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Conference to promote youth leadership in sport

Events Friday and Saturday at the Human Kinetics Building will provide a place for local youths to connect with issues involving healthy lifestyles, say organizers.

Friday’s Actively Engaging Leaders Conference is aimed at senior secondary school students, as well as those attending college or university. On Saturday, a leadership development event will bring together 60 girls in grades 5 to 8, nominated by their teachers.

“It’s all about youth-driven engagement,” says Sara Santarossa, a doctoral candidate in kinesiology. She is a member of the organizing team, which also includes fellow grad student Taylor Imeson and recent graduate Meaghan Marton.

“We have partnered with Motivate Canada and Leadership Advancement for Women and Sport to give these young people a great opportunity to learn from community leaders and network with local business and organizations.”

Friday’s event is free and begins at 7 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring:

  • Kelly Steele, fitness reporter for The Windsor Star;
  • Dan Brown, filmmaker and former coordinator of YKNOT Windsor-Essex;
  • Chad Cossette, fitness manager of GoodLife Fitness and former CFL athlete;
  • Erica Colovic, communications coordinator for Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare;
  • Yvonne Pilon, president of WEtech Alliance and instructor at the MediaPlex;
  • kinesiology professor Ryan Snelgrove and PhD students Kristy Smith, Ashley Duguay, Matt Hoffman, and Kelly Carr.

Michelle Ernest, a property manager with Cadillac Fairview, will deliver a keynote address, drawing on her experiences working for apparel retailer LuluLemon, and as a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition advisor.

A networking event will follow, with information booths staffed by local organizations.

Santarossa says she is particularly excited by Saturday’s event, which will run like a conference.

“Attendees get to pick their workshops,” she says. “And during an Amazing Race-style competition, they will partner with a female role model in their life to complete the set tasks.”

She says it is a much-needed chance for youth and elders to join in physical activity.

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