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Saskatoon’s Kya Kennedy (front), recipient of the 2022-2023 Fran Todd All Heart Junior Curling Award, hosted a World Cup of Curling at the Sutherland Curling Club. (Photo provided)

Five young curlers from across Canada selected as recipients of the Fran Todd All Heart Junior Curler Award

Curling Canada is supporting five new curling awareness programs, powered by the future builders of the sport, through the Fran Todd All Heart Junior Curler Award program.

The Fran Todd All Heart Junior Curler Award program is for young Canadian athletes who embody the values ​​of curling and place the highest priority on fair play, respect and inclusiveness.

These five recipients care deeply about the future makeup of the curling community across Canada. The awards give them the opportunity to launch new programs dedicated to diversity, inclusion and equity.

The 2023-24 Fran Todd All Hear Junior Curling Award recipients are:

  • Rebecca Doherty of Ottawa (RA Curling Club) – Share the love of curling with all – Implement a program to introduce students from three schools that are part of specialized programs, such as the Autism Spectrum Disorders program and the Delayed Development program, to curling during of a one-day event.
  • Madison Kleiter of Saskatoon (Sutherland Curling Club) – The Curling Connection – A diversity and inclusion awareness program focused on students in and around Saskatoon and local community groups dedicated to promoting 2SLGBTQI+ people, Indigenous communities and people with disabilities.
  • Simon Perry of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, NL (RE/MAX Centre, St. John’s Curling Club) – New Canadians in Curling – Create a program designed to grow and diversify the local curling population and help ELS students and newcomers find a sense of community. This event focuses on both teaching curling and a social component to bring members of the community together.
  • Tyler Powell of Calgary (Acadia Recreation Complex) – Rock the House – Working with the Center for Newcomers Calgary to deliver a five-week introductory curling program to new Canadians and Ukrainian refugees aged 10-18.
  • Aryn Thibault of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Swift Current Curling Club) – Community Through Curling – A three-week introductory curling program designed to introduce new Canadians to the sport through the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre.

Each honoree is passionate about using curling to connect their communities and find ways to share common experiences with people of diverse backgrounds and demographics. At its core, each program builds on these experiences and enriches lives through curling while connecting to various educational and non-profit centers dedicated to the betterment of 2SLGBTQI+ people, Indigenous development, and supporting new Canadians .

“These winners are already leaders in their communities. Their new programs improve sport for everyone in Canada and open new doors and new areas of possibility. From the award winners to the curling centers and local groups who buy into the programs, it truly takes a village to make this happen, and we thank everyone who helped make the Fran Todd All Heart Junior Curling Awards a reality,” said Curling Canada Dustin Mikush, Manager of Youth Development and Programs and member of the selection committee.

Each winner will receive an award of $2,500, split between reimbursement of personal curling-related expenses of $1,000 and a contribution of $1,500 to their curling center for operational costs related to their program.

The eight-person selection committee includes Bobby Ray (Curling Canada), Roselle Gonsalves (Curling Canada Board of Governors), Karsten Sturmay (founding member), Joan McCusker (Women in Curling Leaders’ Circle), Jackie Deschenes (curling Canada representative). member association, CurlON), Craig Baker (member association representative, CurlManitoba), Dustin Mikush (Curling Canada) and Fran Todd (honorary member).

Curling Canada’s philanthropic program, launched during the 2013-2014 season to help develop and grow youth and junior curling across Canada, received donations totaling more than $620,000 last season. Programs such as the Egg Farmers Rocks & Rings Scholarships presented by Curling Canada, Girls Rock and For the Love of Curling are only made possible through the generous support of the Canadian curling community.

Alec Dittman

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