Sport for Human and Social Development: Whole Athletes, Whole Communities

Recorded Date: January 21, 2021

Sport has the power to shape and inspire whole communities.

Many will recall the galvanizing impact of the 1988 and 2010 winter Olympics on the cities of Calgary and Vancouver. And according to research by the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport, most Canadians consider sport participation to be a priority with more than eight in ten believing sport participation actively promotes positive values in youth such as teamwork, commitment to a goal or purpose, hard work, striving for excellence, fair play, the courage to try new things and respect for others. However, most Canadians also believe that the sport we have is not the sport we want and more needs to be done in terms of education and development to align sport with core societal values such as respect, accessibility, fairness, integrity, and trust.

Dr. Jennifer Walinga from the School of Communication and Culture hosts a session with a panel of athletes, researchers and sport enthusiasts including Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood, Krista Van Slingerland, Matt Young and Tom Hall. In this episode, we discussed what it takes to achieve the sport we want, for sport to shape whole athletes and whole communities. 


Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood former all Canadian basketball player, now a licensed psychologist and adjunct faculty at the University of Manitoba, Adrienne has extensive experience working with athletes in both Canada and the United States at all levels of performance. She is currently Director of Mental Performance at the Canadian Sport Center Manitoba and faculty member at the University of Manitoba. Within her consulting and professional practice she focuses on empowering people to manage their humanity so they are able to maximize their human potential. She works hard to ensure that people are able to fully enjoy their entire life experience (the highs and lows) and that they are continually learning and growing both as a person and performer.

Krista Van Slingerland is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ottawa researching mental health and mental illness in competitive and high-performance athletes. Krista became interested in this area of study following her own struggles with mental illness as a university athlete, which illuminated harsh realities about the sport system and culture that can deter help-seeking and diminish the importance of mental health. Krista co-founded the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI) in 2013, a charity devoted to promoting and protecting the mental health of Canada’s university athletes. A conference All-Star for the uOttawa Gee-Gees, Krista is now working with Dr. Natalie Durand-Bush to design, implement, and evaluate a Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sport (CCMHS) that will feature specialized, interdisciplinary mental health services for competitive and high-performance athletes and coaches.

Matt Young is a passionate health, recreation & sport servant leader who believes that supporting quality athletic achievement is good for our children, communities, and society. World record holder for the cross-national bike relay, Matt raised over 1M for juvenile diabetes. Matt has 25 years of experience in the allied health care sector where we was recognized as one of British Columbia & Canada's Top 40 U 40 business leaders, has 15 years experience of coaching at the grassroots level. An active entrepreneur, he is the Founder of Personal Sport Record, Innovative Fitness, 60-minute Kids Club, and now the Quality Sport Hub and has raised over 6M for charity. Matt now consults sport organizations locally, nationally, and internationally on physical literacy & long term athlete development resources, tools and supports.

Tom Hall has a diverse background in marketing and communications and has worked for many of Canada’s largest and most respected publications as a writer and/or editor. As a respected leader in the Canadian sport system, he has worked for over a decade to make the national team athlete journey as safe, fair, and healthy as possible. The former executive director of AthletesCAN, he helped develop athlete leaders and advocated for athlete funding and athlete rights. Now, as national manager of Game Plan, Canada’s total athlete wellness program, he is proud to be supporting a team of Game Plan advisors as they help Canada’s athletes develop, not just as high performing athletes, but also as well-rounded individuals. As a multi medalist sprint canoe athlete, he is proud to be giving back to his sport as vice-president of CanoeKayak Canada.

Learn more about the Sport, Leadership, and Social Change webinar series.

Communication, Leadership, Management, Resilience