Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Lethbridge and was a career gymnastics coach and administrator until taking the manager position with the Ascent Climbing Centre in 2000. I was in Lethbridge for the majority of my gymnastics career and also at the Airdrie Gymnastics club for a couple of years. One winter, after a great ski day at Castle Mountain, I ran into a parent of a gymnast I used to coach. He encouraged me to apply for the job at the climbing wall. I wasn’t unhappy with my job at the time, but decided maybe it was a time for a career change and a move back to Lethbridge. I did get the job and, at that time, the climbing wall was run by the Southern Alberta Climbing Association and I was the solo full-time employee. When people asked what my job entailed, I would tell them I do everything from balancing the books to cleaning the toilets.
When the University was planning the 1st Choice Savings Centre addition, they approached us to see if we would be interested in moving the climbing wall over. After many meetings and discussions, we decided it was a positive move and the climbing wall was dismantled at the Enmax Centre and put back together here on campus in the summer of 2006.
How long have you been at ULethbridge and what do you do here?
I have been here for 16 great years and 22 years with the Ascent Climbing ‘badge’ on my sleeve. Because of my gymnastics background, I also took the gymnastics program under my umbrella and ran that until a few years ago. The Horns Intramurals program was then placed under my umbrella and a program that I have really learned to appreciate over the past few years. I am also a sessional instructor for the kinesiology department and teach the PHAC Gymnastics class.
What's the best part of your job?
The best parts of my job are the interactions with everyone involved. Early in my career I was introduced to the quote “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work another day in your life.” I love working with youth and our summer camps are a great time of year for me. I also run our outdoor youth programs in the Crowsnest Pass, which are the icing on the cake. I love introducing youth to outdoor pursuits. We hike Turtle Mountain, go climbing, tackle the mountain bike trails at the Pass Powder Keg and then go for an overnight adventure in the woods. Sitting around the fire listening to teenagers sing their childhood Sponge Bob songs is both entertaining and priceless. Doesn’t get much better than that.
I work with an amazing group here in Horns Recreation and my involvement with the students here on campus, in both my class and the Intramural program, is extremely rewarding and puts a smile on my face daily. We are always trying to think of ways to engage the students and provide them with opportunities outside of class during their time here with us. Beside our usual sports, we are trying some fringe activities like Spikeball and Pickleball and Esports is gaining popularity.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am an outdoor enthusiast and spend most of my weekends at my ‘happy place’ in the Crowsnest Pass. The mountain bike and hiking trails are basically right out the door and so physically and mentally rewarding. Kayaking or paddle boarding at sunset out on one of the lakes is a great way to end a day. If you have a paddle board, Park Lake is a great place to zip out for a sunset paddle. I love to spend time on my Adventure Bike (an on- and off-road motorbike) exploring in the summer and every other month I get a chance to. I can surprisingly get my motorbike out every month of almost every year. Fat biking, skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing and sledding make the best of each winter. I really look forward to retiring out there and not being a ‘weekend warrior’ but unfortunately, unless I win the lottery I don’t buy tickets for, that is a little ways away right now. I spend a lot of time with my dogs and have volunteered at the Humane Society on Monday nights for about 17+ years and volunteered on various committees with the Alberta Gymnastics Federation for coming up on 40 years. I am a firm believer that everyone should volunteer or contribute to non-profit organizations because without them, we wouldn’t have the opportunities that many people and animals rely on.
I am still involved with gymnastics teaching coaching courses and doing coach evaluations for the National Coaching Certification Program.
Home renos always seem to find their way into my life and I always have too many projects on the go, but they keep me occupied with something I have loved to do since my shop projects in high school. I am sometimes surprised that I didn’t become an engineer, or something like that, but my passion for coaching took over at a young age and here I am now with no regrets at all. Our pathways in life take us in many directions and I have learned to ‘go with the flow’ and enjoy my time to the best of my ability. We must all take the time to ‘stop and smell the roses’, which I do, but as the great John Muir saying goes, “THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING AND I MUST GO!