The Compassionate City Project: A team approach to compassion
A team approach to compassion
By Ashley MacSporran
To me, compassionate city means inclusion. I’ve found with sport, there’s no boundaries and no limits. That meant having eight amazing kids specially invited to participate in the weeklong Brock women’s basketball camp and seeing it unfold into so much more.
I must admit, I got emotional at times. I heard about one of our most compassionate Badgers being bullied and having to leave a school. You wouldn’t even have guessed this young girl struggled because of the caring she showed toward others.
It was incredible seeing a couple of the girls band together to support a nervous Badger in a relay race, understanding she is just as important as the rest of the team.
Our smallest Badger faced her fear on high diving board after standing on it for two minutes and jumping off, with all of her new friends cheering her on.
We managed to cover every avenue of inclusion this week! It wasn’t just about being on a disability spectrum, which is what made this week so awesome! I have ideas already how we can make it flow better and continue to be inclusive. It may be exhausting and require planning and hard work, but we have really changed lives this week: campers, community, Brock Badgers staff and myself!
I could not have done it without my amazing staff! I knew I recruited character girls and they proved it this week. There are countless stories of them going BEYOND the call of duty without me even knowing it.
I did not ask them if this project was something they wanted to do, I just planned it and they jumped on board. Courtney McPherson (a transfer from Niagara College and Greg McPherson’s sister) may be one of the best young women I have had the pleasure of coaching and we haven’t had a season together yet. Having Greg present all week was amazing! His energy and excitement for the game is infectious. The girls loved having Greg be a part of camp. I am even more excited about my future Badgers. The high school ones as well, who wanted to volunteer this week.
The goal may have been to be inclusive to help teach the players about inclusion and how sports can break boundaries but I think what happened was that they taught us — the Brock Badger players, coaches and a community — how to be better and how to be compassionate toward others. That is what made this week so special!
There is always something more than the game going on. We don’t always see it, but this week we were lucky to be a part of something above the game.
Niagara this Week is proud to support the Compassionate City Project with this first of a monthly series reflecting on the experience of one of the project ambassadors. For more on the Compassionate City initiative, visit www.compassionatestc.ca. Join the conversation with #CompassionateSTC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.