If you know me at all, you know that I always have some kind of elaborate story to tell. People keep asking me what I have been up to since the Olympics Games. I’ve been up to a lot! Since reading long blog posts is awful, I’ll tell you a quick tale about one of the cool projects I’m helping out with these days.
Here’s how the story starts:
I met Tony Dilawri for the first time in 2007. He was one of the many silent donors that helped back the non-profit sport program known as b2ten. I knew Tony and I would get along great the first time I met him. He is an avid adventure seeker with an abundance of energy and an endless supply of great stories. He is one of these business leaders that is quick to jump on a new idea, frequently of his own creation. Tony is a father of three and believes strongly in the messages that amateur sport delivers to kids: follow your dreams and stay active and healthy.
Tony Dilawri has been involved in supporting amateur sports for years. However, what he and the Dilawri Group have committed to now isn’t a “typical” athlete sponsorship involving the exchange of money for logos plastered all over my speedsuit and bobsleigh. The Dilawri Group has given me a car that I’m allowed to drive for 1 year. In return, I have to visit schools and talk to kids about setting goals, pursuing your dreams and having a “Passion for Excellence.” I joined my Olympic teammate Mellisa Hollingsworth in this unique initiative and between the two of us, we have spoken to thousands of kids this year.
This is how the program works: kids had to submit an online entry addressing what it means to have a “Passion for Excellence.” In it’s first year of creation, selecting the 13 winning schools was a challenge due to the program receiving an overwhelming large number of entries. It was such a wonderful and rewarding experience for Mellisa and I and I sincerely hope that the kids we spoke to felt the same way. If you want to read about the contest or check out some of the winning submissions then go to the passion for excellence website! http://www.passionforexcellence.ca
The positive benefits of sports at a grass roots and community level can never be overlooked. I know first hand the impact that sport has had on my life, and on the lives of all of the athletes that represented Canada at the Olympics. Sport teaches us to set goals, follow our dreams and shows us how to be leaders. We acquire confidence and communication skills and begin to implement the tools that will allow us to remain healthy and active throughout our lives. One of the greatest accomplishments of my life was standing on the Olympic podium in February of 2010 but one of the most rewarding outcomes of that medal has been the platform it gave me to share my story with the youth of Canada. Providing kids with the inspiration and opportunity to be involved in sport and active healthy lifestyle will benefit Canada for many generations to come.
Maybe meeting Tony Dilawri was an accident, or maybe everything happens for a reason. Either way I feel truly fortunate to have met a local Calgary businessman who has the financial resources to promote and facilitate a program like “Passion for Excellence.” It’s pretty rare to find a company that believes in the core values of amateur sport as much as I do.