Posts in Sheldon Kennedy

Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders Webinar

August 5th, 2020 Activity Leaders, Respect in Sport, Sheldon Kennedy

Join our co-founder Sheldon Kennedy and the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association for this free, online orientation event!

In this webinar, you will learn all about the Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders, an online certification program designed to provide SPRA members a useful tool to recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

Program Elements include:
-Power Dynamics
-Legal Responsibility and “Duty of Care”
-Hazing
-Physical Development
-Preventing Bullying, Abuse, Harassment and Discrimination (BAHD)
-Mental Health Outcomes Due to BAHD Behaviours
-Concussion and Injury Management
-Positive Emotions

Access to the program will become available to SPRA members at a reduced rate after this introductory webinar.

There is no cost to attend.

Register Here

Sheldon Kennedy announced as part of Manitoba Sport Hall of Fame Class of 2020

July 31st, 2020 Sheldon Kennedy

July 29, 2020 – Winnipeg, MB – The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame announced the class of 2020 today, revealing the eight individuals and one team mini-dynasty who will be inducted into our hallowed halls this year.

The individual inductees are:

  • Marilyn Fraser (Builder) – Athletics
  • Baxter Humby (Athlete) – Muay Thai/Kickboxing
  • Sheldon Kennedy (Athlete/Builder) – Hockey/Multi-Sport
  • Ruth Klassen (Athlete) – Volleyball
  • Ralph Lyndon (Athlete) – Multi-Sport
  • Paul Robson (Builder) – Multi-Sport
  • Jennifer Saunders (Athlete) – Racquetball
  • Ed Werenich (Athlete) – Curling

 

The team inductees are:

  • 1996/1997 University of Manitoba Bisons (Team) – Basketball

 

Click here to read the inductees Bio

The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame will not be hosting our annual Induction Ceremonies this year, but instead will formally induct the new class of honoured members when COVID-19 conditions allow us to host such a celebration.

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“As we announce the names of these deserving inductees who will forever be a part of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, we are grateful that these athletes, builders and teams will inspire and motivate generations for years to come, and we are excited to be celebrating their extraordinary accomplishments and contributions to sport in our province. Congratulations to the inductee class of 2020! ”   Jeff Hnatiuk , President & CEO, Sport Manitoba

“Once again, this is a remarkable class of inductees that reflects the diverse spectrum of sport. They personify the kind of commitment and excellence that our sport community aspires to and is inspired by, and we are thrilled to have them join the ranks of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. It is especially important to take the time to reflect on and celebrate our sport heritage during today’s trying times.”   Don MacDonald , Chair of the Board of Directors, Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame

About 

A program of Sport Manitoba, the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame’s mandate is to collect, preserve, showcase and celebrate the history and heritage of sport excellence in Manitoba. For more information, please visit their website.

Sport Manitoba is a not-for-profit organization and the lead planning, programming and funding agency for the development of amateur sport in Manitoba. Located at 145 Pacific Avenue in Winnipeg, Sport Manitoba partners with over 100 organizations to deliver sport in the province and is responsible for programs including the  Manitoba Games powered by Manitoba Hydro, Sport Manitoba Coaching, Team Manitoba, Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, Fit Kids Healthy Kids, and KidSport. Services provided include the  Sport Manitoba Clinic, Sport Manitoba Performance, Sport Manitoba Fitness Center, and the Paul Robson Resource Center for Leadership and Coaching.

Source: http://www.sportmanitoba.ca

Podcast with Sheldon Kennedy – The Boiling Point

July 28th, 2020 Respect in the Workplace, Sheldon Kennedy

This podcast features a powerful conversation between Dave Veale, Dr. Bill Howatt and Sheldon Kennedy. Thank you to The Boiling Point for this great opportunity!

PODCAST: TIME TO STOP BULLYING WITH RESPECT IN THE WORKPLACE

“Sheldon Kennedy, former NHL player and long time advocate of Respect in the Workplace and Respect in Sport, shares his journey helping to educate people and build awareness.

Having Sheldon Kennedy join us for an episode of Shifting the Employee Experience helped us to solidify a point we’ve been hearing throughout this partnership project, which is that in order to start prioritizing #mentalhealth and #mentalwellbeing in the workplace, we need to start talking.

Sheldon and his work with Respect Group have shown what can happen when we all start speaking out about our experiences and start to have these sometimes difficult conversations. Make sure you listen to his episode to hear even more about steps you can take along your path to Shift the Employee Experience.”

Click here to listen to this amazing podcast.

About The Boiling Point Podcast:

“Hosted by Greg & Dave, these thought-provoking interviews with entrepreneurs, thought leaders and movement makers revolve around the experiences and the moments that shaped their careers. Get inspired by these adventurous business leaders who are doing good, being sustainable, achieving work-life balance, promoting a healthy lifestyle and more. Get great advice on the next steps you can take in your business, career and life. Our show – a “must listen podcast” according to Workopolis and the Dragon’s Den – is meant to inform and spark positive change in business and the world.”

Sheldon Kennedy statement on receiving the Order of Sport award 2020

May 27th, 2020 Sheldon Kennedy

For Release May 27, 2020 at 9 AM MT

CALGARY, May 27, 2020 – Respect Group congratulates our Co-Founder, Sheldon Kennedy on receiving the Order of Sport award 2020. “We are forever proud of Sheldon’s tireless crusade to prevent maltreatment in sport” said Wayne McNeil, Co-Founder of Respect Group, “This award is a great acknowledgement of that incredible contribution.”

Please read below for Sheldon’s statement.

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First off, I’d like to congratulate all inductees this year, and in the past, for their significant contributions to our country through sport.

I was truly shocked and humbled when I received the call stating that I had been selected to become a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.  Who would have thunk! I immediately wanted to accept this honour on behalf of all who have helped, and continue to help, make a difference in the areas so important to me personally and society as a whole.  Be it progressive sport leaders or our incredible team at Respect Group, I have not done this alone.

This induction tells Canada and the world that child protection and keeping sport safe and welcoming for all those who participate is a priority. Together, through passionate leadership and understanding, we have made sport a better place and, after 23 years, we continue to move that bar.

Thank you, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, for recognizing my efforts. On behalf of myself and my family I am sincerely grateful!

 

 

 

 

Sheldon Kennedy  CM AOE OM

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About Respect Group Inc.

Respect Group (www.respectgroupinc.com) was incorporated in 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). Respect Group is made up of a team of over 30 talented individuals whose passion is to create a global culture of Respect. As Canada’s leading on-line provider of prevention education related to BAHD, Respect Group has certified over 1.3 Million Canadians involved in sport, schools and the workplace.

For any inquiries please contact Sheldon.info@respectgroupinc.com

Podcast with Sheldon Kennedy – Beyond the Checkbox

March 11th, 2020 Sheldon Kennedy

This podcast features a powerful conversation between Dr. Ryan Todd and Sheldon Kennedy. Thank you to Headversity for this great opportunity! Click here to watch it:

“Sheldon Kennedy is a former NHL player and has led numerous initiatives that have advocated for children and victims of abuse. Most recently he’s founded the Respect Group, which has certified over 1.3 Million people in workplaces across Canada in bullying, harassment, and discrimination training. On this episode, Sheldon shares his remarkable story as an abuse victim and how these experiences have shaped his life, including the revelation where he discovered he was responsible for his mental health.” -Dr. Ryan Todd

Sheldon Kennedy statement on receiving the Order of Hockey In Canada 2020

February 13th, 2020 Sheldon Kennedy

“Upon reflection of receiving the Order of Hockey in Canada, I sincerely feel that this award represents far more than just “Sheldon” accomplishments. This recognition, is clearly for an amazing Team Effort.

First off, my good friend of 23 years and business partner, Wayne McNeil, deserves as much credit as I do for sharing, and delivering on, our common vision. For the 10’s of thousands of disclosure letters I have received since 1997, after my story broke, my gratitude to each of you for baring your souls and for your courage. Your words reminded me that this is not an isolated issue and kept me going!

Thank you to Hockey Canada for your leadership in making Speak Out mandatory in 1997 for all coaches. In my mind, a bold step and the REAL beginning of the Safe Sport Movement in Canada, and, perhaps the world! And to all of the proactive sport leaders who have taken their own bold steps to make RESPECT education a requirement. You have created a sport environment that values child protection as priority one. Not a button or a poster, but the real deal. Of course, there is more to be done and there always will be.

But let’s pause for a moment, accept this award together, and commit to continuing this unique collaboration to keep Canadian kids safe and respected while they enjoy the wonderment of sport!”

SHELDON KENNEDY

THE MENTAL GAME, hockey Canada, sport, Sheldon Kennedy, sport, hockey, respect

THE MENTAL GAME

April 24th, 2019 Respect in Sport, Sheldon Kennedy

For Jonah Chambers, no other sport he’s played has been as challenging, both mentally and emotionally, as hockey

Scott Taylor
April 24, 2019

Jonah Chambers played volleyball and loved it, but he didn’t have to create a pre-game routine for himself. He was a decent rugby player, but he didn’t have to start his pre-game prep as early as he does at the rink.

Chambers is one of two outstanding netminders with the Calgary Buffaloes, who are representing the Pacific Region at the 2019 TELUS Cup.

Playing alongside talented Garin Bjorklund, the 17-year-old Chambers had a 1.80 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 15 regular-season games. He also played three games with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Calgary Canucks.

His coach, Brent Harrison is an on-ice performance coach at Skillz, Skating and Shooting Center in Calgary. He calls Chambers, “a great teammate, who has made the Buffaloes a very successful team this season.”

“He’s a really good kid,” said Harrison. “Most importantly he’s been a good teammate. We have two very good goalies and we decided, at playoff time that we’d go with our hot goalie, Garin. Jonah didn’t play a game in the playoffs and I think that was tough for him because when Garin left to play in the [World Under-17 Hockey Challenge], Jonah stepped in and carried us while Garin was gone.

“So, we rode the other guy throughout the playoffs, but Jonah was an outstanding teammate. He led the cheers for Garin and supported him every way he could. Jonah never complained and he handled the situation really well. You can’t have a successful team without people like Jonah on your roster.”

For Jonah, who grew up in Winnipeg, started playing goal at age nine because “I wasn’t a very good player,” and arrived in Calgary as a 13-year-old who knew virtually no one in his new hometown, being a part of this tremendous Buffaloes team has made it easy to be a supportive No. 2 netminder.

“I’ve found it’s really hard for a goaltender to be mentally tough all the time,” Chambers explained. “I like to go into every game thinking that I’m going to start. I always do my pre-game prep as if I’m going to play. Even as a back-up you have to be mentally prepared to play at all times.

“I also make it a point, as best I can, to keep it loose in the room. And in warm-up, when I get into the net and Garin is just skating around, I try my best to always challenge our shooters. I do my best to stop them in order to get their compete-level up. Goaltending is so much harder mentally than anything I’ve experienced in all the other sports I’ve played so I created my own pre-game routine that I have used for the past two or three years.

“It’s hard to be a backup. Everyone wants to play and I’m no different, but we have such a good team, Garin is such a strong goaltender and we have such a great room, that it’s easier for me to accept the fact that I might not play as much as I’d like.”

If Chambers sounds like a rather exceptional, caring 17-year-old, he is. And to him, the mental game is just as important away from the rink as it is on the ice.

“When I was at St. Matthews School in Grade 9, a counselor selected me and two classmates to attend a mental health conference,” he said. “I think he chose me because I was a hockey player and (former NHLer) Sheldon Kennedy would be there.

“A lot of the speakers there were excellent, but the speaker who really grabbed me was Sheldon Kennedy. The part that really took hold of me was when he was going through all that trouble at a high level of junior hockey and yet he couldn’t or didn’t speak up about it. Not being able to speak up is something that just got to me. MORE

Sheldon Kennedy, mp Kristy duncan, ottawa, sport, abuse, sport abuse, coach, coach abuse, sport coach abuse,

Making sports safer for kids is a never-ending fight

February 19th, 2019 Respect in Sport, Sheldon Kennedy
The Star

 

On Wednesday of this week in Sarnia, gymnastics coach Dave Brubaker was acquitted of sexual assault and sexual exploitation. The former national women’s team coach had been accused by a former athlete, who was deemed credible by the court, but the judge cited police errors in the course of the investigation. Brubaker walked.

Also this week, the CBC released the results of a data-driven investigation that showed that over the past 20 years, at least 222 coaches in Canadian amateur sport had been convicted of sexual offences with more than 600 victims who were under 18 at the time of the offence. Some people who knew better professed to be shocked.

 

“This isn’t a shock,” says Sheldon Kennedy, the founder of the Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre. “The centre does 150 new investigations every month, and that’s just in Calgary. And they’re talking about 20 years.”

But the CBC spurred conversation, even if the conversation was already underway. Friday afternoon, Sports Minister Kirsty Duncan was in Red Deer, with her provincial and territorial counterparts, announcing The Red Deer Declaration, which they said committed to gender equity in sport by 2024, zero tolerance to abuse, and some other principles.

“Athletes must be at the centre of everything we do,” Duncan said. “They are not commodities. They are people, and they need to be respected.”

Principles are only a start, though; check the London Declaration of 2001. This is another try. Nothing like this moves quickly. But sometimes, it moves.

It is disturbingly easy to look at the sports system in Canada and especially the United States in a vacuum and conclude something is wrong. In 2018, doctor Larry Nassar was convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of girls in U.S. gymnastics, and the cover-up appears to have extended to both USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. In Canada, Brubaker skated, but national ski coach Bernard Charest was convicted last year of 37 sex-related charges.

There are many more examples. In December of 2018, Wrestling Canada took the unusual step of making an internal report on its culture — replete with harassment, sexism, sexual relationships between coaches and athletes and officials, among other problems — public. The federation expressed contrition, while detailing steps toward safer sport.

Like the #MeToo movement, it all has the feeling of long-hidden truths surfacing, and in concert with society, the urgency over the conversation has ratcheted up significantly in the past two or three years. There is as much urgency now as there has ever been. Skiers who were abused by Charest are suing Alpine Canada in Quebec for $1.35 million, including $450,000 in non-insured punitive damages.

“Don’t you think we can learn from what happened in the United States?” says Lorraine Lafrenière, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada. “Didn’t USA Gymnastics have to declare bankruptcy?”

 

“There was no more room, and it was time for the explosion,” said one Canadian sports executive. “It’s cumulative.”

But it’s gotten better, too. Kennedy and his partner Wayne McNeil have been at the forefront of safety and training in sport for over 20 years, since Kennedy came forward after being sexually abused by his junior hockey coach, Graham James. They have seen everything evolve.

“We were laughed out of rooms,” says McNeil. “And people said it was a hockey problem or it’s not as big a deal. Today they say, we need this (coach and parent training) program as a recruitment and retention tool. And if you don’t have it, then that’s a problem.”

Kennedy talks about how it used to be all about catching the bad guy, and over the years he has come to realize prevention — strengthening the bystander, creating common and shared language on abuse, creating a culture that abhors criminal acts, but also bullying or discrimination or harassment, fostering a belief that safety trumps everything else — is critical.

“I think the gaps, from what we can see, (are in the) reporting structure and the follow-up structure,” Kennedy says. “Campaigns around telling people talk, talk, talk, and when people reach out for help that’s hard to find. That’s the gap. This has got to be an independent funded entity, that’s going to make sure that it handles these issues properly for all sports and youth-serving organizations across the country. It’s got to be robust.”

Duncan says they are working on a third-party reporting entity. It would cost money. Quebec tried something similar, and the system was overwhelmed. According to the CBC, the number of coaches charged and convicted virtually doubled from 1998-2008 to the following decade.

Which, most likely, is good news. Kennedy will tell you: The problem has been there all along. More cases almost certainly means more people are actually speaking aloud.


So what next? Duncan, a former gymnast and longtime dance coach, has been sports minister for a little over a year. Her government faces an election in the fall, and has had itself a tumultuous week.

“When I came into this role about a year ago, my number one priority was addressing abuse, discrimination, harassment in sport,” Duncan said in an interview this week. “It is a system problem, it is a culture problem.”

But she seems committed. Lafrenière says she has never seen as much interest on safe sport from any sports minister. Ahmed El-Awadi, the head of Swimming Canada and a co-chair of Duncan’s safe sport working group, thinks there is a chance for significant change. There are signs actual initiatives could be unveiled next week.

“Here’s what people need to understand: Predators will never be completely eradicated,” says Lafrenière. “So what they do is they find an industry — the Catholic Church, say — and take advantage of its weakness. Then they went to Scouts. They found a weakness and they used that. And that’s what happened in sport, because we’re such a volunteer-driven country in sport, which is beautiful but it’s also the problem. So yes, sport has a problem. But this is a bigger problem.

“Things like (#MeToo) have pushed it forward. I think that’s good. I think that’s a change we need to see in the sports system, and in every system. It’s allowed us to say out loud as a system: No, it’s not performance over safety.”

Beyond the independent third-party reporting system, goals could include a harmonized code of conduct, and a harmonized code of sanctions. There are already pilot programs to give poorer sports access to the investigative resources the bigger federations can afford, and that seems likely to become policy. In a country where the RCMP can’t legally publish the names of child sex offenders, El-Awadi thinks Swimming Canada has a solution. Coaches have to recertify every September, and starting this year will have to sign a waiver that specifies any disciplinary procedure will be noted, and will be published online.

“Hopefully, reading these articles (athletes) say, it’s OK,” says El-Awadi. “It’s OK to say something. It’s OK to tell. You don’t have to call us. You can tell your aunt, your friend, you can go right to the police. We hope that the more we do these interviews, the more they get inspired to say: I have a story. I need to tell somebody.”


Words, actions, policies, money: all of them are needed, some more than others. A chance to get better, is what this is. It isn’t pass-fail; it’s fail less, every year.

“We can create this, and this lightning-rod week will actually make people do it faster,” says Lafrenière. “If we have the same conversation two years from now and we have not done our job, then the system is at risk of being dissolved.”

Nobody believes complete safety will ever be achieved. But what’s the point of sports if it doesn’t protect our children as well as it can? Better can happen; it already has. It just can’t ever stop.

 

Sheldon Kennedy Statement

February 11th, 2019 Respect in Sport, Sheldon Kennedy

 

Sheldon Kennedy and Respect Group fully support the necessary systematic changes required to improve sport to ensure the safety of our youth. We believe that the vast majority of coaches, working with our youth, are there for the right reasons. It has been our goal to educate them on all forms of maltreatment so they have the confidence to carry out their “duty of care”. We will continue that charge.

 

 

About Respect Group Inc.

Respect Group (respectgroupinc.com) was incorporated on April 5th, 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). As Canada’s leading on-line provider of prevention education related to BAHD, Respect Group has certified over 1.2 Million Canadians involved in sport, schools and the workplace. Respect Group is a Certified B Corporation (bcorporation.net).

 

For more information about Respect Group: www.respectinsport.com

 

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CPC / COC Joint Statement

cpc, coc, Canadian olympic committee abuse statement, sport, Canada, abuse,

February 10, 2019

Statement Regarding Safe Sport: Tricia Smith, President Canadian Olympic Committee, Marc-André Fabien, President Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees stand for sport free of harassment, abuse or discrimination of any kind. We are committed to the health and safety of all who play or work for the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic teams and to doing our part to ensure safe sport is the standard.

We will both be in Red Deer, Alberta, next weekend, for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. We look forward to meeting with the Minister of Sport and our partners in the sport system to advance this important conversation and to take action to better safeguard those in sport today and into the future.

Part of our talks will focus on better harmonized mechanisms and actions to address harassment, abuse, and discrimination in the areas of awareness, prevention, reporting, management, and monitoring. The goal is to ensure a common understanding among stakeholders and supporting the safest possible environment for all participants from the club level all the way to Team Canada.

The COC and CPC will be strong and influential voices committed to driving meaningful improvements on this critical issue.

 

 

Sheldon Kennedy has spent most of his adult life fighting the good fight

January 31st, 2019 Sheldon Kennedy

SOURCE: THE STAR

Sheldon Kennedy was tired. How could he not be tired? Everyone gets worn out at some point by the grind of work, responsibilities, life. We can all buckle under the things we carry. Sheldon Kennedy just had a better reason than most.

“I really learned that I can’t, I just can’t carry all the weight,” says Kennedy. “And I didn’t realize that. Basically, I have to be healthy myself. If I’m healthy myself, then I’m going to show up the best I can for others.

“At the end of the day I don’t think it’s been anything special other than learning to listen, and understanding that I can’t fix people, but what I can do is offer to guide them to the help that they need. But I had to learn that, right?” MORE

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