This March break I had the honour of attending two events over the course of three days!
Monday and Tuesday I was given the opportunity to be a panellist at NPAAMB‘s 4th annual Opportunity Knocks Career Conference for aboriginal youth. The event was three days, held at the White Oaks Spa and Resort in St Catherines. It is such a great chance for native youth to expand their knowledge and gain insight on a number of different pathways for their futures.
As a panellist, I was lucky to have been able to sit in on other sessions, and also hear from my fellow panellists as well! I was featured alongside Johnny Powless, professional lacrosse player and three-time NLL Championship winner, Bill O’Brien, professional lacrosse player and co-founder of Thompson Brothers Lacrosse, and Carey Leigh Thomas, professional softball player and member of Team Canada. Our breakout session was called In A Competitive World. We each spoke about our various areas of expertise, and how we have been able to be successful in our fields. Something I thought that was important we all shared, is how failure is only a step to success. We each said how we failed in our areas, however, the common thing between all of us was that we were able to get up and try again, with the newfound knowledge from our first attempts.
Over two days, we had three breakout sessions presented to a number of the youth attendees. It was so exciting to see so many native teens eager to learn. It was also a learning experience for me, getting to hear from three successful, inspirational indigenous role models on how they view competition and having a good mindset. I’ll definitely be bringing this knowledge with me to nationals, and for my preparation for Miss Teenage Canada!
Speaking of Miss Teenage Canada, the second event I attended this week was the Little NHL in Mississauga, which for those who may not know, stands for the Little Native Hockey League! This years tournament was proudly hosted by Moose Cree First Nation, located in northern Ontario. The Little NHL began in 1971, and the first tournament hosted 17 teams and around 200 players. Today, the tournament has grown to 209 teams and approximately 3000 players, drawing thousands of indigenous people from across Ontario. I have memories of going to these tournaments with my mom to cheer on my older brother as he participated.
The day after I finished in St Catherines, I made the hour drive to Mississauga where the tournament was being held. I was apart of the event Celebrating & Honour Female Success! Participants and supporters alike came to watch keynote presenters and Olympic Gold Medalists Cheryl Pounder and Becky Keller speak on their road to Team Canada and the Olympics.
It really was fascinating to hear from the both of them, especially since Becky Kellar was raised in Hagersville, which is only a short 10-minute drive from my house. They both spoke on how being a female in hockey presented barriers growing up since at the time they both started hockey there was no women’s hockey in the Olympics. They had a great message to share with the young participants, especially the young girls.
Afterwards, I got to speak alongside Ashley Callingbull, former Mrs Universe, and this year’s Miss Teenage Canada, Emma Morrison! It was so great getting to meet Emma and talk with her. We also swapped stories and happened to find a couple weird similarities between us, like a knack for fainting at the worst times, which we laughed about. She also gave me advice for nationals, and told me about her experience, which was really interesting to hear!
I had the opportunity to share my platform with the audience, which was exciting as well. Ashley and Emma both spoke about their journeys to their titles, and Ashley spoke a lot about conquering fears and how it’s important to one’s personal growth. We had a meet & greet afterwards, and got to take pictures with some of the participants.
Now that my events for the week are finished, I’m taking the time to rest and catch up on school work, since you know, it is March break! Thank you so much for reading!
Til next time,