Ontario Sports And Olympic Youth Academy Ooya Shape Our Leaders Beyond The 2010 Winter Olympics

Leadership in​ our Canadian youth is​ pervasive and active. as​ a​ volunteer,​ I was witness and observer to​ an​ extraordinary 4-day conference hosted by the​ University of​ Ottawa (May 11-14). This year's theme was “Making a​ Difference”. the​ delegates to​ this 2006 Ontario Olympic Youth Academy,​ were fifteen Ontario students representing their high schools. These students confirmed that our youth will bring a​ new order of​ leadership to​ this country,​ their province and their communities.

OOYA is​ sponsored by Sport Alliance of​ Ontario,​ OFSAA (Ontario Federation of​ School Athletic Associations),​ and the​ Canadian Olympic Committee.

The Ontario Olympic Youth Academy is​ held each year and serves 2 purposes:

  1. 1) to​ share the​ magic of​ the​ Olympic Games in​ a​ 'hands on' format by debating,​ discussing,​ discovering,​ meeting,​ networking,​ playing,​ laughing in​ an​ active & dynamic 4-day conference.

  2. 2) to​ meet Olympic athletes,​ coaches,​ organizers and managers and hear them speak about the​ impact the​ Olympic Games has had on​ their lives.

Working long hours,​ this group of​ engaging teenagers were involved in​ interactive presentations and group workshops. Through the​ team sports of​ Dragon Boat Racing and a​ modified Olympic Games event,​ the​ group showed their ability to​ focus as​ a​ unit and meet goals. the​ delegates developed Sports and Exercise programs that can easily and immediately be introduced in​ their respective schools and communities. Programs are like:

  1. 1) “Clean Play Starts with a​ Clean Place to​ Play”,​

  2. 2) “Mini Olympic Days” to​ promote a​ healthy and active lifestyle to​ Grades 5 & 6,​

are designed for both athletes and non-athletes and help shape high school students into leaders.

Appearance by guest speakers included:

  1. 1) Sue Holloway,​ Honorary Chair of​ OOYA - Silver and Bronze Olympic Medalist for kayaking (1980-Los Angeles). Ms. Holloway is​ the​ first female to​ compete in​ both the​ Summer and Winter Olympics (1976 - kayaking and cross-country skiing).

  2. 2) Shaunna Burke - second Canadian female to​ reach the​ summit of​ Mount Everest (spring 2005).

  3. 3) Pierre Lafontaine,​ CEO Swimming Canada - recently,​ Head coach for Australian Institute of​ Sport,​ and before that the​ Phoenix Swim Club of​ Arizona. Mr. Lafontaine led 4 and 8 medal swimmers to​ Olympic victories in​ 2004 and 2000 respectively.

  4. 4) Marg McGregor - Chef de Mission 2002 Commonwealth Games in​ Manchester,​ England.

  5. 5) Greg Joy - Silver Medalist and world record for high jumping 1976 Montreal Olympics.

  6. 6) Marc Leger – 2005 Canadian delegate at​ the​ International Olympic Academy in​ Greece.

  7. 7) Dr. Gene Sutton,​ Chair OOYA and National Olympic Academy,​ Director of​ the​ COC Board,​ and Canada’s Chef de Mission for the​ 2003 Pan American Games team.

  8. 8) Michael Chambers - President Canadian Olympic Committee (COC).

These speakers had a​ profound impact on​ the​ delegates. the​ Academy ended on​ a​ high note with an​ emotional closing ceremony during which each delegate lit a​ candle from the​ 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games Torch!

However subtle,​ a​ key message was woven throughout the​ conference presentations by the​ Canadian Olympic athletes,​ Olympic coaches,​ and Sports executives. And that message: to​ have these future leaders consider sports management,​ sports coaching,​ and sports education as​ career options. This message was effectively introduced and appreciated by the​ delegates. Some delegates openly shared their renewed consideration for sports education/management as​ a​ career choice.

Currently,​ there are a​ number of​ active Provincial/Territorial (PTOAs) Olympic Youth Academy Programs:

  1. 1) Quebec Youth Olympic Academy

  2. 2) Ontario Olympic Youth Academy

  3. 3) Alberta Youth Olympic Symposium

  4. 4) BC Olympic & Paralympic Youth Leadership Academy

  5. 5) Nunavut Youth Olympic Academy

As a​ youth sport educational forum,​ the​ various Olympic Youth Academies,​ are an​ excellent way to​ introduce Canadian Youth to​ career and volunteer opportunities and rewards associated with national,​ provincial,​ community sports management/coaching,​ and sports education. the​ Olympic Youth Academies provide an​ expanded opportunity to​ share the​ Canadian Olympic Dream whether as​ an​ athlete,​ a​ coach,​ an​ organizer or​ a​ volunteer.

Expanding and funding the​ Olympic Youth Academy Programs to​ each and every Canadian Province and Territory has been an​ ongoing initiative of​ the​ Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). Each province should embrace this youth leadership forum. it​ is​ a​ perfect program to​ parallel the​ COC initiative Own the​ Podium 2010

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