Getting Active, and Going in the Direction of Your Dreams

A group of students poses with a badminton champion

It’s not every day you get to see your teachers face off against an Olympic athlete. But that’s just what happened at Grandview Public School recently. Charmaine Reid, an Olympian and Pan-Am badminton champion, has visited a number of Grand Erie elementary schools this fall for a high-energy demonstration that got students and staff up and moving, with an important message to boot.

“If you swing and you miss, the most important thing is that you tried,” Reid told the crowd of students at Grandview. “Even when you’re scared, go for it! Give it a try!”

Reid used the visit to promote healthy, active living, and to highlight the importance of perseverance – something to which she credits her own success. Reid is a Pan American Games gold medalist who has competed in 57 countries, mentored fellow athletes, and is a television commentator and court-side presenter. All of these successes she attributes to being a kid with a dream who just kept trying.

“What happens when you practice?” Reid asks the crowd of students. “You get better. I promise!”

Throughout her visit, Reid alternated between motivational speaking and active demonstrations, with the help of Dustin Fenemore, who was assisting with the physical activities. She taught a number of students basic moves, which they then had a chance to practice with her. But the most fun was had when she recruited a few teachers, including Cory Eisenbach, Cheri Authier, Sarah Elliott, and Eliza Hawthorne, to give it their best. The teachers had a respectable showing, and were all great sports.

Students pose in the gym

Reid’s presentation also brought the announcement of a special donation, care of Canadian Tire’s Jump Start Foundation, which is providing schools with badminton racquets, shuttlecocks, and safety googles. Grandview plans to start a badminton club with the new equipment.

There are many benefits to a sport like badminton. It doesn’t require much equipment or start-up costs, increases endurance and flexibility, is social, and provides a great cross-over exercise for training in other sports. It’s also the second most played sport in the world. For Reid, who hails from Fort Erie and spent summers as a kid playing badminton at sports camps in Brantford, delivering her empowering message is a natural step on her professional trajectory.

Encouraging physical activity is important, and is highlighted in Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan through its Well-Being indicator. The plan prioritizes environments that are healthy, recognizing the well-being of mind, body, emotion, and spirit of students and staff. Also recognized within the Multi-Year Plan are the community partners whose contributions enhance the learning and experiences of students. Thanks to Reid and Jump Start, students will be reaping the benefits of extra movement as well as shooting for the stars when it comes to their goals.

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