Finalists and Award Winners
Program Trendsetter Award (Practices)
Kathy Johnston-Isenor, Fitness Junkies owner, uses gloves and heavy bags to channel women and girls’ innate strength and power through boxing-based bootcamp classes. She leads mommy & me classes, operates a free run club, and has offered boxing programs in several local schools. Kathy maintains a safe environment where every fitness level can succeed and encourages everyone to love themselves as they are. She has built a community of strong women (and men) who encourage and support each other, celebrate each other’s strength, and are there to help each other in times of need.
Elaine LeBlanc is the leader of ‘Les Patates Actives’; a free physical activity program offered to female students of École secondaire de Clare (ESDC). The program objective is to provide a fun opportunity for females ages 12-17 to be physically active through non-traditional activities. This program is hugely successful spanning eight years with an average attendance of 15 girls per week.
In 2014, a neighboring high school, Saint Mary’s Bay Academy (SMBA), expressed interest to offer a similar program. Les Patates Actives were eager to help and provided an assembly at the school to introduce themselves before inviting the youth from SMBA to participate in the Patates Actives Program. The program began at SMBA in the fall of 2014.
Program Trendsetter Award (People)
Roxanne Seaman, the Acadia S.M.I.L.E. program director, has done an outstanding job at promoting physical activity to girls and women with disabilities, as well as to female student volunteers. Roxanne works tirelessly to ensure the S.M.I.L.E. program is a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. She is passionate about inclusive physical activity and she truly motivates women to engage in a physically active lifestyle. Her hard work and dedication to the S.M.I.L.E. program is making a huge difference in the lives of many women of all ages and abilities in the Annapolis Valley!
Rebecca Duda is a student athlete/coach who has played at multiple levels. When the Newcomers’ Soccer Program for immigrant girls was proposed at Halifax City Soccer Club, Rebecca stepped up. Two elements that were crucial for success were the ability of the girls to dress as they pleased, and to play without any boys present. Rebecca embraced and ran with the concept. Without compromising her values she led the program with respect and authority, and served as an example to both the girls and boys.
Rebecca’s athleticism, kindness, quiet confidence, and sense of social justice shone through on the field, and impacted everyone that she worked with.
Media Trendsetter Award
Gail MacDougall recently retired as the sport editor of The Casket, a weekly newspaper in Antigonish. For years, she provided in depth coverage of the sport stories that are of greatest interest to her readers. Covering both female and male athletes and teams, no local story is ever considered too insignificant to report. Her work has been previously recognized through receipt of media awards from such groups as Atlantic University Sport, and the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation. Gail herself coaches and has inspired generations of young females in the northern part of the province.
Leadership Trendsetter Award
Kim Vaughan has worked tirelessly within the Guiding movement, as a leader and developing others to become leaders. She has mobilized the resources of the organization to assist girls to develop holistically to better understand themselves, like themselves, and become advocates for their beliefs. She has gone well beyond the call of duty to ensure that fellow leaders are properly trained, motivated, and resourced to provide high quality experiences. As such, both leaders and participants have become much more literate in the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to pursue more active, healthy lifestyles.
Karen Chassé is an integral member to Snowboard Nova Scotia (SNBS) and is a leader in the sport world as a volunteer, board member, president and technical delegate. Karen was only the second female President of Snowboard Nova Scotia, serving from 2010-2013. Karen helped the organization grow from a small local community to a provincial powerhouse on the national and international stage. During her time as President, grassroots female programming flourished. Karen acted as an advisor to the only female specific snowboard club in the Province, the “Adrenaline Divas”. Her contributions to the “Adrenaline Divas” were integral to the growth and success of this club. Karen’s legacy as a female leader in the sport industry has allowed the female athletes of Snowboard NS to flourish. Snowboard Nova Scotia is forever grateful to Karen for her dedication to both the sport of Snowboarding and to the development of our female athletes.
Wendy Bedingfield began her career as a Physical Education teacher and coach. She completed her PhD in Biomechanics and Anatomy and joined the faculty at the University of Alberta. Ten years later, Wendy came to Acadia University as an administrator and remained at Acadia until her retirement. Throughout all those years, Wendy worked to establish a better deal for women in sport. She made considerable progress in university sport and in coach education. Wendy was a founding mother of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport (CAAWS) and a leading force in the birth of WomenActiveNS. She has received the Progress Club ‘Woman of Excellence’ award and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, is a member of the Acadia University Sport Hall of Fame and has been named to the CAAWS ‘Most Influential Women in Canadian Sport and Physical Activity’ list.
June Lumsden, in her role as Director of Athletics & Recreation, has been at the helm of the wellness, physical activity and athletics movement at Mount Saint Vincent University for over 30 years. The Mount is committed to the advancement of women and June has modeled the philosophy through decades of determination and insistence that programs are inclusive for women, providing leadership opportunities and encouraging women to participate in sport, physical activity and wellness initiatives. Throughout her career, June has been an advocate of Women in Sport and gives a 100% every day ensuring that the varsity experience is successful and enriching for female athletes and coaches.
Debby Smith has worked in government, higher education, and the not for profit sector throughout her 40-year career. In each role, Debby has been a clear, consistent, powerful voice for gender equity within the sport, recreation, and physical activity sector. She understands the challenges that females face and has worked tirelessly to develop and implement strategies to reduce these barriers. Debby is extremely skilled in mobilizing and working with others in pursuit of gender equity outcomes. The scope of her related work includes research, education, policy development, and strategic planning/implementation. Debby Smith’s influence has been widespread, holistic, and sustainable with regards to fostering opportunities for females in Nova Scotia.
We congratulate all who were recognized through the nomination process. You are all leaders and champions for women and girls in Nova Scotia!
The WomenActive Trendsetter Awards is a celebration and a fundraiser for WomenActive-NS.
WomenActive-NS advocates, educates, collaborates, and promotes meaningful active living experiences and leadership opportunities to enrich the lives of all women and girls in Nova Scotia.