sell our mailing lists. That’s a promise. Please email Jocelyne.lambert@ualberta.ca if you’d like to stay in touch this way. It’s voluntary, of course!


“They did not have to be preoccupied with their appearance and would be accepted for who they really are.”

Heavy Metal Rocks Women by Jane Hurly

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hat do lovers of ocean cruising and aficionados of heavy metal music have in common? Quite a bit, according to fourth year recreation student, Gabby Riches, a soon-to-be-alumna who attended the 2008 World Leisure Congress in Quebec City in October to present her own paper on the presence of women in heavy metal scenes. It appears that in every type of leisure — from the banal to the extreme — common threads related to a sense of community, the existence of subcultures and quality of life related to the form of leisure chosen by its adherents are evident. “(At the conference) I attended a presentation on ocean cruising (as a form of leisure) and…the presenter examined notions of family, dedication and lifestyle; concepts that are equally valued and respected in the subculture of heavy metal,” says Riches. She was one of three recipients of a prestigious World Leisure Scholarship, which gave her the opportunity to present her own research paper, Places of Metal: Women, Leisure and Identities, looking at the perspectives of, and opportunities for, leisure for female heavy metal fans. A fan of heavy metal music since the age of 15, Riches found her interest bloomed after watching the landmark documentary Metal: a Headbanger’s Journey (2005) by anthropologist Sam Dunn. Riches was hooked — but she noticed a gaping omission. “The film did not comment or document women’s involvement in the music.” So she began scouring scholarly literature on the subject, under the guidance of leisure professor, Dr. Karen Fox. The results weren’t encouraging. “(I found) that heavy metal communities have not been represented in the leisure and recreation literature, nor has women’s involvement in the music been substantially noted,” says Riches.

It’s an omission soon to be rectified as Riches plans on framing her graduate studies around this little-explored subject. Riches’ research took her to Wacken, Germany where the Wacken Open Air Festival — the biggest gathering of heavy metal bands and fans in the world, drawing over 70,000 last year — and providing Riches a superabundance of willing interviewees and fans of the musical genre. She also talked to women at the Party San Open Air Festival, in Berlin and Edmonton. Overall Riches has interviewed 17 women in the 18 – 28 age range. Despite the mainstream stereotype of heavy metal as male-dominated, dark and even a little dangerous, Riches found that women she spoke to found heavy metal places such as the open air festivals she visited, empowering and personally liberating. “Many claimed that they enjoyed the fact that they did not have to be preoccupied with their appearance and they would be accepted for who they really are,” says Riches. Furthermore, she adds, the heavy metal scene also provides a space where women can be flexible and experimental with their identity and sexuality. Importantly, participants found a deep sense of belonging, and were able to foster meaningful relationships with like-minded women. Bonding among the women was so strong, noted Riches; some said they were comfortable attending concerts alone, knowing they would meet up with other women like themselves. Riches sums up: “Heavy metal fans resist mainstream culture by retreating into more private sub-cultural spaces and places. The heavy metal scene is perceived as an open, welcoming space by many participants; a space in which people gather to share musical tastes, values and common feelings of alienation which unite the subculture.” a Summer 2009

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building

Bright Futures Ron Onespot helps Aboriginal youths make wise decisions about their lives by Wanda Vivequin

“I want to show them that they don’t need to go through rough times like I did.”

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on Onespot’s life could have turned out a lot differently. Onespot (BARLS 2005) openly admits that during the 1990s he completely lost his way and throughout that period — while he was studying and living at Calgary’s Mount Royal College — made a lot of wrong choices. During this time there was also a huge question mark hanging over the issue of what exactly he was going to make of his life. He was a champion wrestler with no desire to return to the reserve and could never have predicted that one day he would be helping people just like himself make something of their lives back at home on the Tsuu T’ina Nation south of Calgary. Today this forthright, hard-working, non-drinking 34-year-old is a mentor and role model for youth. Part of his responsibility as a community youth worker is to spend two days a week at the junior high school on the reserve helping young people make wise decisions about their futures. “I want to show them that they don’t need to go through rough times like I did and to make something of their life without wasting so much time working things out the hard way,” says Onespot. Eighteen hundred residents live on the Tsuu T’ina Nation and there are many challenges facing Onespot in his job. Drugs and alcohol remain a major factor in the battle to create stable environments for young people so they can feel confident and comfortable about making the right decisions about their lives. His job includes drug and alcohol education, basic life skills teaching, organizing drug- and alcohol-free sport and leisure programs and counseling youth one-on-one when they get into trouble. His official position is the Community Youth Worker in the Community Support Program, which is housed at the Tsuu T’ina Nation Dr. Thomas Murray Health Centre. In spite of all the challenges, Onespot is undaunted. He speaks methodically and confidently about the steps that need to be taken by the individual and the community to affect change. He knows all this because he has been through it himself and believes in hope. “Many people on the reserve still lack family values and the kids are being raised with alcohol and drugs as a normal thing inside the home, so creating a stable environment at school goes a long way in balancing some of these negative impacts,” says Onespot. It is, according to Onespot, all about breaking down barriers and creating an environment in which people care for one another. A major step towards creating this came through a twoday Challenge Day organized at the school by Onespot at which more than 100 youths sat together in a room to tackle issues face-to-face. The result of initiatives like this means that after two years in the job Onespot has successfully begun to transform the reserve school from being a violent, unstable learning environment into more of a “regular school.”

“The kids seem a little calmer; they know that if they are suspended for drugs or alcohol they can come to me — someone they can trust — to talk through their problems,” he says. Onespot has also invited former gang recruiter Rob Papin to come and talk with students about the reality of gang life and the implications of making wrong choices. Onespot believes it is initiatives like this and the time he has taken to get to know students and their worries, problems and challenges that have earned him trust and confidence. “It’s about getting to know people and where they come from and understanding their concerns,” he says. So what turned Onespot around? He admits to being quite “lost” throughout the 1990s and although he worked for the Alberta Future Leader Program and was offered training and guidance to further the potential others saw in him, it was not until he came to Edmonton that things really began to change. Onespot believes the discipline and determination he gained from being a high school champion wrestler, and playing competitive rugby and football in Calgary, gave him strength to finally convince himself to make some hard decisions. “My physical challenges got me through high school and I learned through this discipline to never give up on myself and that I can be a great human being,” he says. With this resolve the wheels began to turn. “In 2000 I just decided to change. I quit drinking cold turkey and spent time with my elders and learned about my culture. It gave me a sense of identity, and everything really came together,” he says. “The support of my mother, Ida, and my extended family really helped me get through school.” “All of this came hand-in-hand with my own education although I was still a little lost when I first moved to Edmonton,” says Onespot. This former Alberta junior champion wrestler says winning the battle against himself was definitely one of his finest moments. “For me winning this battle against myself was like winning a gold medal again,” he says. All of these changes also led him to the doors of the University of Alberta’s Native Studies program in 2000. Two years later he was accepted in to the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation and stepped onto the path that would eventually bring him back home. “It’s amazing because I never wanted to work with addictions and never wanted to be stuck on the reserve, but now with all that I have learned from my studies and my elders, I really appreciate where I am from,” says Onespot who recently became a parent himself. “You could definitely say I have come a long way but I have got my identity back and it feels right to be giving back to my people,” he says. a

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photo by: Zoltan Kenwell

Elder Care

Trailblazer Renate Sainsbury gives seniors plenty of lifestyle options by Connie Bryson

“These are just pretty words unless you devote the space and resources to make this happen. That’s what we’ve done here.” 8

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t’s 10 am on a brutally cold January morning in Edmonton. The streets are deserted but there’s plenty of activity inside Lifestyle Options Terra Losa, a designated assisted living facility in west Edmonton. A few stragglers from breakfast are having animated conversations outside the dining room. In the front lobby, five women are discussing plans for the day — including a bus ride to West Edmonton Mall. Upstairs, an enthusiastic group of men and women are searching for the recreation therapist who will lead their exercise class. The fitness room, equipped with a variety of treadmills and bikes, is about to be invaded by a small group from the safe-living unit (for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s). The billiards room awaits the afternoon crush. The number and variety of recreation opportunities at Lifestyle Options Terra Losa is no coincidence. The home was built with 40,000 square feet of recreational space, about 20 percent of the total floor space, not including the outdoor gardens. The vision of seniors’ homes with a multitude of recreation choices is Renate Sainsbury’s, the general manager of Lifestyle Options. The company, a division of the Carrington Group of Companies, owns and operates four seniors’ residences in the Edmonton area. “Our philosophy of care is prevention and daily participation in activities,” says Sainsbury. “We foster healthy aging by focusing on the strengths and capabilities of each individual in meaningful life experiences through active lifestyles. Of course, these are just pretty words unless you devote the space and resources to make this happen. That’s what we’ve done here.” Sainsbury’s views on the importance of recreation were strongly influenced by her professors at the U of A. She graduated with a BA in Recreation Administration in 1981. “At U of A I was given a sense of how important leisure can be — how you can make people better and even heal communities.” After graduation, Sainsbury worked as a recreation director in Drayton Valley and then got a job as a recreation therapist on the long-term care ward at Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital. The experience was an eye-opener. Patients were on that unit for one to two years, waiting for a bed in continuing care. “It was like a warehouse for people. I was the first recreation therapist to be hired there — my job was to get patients moving. Before that, they never even got out of their hospital gowns. Once we introduced activity, some people even got well enough to go home.” Sainsbury stayed at the Misericordia, moving to other units including geriatric assessment. In the 1990s, the Klein-era healthcare cuts hit hard and she lost her job. “Recreation, in the healthcare setting or in municipalities, is always one of the first things to get cut. And yet, my time working in the hospital taught me that for many people the healing comes not so much from the treatment modality, but from providing them with meaningful life experiences.” While she looked for other employment, Sainsbury kept thinking back to the patients on the geriatric assessment unit and how so many of them didn’t want to go to continuing care but would rather live in the community. “I thought I could do something about that,” she adds. The inspiration sparked Sainsbury’s entrepreneurial drive.

She started up a company called Life Options to provide group homes for seniors. She set up two group homes, one of which integrated younger people with developmental disabilities. But while she was satisfied with the homes, Sainsbury yearned to make a bigger impact with a bigger development. “Health care is very clinically-focused. For me, the realization came when I stopped reading the charts and started listening to what people wanted. I remember one patient with Parkinson’s. His chart was a list of things he could not do. When I asked him what he would like to do, he said ‘play the guitar.’ The therapist said there was no way he could do that with his tremors. I brought in my guitar and sure enough the tremors subsided enough that he could strum. These aren’t big things, I know. But they are what give our lives meaning. I dreamed of a place where these opportunities could be provided to seniors.” That dream became reality in 1996 in the form of a meeting with Ken Ferchoff, president of the Carrington Group of Companies, a top residential builder in Edmonton and area. As it turned out, Ferchoff and Sainsbury shared the same vision of providing opportunities for socializing and leisure. Ferchoff created a new company, Lifestyle Options, which now has four seniors’ housing projects, three in Edmonton and one in Leduc. “I’d spoken with a number of developers before I met Ken. More often than not, their idea of recreation at a seniors’ home was a card room. The problem is that recreation does not give you revenue. But it is absolutely vital to creating a sense of community — whether it’s playing pool, getting your hair done, working out or taking an art class. Another aspect is hospitality — home-style meals and choices in meals are very, very important to people. Ken was willing to build residences that provided both recreation and hospitality.” “Baby boomers don’t want to go to nursing homes,” says Sainsbury. “As a result, people can end up isolated in their homes and that is not necessarily the best thing. But when you bring services to individuals in their homes — health care, meals, housekeeping, and more — you can break through that isolation. The partnerships with Alberta Health Services where care is brought into homes are very important. The bottom line is that we need more options in seniors’ housing. I’m not saying our model is the only ‘right’ one. Maybe we could integrate housing for seniors and single parents. Stroller parking could be shared with scooter parking. We need to start thinking creatively, to take away the barriers. It’s been a journey but I never lost sight of the importance of leisure and the therapeutic benefit of providing meaningful life experiences. I often hear people say they want to be independent. I’m not convinced of that. Interdependence is the key. No one is truly independent. We need each other. That’s why it is important to design living spaces that enable a sense of connectedness, being productive and helping others. As we grow older, it’s healthier to live in an environment where you can ask for help and you can give help, where you have the opportunity to do things that bring you joy.” a

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“I was exposed to some of the leaders in the field of physical education, who challenged me to be the best I could be and provided me the tools and the confidence to accomplish that task — I have been blessed.”

Head

Coach

Wendy Jerome led the way for Canada in sport psychology by Gail Gravelines

The year: 1963. The place: Eugene, Oregon. The event: An all-comers track meet.

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endy Jerome (BPHE ’58) is attending the meet with the girls’ track team she’s coaching. Born and raised in Edmonton, Jerome has already taught physical education at Edmonton’s Ross Shepherd and Eastglen High Schools before earning a master’s degree in health sciences from the University of Oregon. At this point, she’s working on a second master’s in motor learning.

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Active Alumni


So when Jerome saw a tall, skinny, 11-year old girl wander across three lanes as she motored to the finish line, she saw the runner with an eye informed by biomechanics. “I asked her to join the track team. She said she’d have to ask her Mom. So I did something you couldn’t do today: I drove her home,” recalls Jerome from the comfort of her west Edmonton condo. “Her mother said she had no way of getting her to practices. I said I’d drive her.” Five years later, that gangly 11-year old was known as the world’s fastest woman. Margaret Johnson Bailes tied the 100-meter world record of 11.1 seconds twice on the same day at the National AAU Women’s Track and Field Championships in Aurora, Colorado, a meet where she toppled the then reigning Olympic champion. In mid-October at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Bailes and her team won the 400-meter relay with a world record-breaking time of 42.8 seconds. Just days earlier, Bailes, who had contracted pneumonia at a pre-Olympic training camp, had struggled to make the finals in the 100 and 200-meter sprints. The difference between Margaret Bailes’ lacklustre and Olympic gold winning performances? Wendy Jerome. Four years after discovering Bailes, Jerome discovered sport psychology, a passion that would lead her to becoming Canada’s first sport psychologist and founder of the first undergraduate sport psychology program at Laurentian University in 2001. “Bruce Ogilvie from California was talking about sport psychology at a national coaching conference I was attending. I hated psychology at university and wanted to slip out to coffee with someone,” Jerome says, “No one was available, so I went to the session. I listened and thought that’s it! That’s the answer! When you’re coaching there are some things you can’t resolve physically. Sport psychology appeals to me because it has a practical application.” Returning to Oregon, her dean dismissed the emerging field. Undeterred and working on her doctorate in administration, Jerome registered for several psychology courses. Her psychology professor gave her an A+, a grade he’d never before given. He urged Jerome to go into psychology. Compromising, Jerome did a double major in administration and social psychology. Not bad for a woman who failed two of her five first year university courses. Raised in a troubled family, Jerome found support from the teachers and principal of Victoria Composite High School. At the school’s annual Career Day, she was asked to introduce University of Alberta physical education professor Dr. Pat Austin. “She talked about physical education. I loved sport. I loved to play. And that’s when I decided to take physical education,” says Jerome. Jerome was completing her double doctorate when Bailes was going to the Olympics. Jerome wanted to see

her star pupil perform in Mexico City. When Jerome arrived, Bailes was having a crisis of confidence. Her illness had weakened her and she felt the coaches had written her off. Jerome calmed Bailes and focused her on the task at hand. And they won Olympic gold. Bailes was one in what would prove to be a long chain of athletes and students who would benefit from Jerome’s life long passion for sport psychology. In 1969, Jerome began a 36-year tenure at Laurentian University teaching sport sociology. She founded the track and field program there and successfully lobbied Ontario university coaches to combine the men’s and women’s teams after years of separate programs, facilities and championships. Upon completing a post-doctoral year in clinical psychology at the University of Alberta in 1976, Jerome returned to Laurentian and taught courses on stress management and sport psychology. “While originally open only to physical education and sport administration students, soon students in nursing, psychology and other programs (some at the request of family doctors) were asking permission to enroll in stress management,” says Jerome. To enhance the applied nature of the program, students were often required to develop a family tree recording colour-coded health issues and dates and causes of death. This allowed genetic patterns of systemic weaknesses to be identified, providing insights into more effective individualized approaches to dealing with stress. The same year, Jerome was approached to assist in resolving a situation involving a recently-crowned Canadian sport champion who had developed paralysis in his dominant arm during critical points in competitions. No medical explanation could be found. After successfully resolving the problem, Jerome received a number of requests for her services from other sports. “After that, they came fast and furious,” Jerome says of her sport psychology career. “I’ve worked with athletes from almost every sport, from five different countries. I’ve traveled extensively. Working with these wonderfully talented young people has been a most rewarding experience,” says Jerome, “I am so grateful to have grown up in Edmonton where the quality of education is among the best in the world. From my high school where I had excellent and encouraging teachers, to the U of A where I was exposed to some of the leaders in the field of physical education, who challenged me to be the best I could be and provided me the tools and the confidence to accomplish that task — I have been blessed.” Now retired, Jerome says it’s the students and athletes who have made everything worthwhile. “One of my high school teachers said, do for your students what we did for you. See what’s special. It’s been great to be part of kids’ lives. If I’ve helped remove one little barrier for one student or athlete, it’s all been worthwhile.” a

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Opening Doors

Abroad Jennifer Woronuk helps students study overseas by Wanda Vivequin

“It’s a great idea to experience the world before you take the plunge and get wrapped up in things like family, work, and mortgages.”

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n 2002, Jennifer Woronuk was traveling by night bus in Thailand. Normally a light sleeper when traveling, she woke groggy and noticed that the purse she had carefully slung over her shoulder and placed under her hip was slightly askew. As she left the bus she decided to check its contents and found her money missing. Others discovered that they had been robbed too and this drove Woronuk, a seasoned traveler, to confront the bus driver and his accomplice who eventually roared away leaving the passengers stranded. But Woronuk, a world traveler with plenty of experience in countries from Asia to Africa, isn’t the least bit bothered by events like this, so she’s perfectly suited to her work as a University of Alberta International Education Abroad advisor. Woronuk, who completed a BARLS degree with distinction in 2001, had left high school with no idea what she wanted to do and began her career path studying to be a nurse. Today her job is a far cry from the field of medicine; it involves helping U of A students plan and prepare for overseas exchange programs in Asia, something Woronuk says she wishes she had taken advantage of as a student. She is an enthusiastic advocate of all the benefits of traveling and studying overseas and says the majority of students come back transformed. “I really think it’s a great idea to experience the world before you take the plunge and get wrapped up in things like family, work, and mortgages, and the U of A has lots of opportunities and options that make it easy for students to go abroad,” she says. “I always tell students who are concerned about debts associated with travel that these will eventually be paid off — but that the experiences will last a lifetime,” says Woronuk. Her Edmonton condominium is filled with mementos of her travels to Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, SouthEast Asia, and Europe, and her diaries are sprinkled with stories of “incidents” that most people would find daunting, but which Woronuk believes have enriched her life and helped to shape her. Even though her job involves making sure students are well prepared, her own approach to travel is to “go in blind.” “I love the discovery and the feeling of being absorbed into a place and imagining the people who lived and worked there centuries ago,” she says. “Traveling rejuvenates me and offers new perspectives. You meet like-minded people, restless people, and adventurous, curious people,” she adds. “While many of my friends are settling down and starting families, I am still enticed by all the places I would like to visit and am still working out exactly where my life will take me next.”

After graduating, Woronuk traveled abroad for a year to Australia, New Zealand and Asia, then worked at West Edmonton Mall as the attractions promotions coordinator for nearly three years. “It was a great opportunity to promote a world-renowned tourist attraction,” she says. By 2004 she was yearning to travel again and embarked on a three-month overland camping trip across eastern and southern Africa with a small group of travelers from around the world. In 2005, she spent the summer working as a trip leader for Backroads, a company running multi-sport adventure trips through the Rockies. It gave her time to think about how she could apply her interest and love of travel and tourism to a career, which ultimately led her to the University of Waterloo to pursue a master’s degree in Environmental Studies in Tourism Policy and Planning. “My life has been all about discovering new things and trying to figure out where I fit in, and doing the master’s was just another challenge for me,” she says. Her thesis topic looked at tourists’ attitudes and perceptions towards wildlife souvenirs in Cuba and the field work meant spending two months in Cuba in 2006 interviewing people about what they bought and why. Uncovering a gap in tourism and souvenir literature, her research revealed that there are significant differences between what Canadian and European tourists know and feel about wildlife being used in souvenir products and that more needs to be done to promote sustainable consumer behaviour and practices. Her decision to return to the U of A in November 2007 to work was an easy one. “I had a really good time here and thought it would be a great opportunity to give back and apply my knowledge and love of travel to help students experience similar wonders,” she says. “I am always searching for the next adventure and wondering whether I am meant to be behind a desk, but for now I am excited to be helping others realize their dreams to travel and learn more about the world.” a The Education Abroad Program offers U of A students an assortment of international learning experiences where they can travel and earn credit or practical experience through study exchanges, work or research internships, and volunteer placements abroad. Jennifer Woronuk invites former classmates and friends to get in touch with her by email at Jennifer.woronuk@ualberta.ca.

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Champion of Fit Andrew McCloskey finds joy in promoting health and wellness, and helping gay youth by Wanda Vivequin

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Active Alumni


“I have a dream job combining my love of food and passion for activity.”

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ou would never guess it from looking at him today, but, Andrew McCloskey (BPE 2005) could have been the poster child for couch potatoes. “That was me, the kid from Grande Prairie who hated gym class, the one who would get home from school before my mother did and bake a cake, but hated cleaning the kitchen afterwards,” he laughs. “At school gym was all about being good at sports and if you were not good at kicking, catching and throwing you really did not stand a chance and it was just terrible for kids like me and did nothing for my self confidence,” says McCloskey. Two decades later and after a 180 degree turn in his life, he is an avid runner, who trains regularly with the U of A triathlon club; loves hiking in the Rockies and is the picture of fitness, even packing in extra time working weekends and after-hours at MacEwan’s Centre for Sport and Wellness as a personal trainer. During the week McCloskey works as a school health facilitator as part of an innovative program championed through the U of A’s School of Public Health called APPLE Schools (Alberta Project Promoting active Living and healthy Eating), which is being piloted in 10 schools in the Edmonton area. Working at Edmonton’s Holy Cross Académie Internationale, McCloskey works with the school community to find creative, relevant ways to change the sedentary, junk food culture found in schools to one that embraces making the healthy choice the easy choice. “I have a dream job combining my love of food and passion for activity,” says McCloskey. He draws on his own negative experiences at school for coming up with innovative ways to encourage physical activity in young people. “I can really relate to the kids who are not good at sport. It’s great that the physical education curriculum now focuses on developing a positive attitude toward physical activity for life,” he says. So what was it that eventually turned McCloskey from a couch potato into someone whose tidy apartment is filled with an array of different sports shoes, a racing bike and a pantry full of healthy food? Oddly enough, it began in 1997 when McCloskey left his home town to pursue a career as a chef. “I was really passionate about food, but, after coming to Edmonton for my apprenticeship was eventually discouraged by

the reality of working in a big kitchen,” he says. At this point, he’d begun regularly attending a gym and was sufficiently encouraged by the results to tackle more challenging goals like completing a marathon in Paris. After completing his apprenticeship, McCloskey enrolled in the Faculty of Arts at the U of A in 1999 and decided to sample courses from each department until he found something he liked. Serendipitously, he enrolled in a health education course and this led to his eventual transfer into the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. “There was definitely a stereotype in my head that Physed was the faculty where only athletes go, so for someone with my background to enroll was quite a surprise,” says McCloskey. “I realised that the Faculty was a tremendous place for people who are interested in health and not just those who are good at sports,” he adds. But, says McCloskey, it wasn’t easy to be a gay man in a faculty enamoured of sport. “I think gay women and men have different experiences in a sport context,” says McCloskey. “Outside of the odd class where it is a topic of discussion, it’s not exactly a topic that is discussed in the locker room. But I think things are getting better all the time. The challenge is that sport is an arena in which men have traditionally defined their masculinity, so for a lot of men being gay doesn’t fit into that ideal.” McCloskey volunteers for Camp fYrefly, Canada’s largest leadership retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, twospirited, inter-sexed, queer, questioning, and allied youth. “It’s a great supportive environment for young people where they can discuss issues and concerns, learn and develop their self esteem, particularly those from smaller communities where they may not have ever met another gay person. Some people call it gay summer camp and it would have been good for something like this to be around when I grew up,” says McCloskey. As for the future, McCloskey continues to push himself, presently with a master of public health degree he expects to complete in 2012. He’s also discovered a passion for the mountains where he goes hiking or scrambling — and there are certainly no couches to lie around on in the Rockies. a Running man Andrew McCloskey welcomes former classmates to contact him by email at runandrewrun@hotmail.com.

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Alumni Weekend

2009

We warmly invite all alumni and friends of the faculty to join us in a host of wonderful gatherings to reunite, remember and enjoy great company!

Friday, October 2 25th Anniversary of the Practicum Program “Back to the Future: 25 years of Connecting with the Community” tradeshow E-19, Van Vliet Centre 14:00 – 17:00 Contact: David Mitsui – 780-492-2931 david.mitsui@ualberta.ca

Annual General Meeting Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association Saville Sports Centre 18:00 – 19:00 Free Contact: Cindi Berg – 780-492-8804 cindi.berg@ualberta.ca

Alumni Pub Night Saville Sports Centre 19:00 – Midnight Free Contact: Jocelyne Lambert – 780-492-3893 jocelyne.lambert@ualberta.ca

Saturday, October 3 25 and 50 year Alumni Breakfast with the Dean Royal Mayfair Golf Club 0830 – 10:30 Free Contact: Jocelyne Lambert – 780-492-3893 jocelyne.lambert@ualberta.ca

For more information about our events visit our website at www.physedandrec.ualberta.ca 16

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Reunion


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Summer 2009

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Extraordinaire Aussie Allan Cox was the Faculty’s first PhD by Jane Hurly

“I have always tried to practice what I preach.”

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photo: supplied

Educator


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simple coin toss determined one of the most important moments of Allan Cox’s life — and one that was to put the young Australian into the Faculty’s history books as its first doctoral degree graduate. He and fellow Australian, Peter Lindsay, had been the first PhD students to enter the Faculty’s inaugural doctoral program in 1967. Close friends throughout both their master’s and doctoral programs, they also completed their theses together. Their theses’ defence, however, presented a dilemma though as they both wanted to complete on the same day. “When our final oral examination day arrived in August 1969, with our external advisor Earl Zeigler a little unhappy about having to interrupt his summer school session in Hawaii, Peter and I tossed a coin to decide the order of appearance,” says Cox. “Peter won the toss and decided to have me go first. After an hour’s grilling by the five examiners professor Max Howell led me out the door to congratulate me as his first PhD graduate. By the strength of his grin I thought that he was more pleased than I was, but then I was still shaking at the knees.” Sydney-born and raised in Depression-era Australia, Cox understood hardship all too well, his father having been unemployed from 1930 to 1936, and he worked hard to educate himself. He attended the Sydney Teachers’ College, graduating with a Diploma of Physical Education. Coincidentally, he graduated just a few years behind the same Max Howell who was later to become a professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, and Cox’s mentor during his doctoral program. Before all this though, Cox taught physical education for 10 years and completed a BA by distance education. While lecturing at Armidale Teachers’ College, he decided to advance his education still further. He applied to universities around the world, but it seemed his and Max’s fates were intertwined, with Max warmly welcoming his former countryman to study at the University of Alberta. For Cox, married to wife, Judy, and with four children, studying for a PhD wasn’t easy. “Six courses and a dissertation meant that days (and nights) were full on,” remembers Cox. “Up at 5 a.m. to take the kids to swim training, and work as an assistant coach; then off to Uni at 8 a.m. and not home again until 10 or 11p.m. meant a couple of years with minimum sleep. However, I made sure that most weekends were free for family life. We all enjoyed the delights of Alberta and the Rockies to the full: lots of camping, fishing, walking, tobogganing, and social interaction with such friendly Canadian people. Our kids have never forgotten their Canadian experiences. It took only two or three years for their accents to mellow and for them to understand what their Aussie mates were saying!” The family returned to Australia in 1969 where Cox became senior lecturer and head of the department of Physical Education at the Armidale College of Advanced Education; later he became a principal lecturer and dean of Teacher Education, leading a

staff of about 80 lecturers in Bachelor of Education and Master of Educational Administration programs. Cox’s love of sport led him to coach swimming as well, and, with the help of Judy and parent coaches they’d trained, built the local swim club to over 170 members of children and youth aged five to 18. “Over eight years we were able to teach hundreds of children and adults to swim. Many of our swimmers achieved considerable competitive success up to the national level,” says Cox proudly. While Cox loved swimming, track and field sports were his passion. From helping elementary school teachers improve their training and administration techniques, Cox went on to form a track and field club that quickly saw hundreds of youngsters competing successfully at local, state and national levels. Track and field became a passion in the Cox household too. Cox’s daughter Linda “was never defeated as sub-junior and junior over 1500m nationally and overseas,” he says. His wife, Judy, excelled too, holding world records in 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m at the Master’s level and winning the world marathon championship in the 50 – 54 age group in Japan in 1982. No slouch himself, Cox competed vigorously too. “I held the national pentathlon championship several times until I was 70 when my knees decided to object,” he says. In 2000, Allan and Judy Cox’s considerable contributions to sport were recognized by the country when they were awarded the Australian Sports Medal. Cox retired from the education system in 1987, when he realized his next promotion — probably to assistant Vice Chancellor — would hold few opportunities for interaction with students, something he’d treasured as an educator throughout his long career. Their children have adopted their father’s passion for learning. “Peter is a school principal; Linda is a senior elementary teacher; Helen is a high school physical education teacher and Dianne is dean of Social Sciences at Latrobe University,” he says. He’s proud that both Helen and Dianne are following in their dad’s footsteps and working towards their PhDs. Since 1987, he says, “My retirement has been full-on, with Masters’ Track and Field; deep sea fishing regularly with Judy in our boat; frequent camping and bushwalking throughout Australia; growing nearly all of our own vegetables and enjoying the development of our 11 grandchildren.” Asked about the most important lessons in life he’s learned, Cox says, “Learn in order to pass on selected knowledge to as many others as possible. My passion for nature and care for the environment produces a bias which has always influenced my lifestyle and teaching. I have always tried to practice what I preach.” a Allan and Judy Cox now live in Hobart, Australia, and welcome fellow alumni to get in touch by email at judalcox@tadaust.org.au.

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The Challenger Ada Tai overcame language barriers and cultural hurdles to achieve success by Scott Rollans

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hen Ada Tai came to Edmonton from China five and a half years ago, she was in for a bit of a rude awakening — and it had nothing to do with the weather. Like many new university students, Tai held a popular misconception about the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. “My parents chose a program for me,” she explains, smiling. “I wanted something fun, and easy to take.” It didn’t take her long to realize that Phys Ed wasn’t exactly a free ride. “It turned out to be totally the opposite from what I expected. It was fun — I learned a lot about Canadian culture, and I met a lot of people. But assignments, readings and lectures — those were not fun!” Like many international students, she also discovered the difference between studying English in grade school and attending university in an English-speaking country. “The language barrier and culture barrier was quite tough at the beginning,” she admits. “But I like to be challenged.” She hit her stride quickly, and managed to squeeze her fouryear program into three and a half years. By the time she graduated in 2006, she had polished her English skills and gained a surprisingly broad education. “The program is so diverse,” she marvels. “It’s about tourism, it’s about management, it’s about leisure, about nature, about people, society, everything.” University also launched Tai on a life-long project: learning the endless intricacies of Western social interaction. “In China, when we meet each other, we would never say, ‘How are you?’” laughs Tai. “Here, even a stranger will ask, ‘How are you?’ Or you will open the door for a stranger. In China, there are so many people that, if you opened a door for another person, you would be holding it for hours!” After graduating, Tai took a job at a real estate company for a year. In the evenings, she continued to maintain a full course load, studying for certificates in business and human resources. “I wanted to do something in one of those areas,” she explains. “It was quite hard, working during the day and taking courses full-time in the evening, but I knew where my passion was.” Next, she took time off to travel to China, to see her family, and to Japan and Korea, to visit friends. Returning to Edmonton, she took a job as a human resources assistant at the Shaw Conference Centre, the job she holds today. “Mainly, I’m involved

in recruitment and selection, and retention strategies, staff events, policies and terminations,” she says. Although her current position doesn’t draw directly on her degree, Tai credits the U of A for helping her to build the language skills and people skills she needs to succeed. “I did a lot of presentations and research papers. That definitely helped me. And I learned how to deal with Canadian people. I learned to be adaptable.” In her spare time, Tai has also started a casual business with a friend from university. They import jewellery from China, and also design their own using imported beads. They call the line ‘Miss Oriental.’ “A lot of our jewellery is Tibetan or Oriental style, which is quite different from what you’d see here,” she explains. “And then, we also do accessories like scarves, gloves, shoes, handbags. We went to a couple of craft shows. It’s nothing formal. It’s just something we’d like to see, to learn.” Tai remains physically active, a healthy habit she picked up at university. “In China, I didn’t get many chances to do gym, or to do exercise, because of the contained spaces,” she says. “Here, I had lots of chances to realize how important it is to be fit. So, I started to go to the gym in my first year. I learned how to play squash, and how to do yoga, and swimming, and jogging. I learned yoga with a teacher at the U of A, for the first year, and then I started doing it on my own. Now, I’m still doing it every morning when I get up. And I skip ropes when I have my coffee break at work. When it’s warmer, I do it outside. When it’s cold, I do it in the pedway.” Now that she’s settled into a steady job, Tai looks forward to staying put — at least for the next couple of years. Then, she’ll roll up her sleeves and hit the books once again. “I don’t want to plan too far ahead, because things can change so quickly. But, for sure, I’m going to do an MBA. I haven’t decided at which university.” No matter where her life takes her, her Physical Education and Recreation experience will continue to shape her, Tai insists. “At the U of A, I learned who I am. And I learned how I can grow with challenges like language and culture, and others.” a Entrepreneurial alumna Ada Tai invites friends, alumni and former classmates to contact her by email at atai@edmonton.com. Tai’s ‘Miss Oriental’ line of jewellery is online at www.wapchina.net/mo/

“And I learned how I can grow with challenges like language and culture, and others.”

Summer 2009

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“I have never truly experienced anything like the fan supporters in Liverpool; football truly is a

photos: supplied

religion to them.”

London Calling Christy Johnson loves her work at England’s Rugby Central by Jane Hurly

W

hen England’s beefy rugby team went hurtling on to the field at Twickenham Stadium in South London to face their mortal foes from Italy during the England International and Six Nations rugby matches, they probably didn’t know that a young recreation and sport tourism graduate from the U of A had had a hand in making sure that game days ran as smooth as glass in the corporate hospitality suites. Christy Johnson is a long way from her family home in peaceful Boyle, Alberta, but she’s happily working in England, her degree in recreation, sport, and tourism paving the way to one interesting career adventure after another. And it all began with a love of basketball. “I played basketball in Zone 5 for the Summer Games during grade 10 and it gave me glimpse into a whole new level of organised sport,” says Johnson, who became a regular volunteer at sport tournaments and extracurricular activities in her high school in Boyle. 22

Active Alumni

Heading first to Mount Royal College in Calgary, Johnson completed a sport administration diploma in 1999 and then took a year off to go back-packing in Australia and New Zealand. “This was my first time on a plane and something that changed my life forever,” she says. “The realisation that the world is not that big after all, gave me the motivation to continue my education by completing a degree in Recreation Studies and Sport Tourism at U of A when I returned.” The travel bug, says Johnson, had bitten hard and she sought to complete part of her degree abroad. The University of Bedfordshire in England accepted her through the inter-university exchange program at the University of Alberta. “My education and living experience in Luton was very different, and it allowed me to take classes that I would not have taken in a Canadian system and gave me the opportunity to gain experience, insight appreciation for the passion the English have for their sport and competition.”


She also completed her practicum experience in England at the Golf and Tennis Academy in East Sussex working in sales and marketing. “This experience gave me a huge insight not only into a recreation facility, but also another aspect of the business of sport. The venue was a holiday destination as well as a popular public facility so it was a perfect combination!” she says. After graduating Johnson couldn’t wait to return to the UK and took a full-time position as operations manager at the Golf and Tennis Academy. When the Academy closed its doors, Johnson moved on to her current role with Twickenham Experience at the Twickenham Stadium — where one of the big thrills, she says, has been to meet the England rugby team. “Living in the UK that’s quite special,” she adds with a smile. “One of the best sporting events I have been lucky enough to attend was at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool to watch Liverpool versus Barcelona. I have never truly experienced anything like the fan supporters in Liverpool; football truly is a religion to them,” she says. She says living in England has been one big adventure! “I have gained some very valuable experiences as well as opportunities to try new things. I have been able to travel to Italy, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Greece and France — and I have enjoyed having the City of London at my fingertips!” she says, adding that she’ll be in Belfast in April to help the logistics team for the World Championship Fencing Competition. For Johnson, there’s nothing more fun than working in a sporting environment. “The most rewarding part is actually

being part of it all and being with like-minded people who want to be active. I love the buzz that I get from being surrounded by active bodies and sport activities,” she says. Her biggest challenge? “Explaining to people who are not in recreation or leisure, what we do. We are not just the jock kids; we’re the ones who organise and make things happen!” says Johnson. Work aside, Johnson says she’s active all the time, running, swimming, playing volleyball. “And I have a new addiction to spinning classes,” she adds. “I’d love to take part in a triathlon,” she says, thinking about future goals. “A few summers ago I watched the Ironman in Kelowna, British Columbia. I have never felt so inspired by an event or by the energy of people in my whole life! Although it is a huge feat, I think that it is something that I could achieve if I put my mind to it.” Asked what would make her the happiest person on earth Johnson doesn’t hesitate: “I would love to have my entire family journey to somewhere and discover what is out there. I think that once you set foot on another continent you never look back, as in my case, much to my family’s dismay!” She pauses, and adds thoughtfully, “That being said, you never forget where your true home is.” a World adventurer Christy Johnson welcomes former classmates to get in touch. Email Christy at christyjoy4@yahoo.ca.

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photo: supplied

Korean Odyssey Study Abroad experience takes alumnus round the world by Jane Hurly

“I have travelled to over 50 countries, visited every continent, except Antarctica.�

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arty Nedjelski has found his thrill. Not on Blueberry Hill, like the song says, but in Korea, where the BPE ’05 graduate lives happily in the city of Daegu, teaching kids in elementary and middle school to speak English – and he’s loving every minute. It’s been a long journey — literally around the world — to find his slice of heaven, but every step has been an incredible, rich — and action-packed — experience. The exuberant Vernon, BC-born native had always been interested and active in sports of every kind. But after completing a two-year program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George in human kinetics, he wanted more and transferred his credits to the University of Alberta, signing up first for the BARLS program, then finding a better fit in the BPE program, majoring in cultural and managerial studies of sport. “A program that fit with my exact interests,” he says. While making the transfer, Nedjelski was actually 18,000 kms away in Dunedin, New Zealand at the University of Otago, enjoying a study-abroad semester —the first of his forays in the unknown that marked the turning point in what he wanted for his life. New Zealand, he says, was a lucky pick. “I cannot explain why I chose Otago in particular, because honestly, I never really researched anything about the region, the university or the country, all I knew was ‘Middle Earth.’ I thought New Zealand’s climate was tropical, like that of Northern Australia; I really just decided to do it blindly.” A perfect choice, it turned out. After six months in New Zealand he returned to Canada, only to return as quickly as possible for a vacation, arranged a practicum experience with the Dunedin Ice Hockey Association, and finally returned for the final two semesters of his BPE degree. After graduating, he worked with University of Alberta International off and on, helping his former Physical Education and Recreation program advisor and fellow alumna Catherine Sandomirsky (BPE ’93) (whom he credits with facilitating his degree choice and making his forays to New Zealand possible) for a time. A keen adventurer, Nedjelski has backpacked through Australia, and traveled by bus from Scotland across Europe to Serbia. “I have travelled to over 50 countries, visited every continent, except Antarctica. I travelled in South Africa for three months, Sweden for a month, Hungary for a month, and spent three years working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, where I was, literally, in a different country every day!” He says his work with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines was more like fun than work, programming and implementing programs for young people on board. “Yes, I got paid to play with kids and hang out with teenagers,” he smiles. And he got to see the world in a very big way. “In the first six months I was based out of Miami, Florida, during which time we travelled on seven-day cruises to all parts

of the Caribbean,” he says. “During my next six months, I crossed the Atlantic Ocean by ship, spent eight days at sea finally docking at the small Portuguese island of Madeira.” Eventually he was based out of Barcelona, Spain, taking 12-day cruises in the Mediterranean, including Italy, Greece, and Turkey. “One of my favourite parts, and favourite cities, in the world, I discovered while working on this contract, was Dubrovnik, Croatia.” Occasionally, what he’s seen has moved him to tears. “One of the most moving experiences I ever had was in Rome. I have always loved ancient cities and history and seeing Rome for the first time literally made me cry,” says Nedjelski, describing the overwhelming sense of history that pervades the city. Then the desire for a new adventure beckoned again. “This time I wanted Asia to be my destination,” he says. So, after researching jobs and hearing great things from friends about teaching in Korea, Nedjelski set off, to a country where he spoke not one word of the language — and the population typically didn’t speak English! Nedjelski-style, he fit right it and says, “I love it!” “I work 30 hours a week for MoonkKang Foreign Language Academy, teaching elementary and middle school-aged children English,” explains Nedjelski. “We work closely with a Korean partner, who speaks English. They teach the children grammar and listening exercises; we teach them reading, pronunciation and develop speaking lesson plans.” Now he’s learning Korean to add to the Spanish, Swedish and other languages he can either speak well or get by in, thanks to his cruise ship days; he has a girlfriend and already has plans to set up his own learning academy. “Being my own boss is my dream,” he says. “I would eventually love to settle down and get married and have a beautiful foreign wife, live in a foreign, far-off location, and visit family and friends on the holidays back in Canada. If I were to become fluent in Korean — as most Westerners can’t speak Korean — I would have the market cornered here in Daegu!” Besides opening his own academy, he says he’d love to pursue his interest in surfing — and “the only ‘gotta do’ I have is to pay off my student loans. Estimated pay-off date is 2089…” he quips. Looking back, Nedjelski credits choosing to take part of his degree overseas as the smartest decision he’s made. “I still wonder why so few students take advantage of an exchange or study abroad opportunity, as it is really easy. In many cases, you are still paying your tuition to U of A, but you’re some place else in the world. The best decision I have ever made in my life to this point, was going on that exchange in 2003.” a Globe trotting Marty Nedjelski welcomes former classmates to contact him in Korea. His email address is mnedjelski@hotmail.com.

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Liz Halpenny’s research finds couples marrying in the mountains bond emotionally to landscape by Wanda Vivequin

“Half of the couples (in my study) got married in Jasper on their own without family because they really wanted a simple experience.”

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photo: supplied

Rocky Mountain “I Do”


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hy couples marry in Canada’s Rocky Mountains national parks was the subject of ground-breaking research recently completed by Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny. “The wedding industry is massive and there is certainly lots of popular literature out there about destination weddings, but nothing overly scholarly,” says Halpenny. “It is definitely unique research that provided valuable information for Parks Canada staff about why people are getting married in Canadian mountain parks,” she says. “Banff and Jasper are unique among Canada’s national parks in that each has a well-developed infrastructure to service wedding tourism.” The research project was one of three commissioned by Parks Canada in 2007 to explore the role of special events and people’s attachment to the parks as a result – a field in which Halpenny is a recognized expert. Special events were defined as those occurring in protected areas but which had little or no direct connection to the cultural or natural heritage that the parks are managed to protect. Parks Canada wanted Halpenny to look specifically at wedding tourism because it’s seen as a very personal and family-oriented event. The research sought to answer questions about why people get married in the mountains, their satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the experience and the couple’s relationship with the Rocky Mountains. After interviewing people in the wedding industry, Halpenny identified 10 couples who were able to speak in-depth about their experience. “Half of the couples got married in Jasper on their own without family because they really wanted a simple experience. Many already had a deep connection to the mountains before they got married through recreation and use of the parks, and wanted to commemorate that with a significant moment in their lives,” says Halpenny. “Some people simply wanted to avoid the stress of family squabbles and complications that can happen when planning a wedding at home.” Couples were asked about their relationship with nature, the mountains and the park as well as marking key locations on a map where important events related to their destination wedding experience happened. “The constraints of getting married in a high-profile park like Banff are something that most of the couples accepted as part of their decision,” says Halpenny, listing issues such as tourist crowds at popular scenic sites, not being able to play music in backcountry settings and restrictions on party size. “I think the important message that comes out of this research for Parks Canada is that people who get married in a national park create a life-long connection to that place, and they will go back to for anniversaries, take their kids there and continue to visit,” she says. The sentiments expressed by a Colorado couple who took part in Halpenny’s research, summed up those of many couples interviewed: “A big part of the spiritual aspect of the ceremony itself was for us to commit ourselves to the state of marriedness and the rootedness of being married in this particular place on the land,” said the new bride. Halpenny says destination weddings have significant income-generating potential for towns like Jasper and Banff, provided they are able to provide personalized experiences and can cater to the unique needs of people who choose this option. “The flexibility and the availability of resources in these mountain towns that allow people to get married at, say, 7a.m. if they want to, is very appealing,” says Halpenny. Halpenny has presented her research findings at a number of conferences recently, including the Canadian Congress on Leisure Research. a

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“The number one thing about my degree is, it taught me a lot about

photo: supplied

flexibility and adaptability.�

Have degree

Will Travel Michelle Saulnier has a passion for travel and grassroots community development by Scott Rollans

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hen you’re as well travelled as Michelle Saulnier, it helps to have an education that travels well. Sixteen years after graduating, Saulnier (BA Rec Admin ’93) has landed a community development position with the City of Calgary. En route to her current position, Saulnier has put her university training to work in a wide variety of ways, in an even wider variety of settings. Fresh out of university, she took a job in High Level, in northern Alberta, with the RCMP Victim Services Unit. She spent five years in the community, working with a couple of non-profit agencies as well. Then, in 1999, she wanted to fulfil a lifelong dream of living overseas. “A friend of mine was going to volunteer teach in Russia, and I thought I’d really like to do that,” Saulnier explains. “I really wanted to do it before I turned 30, so I put the wheels in motion and made it happen.” Saulnier spent six months in Moscow as a volunteer teacher. The experience was transformative. Instead of returning home at the end of her term, she felt the urge to stretch herself even farther. “I ended up getting a paid position through the same company, and moved to Taiwan as an English teacher.” Eventually, Saulnier made her way back to Canada, and back to serving her community at a grassroots level. “I worked at the Mustard Seed homeless shelter for a couple of years, and was the executive director of the Victim Services Unit in Airdrie for three years.” Saulnier credits the U of A for equipping her with a solid set of skills, and the confidence to tackle any challenge that comes her way. “The number one thing about my degree is, it taught me a lot about flexibility and adaptability,” she says. Time and time again, Saulnier turned to her training. “Almost all of the jobs I’ve had have involved organizational management skills, financial management skills and people management skills. I learned those skills in university, and directly applied them to my jobs.” “A lot of my courses were in sociology, psychology, anthropology, organizational theories - and the whole recreation administration component. In my mind, it’s one of the most applicable degrees. It has a broad enough scope that you can adapt it to a lot of jobs. Clearly, I’m an example of that.” It’s also a degree that can, quite literally, take you places. “Overseas, that’s where the flexibility and adaptability really come into play,” laughs Saulnier. “It’s a whole different world over there!”

In 2007, Saulnier again got the itch to explore new countries. “I ended up teaching English in South Korea for a year.” In February 2008 she returned to Canada and achieved a professional milestone: “Although my non-profit positions often involved community development, it was never an explicit part of my job description. Now, with the City of Calgary, I’m finally in a community developer role. So, it only took 16 years!” “I’m learning a lot in my professional role, being fairly new with the City. I work with aldermen’s offices, and have quite a few high level responsibilities. So it was a really good step for me to come here.” Saulnier’s official title is community recreation coordinator, but that’s a bit of a misnomer, she says. “It’s mostly doing community development work. I work with community associations and other organizations with all their governance issues, their strategic planning, their facility management and leases, and their community concerns.” Saulnier enjoys working as a liaison — keeping government in touch with the needs and issues of the community, while helping local citizens and groups navigate the tricky waters of municipal politics. And whenever she gets time off, she still has the desire for travel. “Last year, I finally reached my goal of visiting 40 countries,” she says. “I wanted the number to at least match my age, and now I’ve surpassed that at 38 years old.” Next, she says, “I want to see the Seven Wonders of the World. I’m at five right now.” Saulnier enjoys her current job, and has no immediate plans to give it up. But she senses that her university degree, which has taken her so far, will eventually take her somewhere new. “I know that, down the road, I’ll be melding my passion for travel with my passion for working with communities,” she says. “I’ve done volunteer community development work in Thailand at an elephant rescue camp and in South Korea at an orphanage and soup kitchen. That’s where my heart lies, doing grassroots work. It’s a little hard being right in the thick of the politics. It’s a bit of a challenge, sometimes.” Not that she has any problem with challenges. “You’ll always be hit with challenges. I learned that in South Korea, and Russia, and Taiwan. You take what you have and make the best of it. Stop worrying about the potholes in the road, and enjoy the journey! a

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Alumni Awards

photos: Creative Services

Last year, the University of Alberta’s Alumni Awards recognized outstanding contributions by these Physical Education and Recreation graduates.

Doreen Ryan

Gerald Glassford

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Wanda Wetterberg

Honour Award

Honour Award

Honour Award

R. Gerald Glassford, ’64 MA, is a highly influential statesman for physical education, recreation, and sport, and is a tireless volunteer. His 45-year career with the University of Alberta included serving as the dean of two faculties and as the first vice-president of development and community affairs. He has volunteered his expertise on numerous provincial, federal, and University committees, promoting active living and fitness. As a respected educator, administrator, and volunteer, he has received numerous honours, including the Province of Alberta Centennial Salute for Sport & Recreation and the Government of Canada Citation for Citizenship.

Doreen Ryan, ’73 BEd, ’83 Dip(Ed) was a record-setting Canadian speed skater, who won 10 national championships and represented Canada in the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games. The first woman inducted into the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame, she continued her contributions to sport by managing the Canadian Track and Field Team for eight years. She received the Award of Merit for long-term service to the Commonwealth Games of Canada. She has been inducted into numerous sports halls of fame, including the Canadian and Alberta Speed Skating Halls of Fame, and the Alberta Softball Sports Hall of Fame as well as the University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame. A founding member of Alberta’s InMotion Network, she has been instrumental in promoting physical activity opportunities for girls and women.

Wanda Wetterberg, ’74 BA (RecAdmin), is an accomplished administrator and dedicated volunteer with such organizations as the City of Edmonton, the University of Alberta, and the YMCA, working to make her community and society a better place. After a 25-year career holding senior positions in the public sector, including serving as the U of A’s associate vice-president (human resources), she is now chief operating officer of Women Building Futures, an organization that helps unemployed and underemployed women reach economic independence by providing them with training to become skilled tradeswomen.

Active Alumni


If you ask they will give Help us raise funds for scholarships $10 at a time. by Cindi Berg

D

uring 2008, the University of Alberta’s Centenary year, the largest turnout of alumni ever returned to campus to enjoy the numerous celebrations — including our Faculty’s Homecoming events — to remember and reunite with former classmates. The Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association (PERAA) in conjunction with the Faculty hosted alumni events in Calgary, Victoria, Nanaimo and Edmonton with similar results. PERAA and the Faculty initiated a Centenary legacy gift for our current and future students. Starting with a balance of $780, the PERAA award currently exceeds $32,000 thanks to our many generous alumni donors. This fall the award will provide $1,000 annually in perpetuity. In appreciation of your generosity the Faculty has created a virtual donor wall of appreciation which may be viewed at www.physedandrec.ualberta.ca/donor-wall.cfm. Thank you! The economic crisis of 2009 affects each of us, including our students in one way or another. Tuition and rental increases are a reality and so the need for alumni support continues. We ask you to consider a gift of $10 per month for the next year in support of one or more of the following scholarships, awards or projects:

Ewen Nelson Memorial Scholarship in Adapted Physical Activity

Awarded annually to a student registered full-time in a graduate degree program in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation with a demonstrated commitment to the advancement of opportunities for persons with physical disabilities to lead a physically active lifestyle.

Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association Award

Awarded annually to a student demonstrating commitment to community and leadership in his or her field of study as demonstrated through volunteer or work involvement related to the student’s academic pursuits.

25th Anniversary of the Practicum Program Award

2009 marks the 25th Anniversary of the practicum program for the Faculty. On Friday, October 2 the Faculty will host a tradeshow for our supporting agencies. It is our intention for the tradeshow to create a legacy fund to support students in need enrolled in the practicum portion of their degree: $25,000 in celebration of 25 years of community involvement.

You are invited to all 2009 alumni events: • PERAA golf tournament in Chemainus, BC – April 18 • Alumni Weekend events in Edmonton – October 2 and 3 • PERAA alumni event in Calgary – Fall, 2009; date to be confirmed If you are interested in organizing an alumni event in your area please contact Cindi Berg at 780-492-8804 or by email at cindi.berg@ualberta.ca Please visit our website for more information: www.physedandrec.ulaberta.ca

Play Around the World

This project selects and prepares two teams of students from a variety of faculties to share and apply their expertise in the development and delivery of programs (dance, drama, sport, recreation and play) to underserved communities in Thailand.

Summer 2009

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active alumni in touch with you

Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation University of Alberta E415 Van Vliet Centre Edmonton AB T6 G 2H9 email: jane.hurly@ualberta.ca

Your gift

can give in so many ways

I wish to make a gift of: q $50

q $100

q $200

q Other _________

q Cheque (payable to the University of Alberta) q Visa

q MasterCard

q I wish to make a monthly gift of $ ______________________________ Beginning _____________ (mm/yy) and ending _____________ (mm/yy) q I wish to make an annual gift of $ ______________________________ to be withdrawn on ________ (dd/mm) of each year until further notice

Name (please print) Credit card number

/

/

/

/

Expiry date Cardholder signature Name Address City

Province

Postal Code

Email address Phone/ Day

Evening

I would like my gift to support: q The Ewen Nelson Memorial Scholarship in Adapted Physical Activity q Play Around the World q Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Association Award q 25th Anniversary of the Practicum Program Award Please return to: Office of the Dean, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation W1-34 Van Vliet Centre University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2H9

Our students thank you for your generous support.

activealumni2009  

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