The Squash BC Roving Ambassador Program is a flagship piece of our Growth Initiative. Through this program, we send experienced coaches to smaller or under-developed squash communities and facilities to promote the sport, build capacity, and mentor local coaches, volunteers, and leaders. This program is generously funded by the donors of our Building The Future Fund. Through their incredible Kickstart Fundraising Campaign, we are able to facilitate the growth of grassroots squash participation across BC!
This fall, Squash BC’s Roving Ambassador Coordinator Shawn Zwierzchowski led Roving Ambassador Tours to two provincial zones to support their squash facilities. Read on to hear about the impact of these visits.
From October 4th to 8th, Shawn visited communities in the North-East Provincial Zone. These included Prince George, Chetwynd, and Mackenzie. In total, three facilities and four local organizations were supported through the tour.
A highlight of the trip was Shawn’s time at our province’s newest squash facility: the multi-sport Mackenzie Recreation Centre. While there, Shawn led Squash in Schools programming at Mackenzie Secondary School and the students absolutely loved it! Mackenzie facility leader Emily commented on the positive impact on students in the weeks following our visit:
“The school classes had such a great experience that they are now coming here 4 days a week during their gym period to continue playing squash.”
Shawn also led several adult and youth Try Squash programs in each of the communities he visited. Overall, 106 people participated in the Roving Ambassador programming, with over 60% being juniors and nearly 45% being female. This represents the most participation Squash BC has seen in our programs in the North-East Zone in any season we have active records for!
In addition to our donors, Squash BC thanks viaSport for supporting this tour through grant funding and Engage Sport North for helping recruit program participants.
Earlier in the fall, Shawn traveled to the Okanagan Zone to visit their squash facilities. This trip focused more on assessing and developing local capacity for program delivery at the smaller squash facilities. The communities Shawn visited included: Global Fitness (Kelowna), Lakeshore Racquet Club (Summerland), Keremeos Recreation Centre, Penticton World Gym, and Osoyoos Grandstand Building.
While at several facilities, Shawn had local participants try Squash 57, a lower-impact and more accessible version of squash. This was a hit across the board, with several facilities planning to offer demo equipment for the sport. Shawn also ran several junior introductory squash sessions. At Lakeshore Racquet Club, facility leader Colleen has already seen a positive impact from the families who participated:
“Both families who brought juniors for your lesson that day have joined the club!!”
Shawn was able to provide valuable mentorship throughout the tour, which helps strengthen the relationship between Squash BC and our province’s squash facilities.
Squash BC thanks Shawn for his incredible work putting this impactful program in action this fall. As well, we are truly grateful to our Building The Future Fund donors for providing the funding to begin making our Growth Initiative a reality. Looking forward, we have more Roving Ambassador Programming planned to launch this January, with a focus on localized Ambassador Tours in the Kootenays, Northern Island, and more.