The 2023 SOS Coaches Symposium took place in Elk Ridge Resort from October 13-15. In attendance were just under 60 volunteer coaches from all across Saskatchewan who came together for a weekend of connection, knowledge, and fun.
Friday evening, coaches arrived at the resort and took part in their respective sport-specific breakout groups. Following this, everyone had the opportunity to grab some food, have a drink, and watch the Riders take on the Stampeders on the large projector screen. Although the football game wasn't the outcome we hoped for, the connection and comradery between our coaches were already growing stronger.
Saturday morning, we welcomed our first keynote speaker of the weekend, Corey Hirsch, who was an NHL goalie, Olympics silver medalist, and commentator for the Vancouver Canucks. Cory shared with us his own personal battles with mental health in sports, as well as provided our coaches with educational tools on how to recognize and cope with these difficult times. His presentation was one of strength and hope that our coaches valued. We then heard from Rhonda Shishkin who provided some important educational pieces on concussion awareness, recognition, treatment, and prevention. This information was also important for our coaches as we continued to learn more about the subject.
Following lunch, our annual Coaches Symposium Scavenger Hunt commenced. The theme this year was "different types of campers" and included the Minimalists, the Cavepeople, the Glampers, the Partiers, the Retirees, the Newbies, and the Instagramers/Influencers. Teams were sent on a hunt around the resort, working hard to complete all the tasks and solve each puzzle they encountered along the way. In the end, it was the Minimalists who came out on top! Our Coaches Symposium Scavenger Hunt Trophy also had quite the adventure of its own, as it traveled around the resort with some of the coaches.
In the post-adrenaline rush of the scavenger hunt, our coaches heard from Fillon Schmidt and Landon Gordon of Creative Options Regina (COR), who shared tips for not only helping our athletes through difficult times but also on how to care for themselves. Afterward, our coaches were updated on SOS matters through the SOS Information Share. To wrap up a great day, everyone gathered for a meal, and some drinks, and then participated in a paint night, played board games, and watched some hockey on the projector screen.
Sunday, our coaches came together once again to hear from our first speaker of the day - Mark Epp. Mark spoke to us about the different components of team dynamics and culture in relation to how coaches can work to build and strengthen each of the dynamics. Closing out our event was our final keynote speaker of the weekend - Andrew Haley. Andrew is a former world-class World Record-setting Paralympic swimmer and is now a successful businessman who works for the Toronto Blue Kays. He has had his fair share of ups and downs after being diagnosed with cancer twice. As a result, Andrew lost part of his leg, but he never let it dictate his life. Andrew shared his message of resiliency with our coaches and gave them tips on how to motivate their athletes so that they can have the most positive sports experience possible.
After an action-packed weekend, our coaches said their goodbyes and made their way back to their home communities. With them, they took many memories, new friendships, and additional knowledge both for themselves and for their athletes. Thank you to our provincial partners SaskTel and Sport Canada for the support in allowing this event to be possible. Thank you to the staff at Elk Ridge and our tremendous speakers who took the time to be a part of our successful weekend. A massive thank you to each and every person who joined us for our Coaches Symposium - we appreciate everything you do for your athletes and your communities.
We can't wait to see everyone again next year!
To see the full event through pictures, make sure to visit our Flickr Page!