Posts in General News

Commemorating the Skate, 22 years ago today!

May 29th, 2020 General News

We wanted to share with you a special moment in the history of Respect Group! This picture was taken 22 years ago today and marked the beginning of an important journey. A message from our co-founder Wayne McNeil as he recalled that memorable day:

_____________________________________________________________________________

“In 1998, as most of you know, Sheldon in-line skated across Canada to raise awareness of child abuse.

I was volunteering as President of his Foundation and Sheldon, as usual, was doing all the heavy lifting. This picture was from the first day of the skate (May 29, 1998) in St-John’s NFLD. The day was full of media, dipping his skate in the Atlantic, numerous special events and skating with hundreds of kids…it was exhausting.

Over dinner, the skate “logistics team” told us that there was still about 30km to go to complete the day! What the !!?? It was windy, dark and desolate but it had to be done. Sheldon laced up, I grabbed a bike and a RCMP cruiser lead the way.

There were a few “choice comments” from us both but, truth is, this journey has never been easy. To me, this marked the beginning of something very special. Had the skate not happened we would not have learned how important these issues were, the need for prevention education and Respect Group may never have come to pass!”

Wayne McNeil, Co-Founder

_____________________________________________________________________________

2020 Sport for life Canadian Summit – Stories Of Success Panel

March 10th, 2020 General News

Creating Belonging through Considering Intersectionality

Written by Andrea Carey, CCIP and Founder of INclusion INcorporated

We want to begin by acknowledging the generosity of the three panelists who shared their stories to
spark this discussion – Joy Spearchief-Morris, Cindy Ouellet, and Zoe Robinson. We also want to pay
tribute to the Re-Creation Collective who is a group of academics and practitioners who are reimagining
sport from the margins. Thank you to Respect Group Inc. for their generous support of this session and
their commitment to creating safe spaces.

Intersectionality has become a term used often in the diversity and inclusion space. It is often used in a
way to articulate the overlapping facets of diversity – which is part of the story, but there are a variety of
opportunities to appreciate the power of the term that was first coined by Black feminist Kimberlé
Crenshaw.

Intersectionality is defined as the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and
gender as they apply to a given individual or group, creating overlapping and interdependent systems of
discrimination or disadvantage. They do not exist separately from each other but are interwoven and
linked together. It is meant to articulate the overlapping systems of oppression that are faced by those
who are in marginalized positions – either by social determinants of health, geography or facets of their
identities.

I recently had the opportunity to showcase a panel of incredible women who have diverse intersections
in how they identify. A Paralympian in winter and summer sport who is a PhD candidate, a
businesswoman and gay. A Black Indigenous Master’s degree student who is a high-performance
athletics athlete aiming for a spot in this summer’s Olympics. A trans woman who is a former CEO of a
National Sport Organization and is navigating the world as a woman after 54 years living as a man.
This group of strong, successful women joined me to share their stories of success and to share what
they need to find success in new situations. The theme was to create people and participant-centered
approaches. We focused on how to support people to have positive experiences in the spaces and
places where they are.

We offered up six principles of creating success in participant/people-centered approaches and we
solicited input from the audience to share how they would live these in their organization. Here is what
the group of over 400 sport, recreation, education and health leaders came up with:
Inclusion would be lived by always having a growth mindset. We agreed that inclusion starts with the
people you are trying to serve, so there must be a focus on hiring the community you serve.
Organizations should be open to policy development and implementation.
Respect would be lived by understanding that everyone is on a unique journey and embedding in the
team culture for all to follow. Respect should be included as one of the organization’s values. Every
human being deserves to be respected.

Right to Privacy would be lived by asking permission to share (opt-in or opt-out) and provide options for
level of sharing (what are you sharing), to who and how. This should not be in the small print! There
should be options to limit information on the website for registration to keep it protected.

Private information of members shouldn’t be shared when communicating with other departments of Regions/PSO/NSO.

Dignity would be lived by meeting the participants at the place they are at so they can engage in
different ways and levels, and by being the example and treating everyone equally with respect. Anyone
should be able to do the sport they want even if they have obstacles, and a clear and transparent
selection criteria and appeal processes need to be in place.

Openness would be lived by sharing our cultural experiences often at the office, including the
community in the process for designing, implementing and evaluating sports programs by giving them a
seat at the table.

Allyship would be lived by identifying ability, compassion, and heart by advocating and providing
support. We agreed to wait until you are invited in, and not to make promises. When it comes time to
act, don’t say you’ll do it, say when you’ll do it. We should create working groups and support
spokespersons from marginalized groups.

Compassion would be lived by leading by example.

Safe would be lived by applying for funding to create a safer physical space (ex. changerooms) in
infrastructure where all participants/officials/staff feel supported, welcomed and safe. Training should
be provided to key influencers, coaches, boards, volunteers and parents open conversations should be
hosted that set the tone that respect is expected. It’s important to co-create norms and expectations
that will be commonly understood by the entire group, and to train athletes, coaches, volunteers,
administrators; developing awareness within your sectors. Through opportunities to share our stories,
and to examine the different needs of the people in the spaces and places so that we can better plan to
support the many diverse people who will be part of our programs or who deserve to be included but
haven’t been planned for properly yet.

The opportunity of this dialogue to look at how leaders of the sport, recreation, health and education
organizations in Canada can be intentional about planning for the people, the participants who are at
the core of what we do in delivering sport and physical activity experiences. We can consider how these
eight principles could come to life in your organization, and to build that into how you operate going
forward.

Respect Group Congratulates Our Co-Founder, Sheldon Kennedy, on his performance in this Season’s Battle of the Blades

Respect Group Congratulates Our Co-Founder, Sheldon Kennedy, on his performance in this Season’s Battle of the Blades

November 1st, 2019 General News, Press Releases

 

15 years ago, ex-NHLer and internationally acclaimed child advocate, Sheldon Kennedy founded Respect Group. Since that time, he has been a source of courage, passion and inspiration for everyone on our team and thousands more across Canada in his relentless pursuit to prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

 

For the past several weeks, Sheldon exchanged his hockey skates for figure skates, mastered the toe pick and competed in CBC’s Battle of the Blades with his skating partner, Kaitlyn Weaver, three-time World Ice Dance medalist.

Through their dance, they told us the story of pain, resilience, healing, hope and laughter. Together, they dazzled the viewers, impressed the judges and put their heart and soul into their performances in order to raise $100,000 for Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities; a charity dedicated to giving families in financial need and their children a chance to participate in organized sports.

Sheldon and Kaitlyn, thank you for reminding us that pushing beyond our comfort zones can bring about the change we wish to see!

Sheldon Kennedy, Kaitlyn Weaver triumph on CBC’s Battle of the Blades

November 1st, 2019 General News, Press Releases

Pair’s win raises $100K for charity that helps kids get involved in sports, physical activities

Ice dancer Kaitlyn Weaver and retired NHLer Sheldon Kennedy have triumphed as the winning pair of CBC-TV’s Battle of the Blades.

Weaver and Kennedy were revealed as the winners of the revived competition series on Thursday’s season 5 finale, which aired live from Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre — historic site of the former Maple Leaf Gardens — in Toronto.

With their win, the duo has raised a total of $100,000 for their chosen charity: Canadian Tire Jumpstart, a national group that provides financial assistance to kids in need so they can access sports and physical activities.

“This is a surreal experience, I had no idea what to expect going in. I came here with an open heart and an open mind, and I leave so blessed to share this experience with Sheldon — all for an incredible cause,” Weaver said in a news release. “I feel changed, I feel like a better version of myself because of him, and I’m so grateful.”

The pair beat out Weaver’s longtime ice-dance partner Andrew Poje, who was teamed up with Team Canada women’s hockey star Natalie Spooner. Placing second, Poje and Spooner raised $17,500 for each of their chosen charities —Right to Play and Fast and Female, respectively.

“This was a journey; I remember the first day, Kaitlyn and I had a conversation about how we needed to show people hope, we needed to inspire people. If you’re in a dark place, you can come out of that, and that’s what I’m so grateful for,” Kennedy said in a news release. MORE

Image credits: Insight Productions/CBC Battle Of The Blades with permission from Insight Productions and CBC

Cbc battle of the blades Sheldon Kennedy Kaitlyn Weaver

CBC Battle of the Blades: Meet the Skaters

September 9th, 2019 General News

Meet the hockey players and figure skaters paired up for a new season on Battle of the Blades



New season, new pairings! Starting September 19 on CBC, seven pairs of skaters, each consisting of one hockey player and one figure skater, will pair up to perform on Battle of the Blades in the hopes of winning the Season 5 championship, and a $100,000 donation to the charities of their choice.

 

Here are the teams:

(CBC)

Amanda Kessel and Eric Radford

(CBC)

Brian McGrattan and Vanessa James

(CBC)

Bruno Gervais and Ekaterina Gordeeva

(CBC)

Colton Orr and Amanda Evora

(CBC)

Natalie Spooner and Andrew Poje

(CBC)

Sheldon Kennedy and Kaitlyn Weaver

(CBC)

Violetta Afanasieva

(CBC)

P.J. Stock will be joining Violetta after Colby (below) was injured

(CBC)

Colby Armstrong will not be competing due to injury.

From the comments: ‘A very sad and sickening story.’ Readers respond to B.C. teen’s suspected overdose, filmed by his peers

August 21st, 2019 General News

Source: The Globe and Mail: SAMANTHA MCCABE

 

Readers are responding to Nancy MacDonald’s reporting on the tragic story of teen Carson Crimeni’s death, which has left his family devastated and his community in B.C.’s Lower Mainland dismayed.

The 14-year-old was constantly bullied in school, his peers say, often about the fact that he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had few friends. On the evening of Aug. 7, some older teenagers invited him to the local skate park, where they took drugs that friends say Carson likely had never taken before. In the hours that followed videos were posted to social media that showed him profusely sweating, breathing irregularly and losing his ability to speak, all as the young men laughed and catcalled him.

According to police, potential charges are a long way off, as they are still working through the evidence and examining each of the 114 tips that have come in.

 

Readers are responding to Nancy MacDonald’s reporting on the tragic story of teen Carson Crimeni’s death, which has left his family devastated and his community in B.C.’s Lower Mainland dismayed.

The 14-year-old was constantly bullied in school, his peers say, often about the fact that he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had few friends. On the evening of Aug. 7, some older teenagers invited him to the local skate park, where they took drugs that friends say Carson likely had never taken before. In the hours that followed videos were posted to social media that showed him profusely sweating, breathing irregularly and losing his ability to speak, all as the young men laughed and catcalled him.

According to police, potential charges are a long way off, as they are still working through the evidence and examining each of the 114 tips that have come in.

 

I’d like to hear if the RCMP have any leads or if they expect to press charges. This story is a couple weeks old now. Considering it was on social media you’d think they would’ve charged someone by now.

EFredstrom

I can’t even imagine what the young bystanders and their families are going through: hiding? conjuring alibis? Please step forward, out of respect for yourselves and Carson’s family. If you humbly admit your wrongs, the punishment will be less harsh and you will feel less guilt and shame. As what Tom D said, reach out for forgiveness. If you do not right your wrongs, you will be haunted by [it] for the rest of your lives.

El Guapo 66

A very sad and sickening story. Lots of kids are becoming detached from reality and view themselves as merely spectators through a screen.

Keep your Opinions sharp and informed. Get the Opinion newsletter.

From the Comments is designed to highlight interesting and thoughtful contributions from our readers. Some comments have been edited for clarity. Everyone can read the comments but only subscribers will be able to contribute. Thank you to everyone furthering debate across our site.

Ottawa-area priest found guilty of sexually abusing boys in 1960s and '70s

Ottawa-area priest found guilty of sexually abusing boys in 1960s and ’70s

July 8th, 2019 General News

Source:

An Ottawa-area priest preyed on vulnerable teens, luring them with sports and alcohol as he gratified his sexual desires, an Ontario court said last week in finding him guilty of sexual assault-related charges linked to incidents in the 1960s and ’70s.

In 2017, William McGrory was charged with indecent assault and gross indecency — outdated offences that no longer exist in the Criminal Code — in connection with three complainants, but court documents say one of them died, prompting two counts of the offences to be dropped.

McGrory pleaded not guilty and his lawyers argued that his accusers, identified only as J.B. and R.G., were not credible because there were inconsistencies in their accounts.

During a seven-day trial before a judge alone that began in April, court heard the boys, now in their 60s, had difficult family situations and grew close to McGrory, who was involved in church youth groups. The priest would play football and hockey with them, then drink alcohol with them afterward, court heard.

He would also invite boys to visit him at his rectory in Richmond, Ont., to do chores or watch sports, court heard. It was there that McGrory sexually abused them, though one of the complainants said it also happened at his home, court heard. MORE

Boy Scouts of America, abuse, scandal sexual abuse

Hundreds of former Boy Scouts reveal new sexual abuse claims, exposing 150 alleged pedophiles

April 24th, 2019 General News

SOURCE: Cara Kelly, USA TODAYPublished 5:00 a.m. ET April 24, 2019 | Updated 11:35 a.m. ET April 24, 2019

 

More than 200 individuals have come forward with new allegations of sexual abuse by members of the Boy Scouts of America in recent weeks as a trio of law firms seek to uncover unidentified child abusers.

A few of the victims are young, still underage or in their 20s, but many have held their secrets close for decades.

“Nobody would have listened to me,” said James Kretschmer, 56, who says a leader groped him at a Boy Scouts camp when he was in middle school. “The problem is, then you think, ‘Is it something I did? What was I doing, was it my fault? If I hadn’t done whatever, he wouldn’t have done that.’ It took me years and years to realize it wasn’t that little child’s fault. It was the adult who had control.”

Samuel, 17, said he was fondled by a leader a decade ago, who told him, “Don’t say anything.

“For awhile, I lived with those three words,” Samuel said. “That’s why I didn’t say anything.”

Advised by Tim Kosnoff, an attorney who has litigated more than a thousand cases of sexual misconduct against organizations such as the Scouts and the Mormon church, the group of attorneys said it has identified 150 alleged pedophiles never before publicly accused.

The law firms began running TV and Google ads encouraging victims to sign on as clients for a potential lawsuit after a report in December that Boy Scouts of America prepared for a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The volume already gathered could double the number of legal cases the organization already is facing, although a bankruptcy would halt existing and future litigation, the attorneys told USA TODAY. MORE

'I tried to bury it down': NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says he was sexually abused as a child, respect, training, abuse training, sexual abuse prevention, Canada abuse

‘I tried to bury it down’: NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says he was sexually abused as a child

April 24th, 2019 General News

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has claimed in a new memoir that a taekwondo coach sexually abused him when he was 10 years old.

“When it happened, I didn’t know what to think,” Singh told The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti. “I felt a lot of shame and guilt, which I know is normal when you go through something like this.”

The politician revealed the abuse claim in his new book, Love & Courage: My Story of Family, Resilience, and Overcoming the Unexpected, released Tuesday.

Singh told Tremonti that the coach spotted the young boy’s enthusiasm for the sport and singled him out for extra training at his home through a special program.

“The program, really, was a guise to sexually assault me,” Singh said.

“Even now when I think back, it’s almost unimaginable that someone would go to such lengths to set up a way to assault a little kid.”

Singh said that the coach is now deceased. A representative for the politician, referring to the coach as “Mr. N”, said that he was never charged in relation to the abuse, which is alleged to have happened in Windsor, Ont., in the late 1980s.

The CBC has not independently verified the account, and is not revealing the coach’s full name. MORE

Former youth track stars allege sexual abuse by high-profile coach, respect group, training, abuse, sport, prevention

Former youth track stars allege sexual abuse by high-profile coach

April 22nd, 2019 General News, Respect in Sport

Source: Vancouver Sun,

LORI CULBERT

Chris Dallin was a teenage track and field star who set two Canadian records in hurdles, won gold at the 1981 Canada Summer Games, and caught the eye of national coaches dazzled by his speed and strength.

On the outside, Dallin was a tall, attractive athlete with an intense determination to succeed and a growing collection of medals. On the inside, he said, he was wounded, struggling to understand why he had been “sexually assaulted” by one of the most important people in his life.

“It was the single most excruciatingly difficult event of my life,” the Ladner resident said.

“The world is basically your oyster. And then the world is a closed loop and there is no freedom — everything has been taken away from you in a matter of a second.

“I remember the sadness rolling over me. And the confusion.”

Dallin is one of at least five men who have provided statements to the Athletics Canada Commissioner’s Office, which is investigating sexual-abuse allegations against high profile track coach Ken Porter, who for 50 years turned hundreds of talented youth into the country’s highest performing track stars.

No criminal charges have been laid, despite a complaint being made to police in 2007, and none of the accusations has been tested or proven in court. Through his lawyer, Porter maintained his innocence.

“Mr. Porter categorically denies the allegations made against him. He has been a well-respected volunteer in track and field for over 50 years and has always conducted himself in a professional manner,” said lawyer Fady Mansour.

Postmedia has spoken to four of the men who contacted Athletics Canada, the national governing body for track and field. All were teenagers competing for the Edmonton Olympic Club in the 1970s and all were coached by Porter.

None of them told club officials, their parents or police about the alleged abuse at the time, because of a combination of shame, confusion and not wanting to ruin their chances of making the national track team or winning university scholarships.

“I should have told somebody. But when you are young and you want to be a great athlete and you know that your coach is your ticket to greatness, you will do anything to stay with him,” said Dallin, 56, a branding consultant who said he has struggled since the alleged assaults with low-self-esteem, major depression and anxiety. MORE

CONTACT US

Copyright © Respect Group Inc. All rights reserved.