As it is Volunteer Appreciation Month, we wanted to thank the many coaches who have volunteered endless hours investing in our children and youth. Beyond being a way to pass the time, sport is a vessel by which so many lessons about life can be learned, including perseverance, commitment, integrity, attitude, teamwork, trust, accountability, leadership and fun. So beyond being teachers of skill and strategy, coaches have the potential to massively influence the lives of children and youth.
In the work of ending gender-based violence, coaches play an infinitely important role. Athletics has in many ways been a breeding ground for inequality among genders, and has often perpetuated gender-based violence by reinforcing unhealthy and rigid gender norms. Thus, athletics also has the power to be a key cog in efforts to make change in this world. MentorAction is grateful to have the partnership of the Hamilton Tiger Cats, Hamilton Forge FC, Hamilton Bulldogs, McMaster Athletics and SportHamilton, recognizing the importance that engaging the athletic community has in this work.
At a local team/individual level, coaches have an important role to play, as mentors, advisors and teachers. We encourage coaches to speak up for gender equity, allying with women and transgender people, and holding their players accountable. Inviting our youth to be kind and inclusive, in encouraging young teens to speak out against disrespect, and in challenging the teenage athletes when they make derogatory comments about girls/transgender people, coaches have an opportunity to be a difference-maker.
Thank-you coaches for all of your efforts and continue the good work in helping to mold our next generation of respectful, ethical and loving people.
If you are interested in volunteering, reach out to a local agency or service and donate your time. MentorAction has several volunteer positions available, if you are interested in taking your #firststepfirstchange towards ending gender-based violence contact us at: www.mentoraction.org
Submitted by: Lance H (MentorAction – Chair)