MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Julie Brooks, assistant coach of UOIT badminton team, was accepted as an apprentice coach by the Coaches Association of Ontario (CAO) in August 2017 and was mentored by head coach Wayne King for the past six months.
Her training involved being trained as NCCP Level I Competitive Coach in September 2017 and working with the varsity badminton team at UOIT for the entire badminton season within OUA (September to March).
"I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of 'Changing the Game, Changing the Conversation.' As a female athlete and now a female coach, my gender has always been underrepresented in sport," said Brooks. "This program was designed to bring that fact to light, and start change. The goal was to get more females into the roles of coach. I had the absolute privilege of having Wayne as my mentor throughout the program and have learned so much. I was supported by him along with the athletic program at UOIT and could not be happier about my role as assistant coach to the varsity badminton team. I look forward to our short road left to the OUA's and look forward to what my coaching career will be."
The intent of the 2017 CAO mentorship program was to work with female coaches to create a support network for those coaches where they could learn develop and build relationships within the sport and across other sports as well.
Brooks attended several workshops and accepted many responsibilities within the Ridgeback team both at practice as well as at competitions. King's intention was to provide UOIT female athletes on the badminton team with a positive role model and mentor as they progress through their own development as an athlete.
"It was really fortunate that the Change the Conversation program coincided with Julie's arrival at UOIT this season - that funding accelerated her development as a coach as CTC offered so many opportunities to connect with experienced coaches in various sports," said King. "Of course, Julie was a perfect candidate as a coach on our varsity team as she had played at OFSAA several times as a high school athlete at Ajax High, had experience on the McMaster Marauder varsity badminton team and was well aware of the kind of team that we are building at UOIT. Julie has not disappointed either as she has quickly become a vital part of our team."
On Saturday, Jan. 20, the CAO hosted the Changing the Conversation Gala at Pearson Convention Centre in Mississauga. The gala was the graduation of all 250 female apprentices and was attended by The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
Also, at the gala as guest speaker was Diane Matheson, who scored the winning goal in Canada's victory over France in the bronze medal match at the London Olympics. Her speech was a description of the transition of Canada's national women's team from the position of a talented but under-performing group to the present-day situation in which Canada is a force to be reckoned with in international soccer.
Coach Brooks will remain on the coaching staff of the UOIT badminton team as they continue to prepare for the OUA championship that is scheduled to take place from Feb. 16-18 at Ryerson University.