Jason has served as the Sports Clubs, Martial Arts, Racquet Sports & Special Events programmer at the University of Victoria since 2011. Since arriving at UVIC, he has been involved in building culture within the department through the creation of the Vikes Edge committee. As a former committee chair, he was also a key contributor to several Vikes department customer service initiatives. He has worked as part of the UVIC team to host two Canadian Recreation Conferences. He is excited about the opportunity to further develop institutional, professional, and student involvement in the newly-created NIRSA Canada Region.
He spent ten years working in travel and tourism, with those adventures taking him all over the world. A kinesiology graduate from the University of Western Ontario, he has a passion for sport and active healthy living. Working with the club sports programs reinforces that passion and continuously hones the ability to collaborate with student interest groups and UVIC institutional interests to find the win/win solutions.
Jason lives in Victoria, BC with his beautiful wife Kristine. Transplants from Ontario, they continue to lure family to Victoria having adopted the island as home.
What do you see as opportunities in collegiate recreation and our Association? How would you collaborate with the Member Network team to address these issues?
NIRSA’s core belief that recreation programs are advanced and strengthened through ongoing education, resource sharing, and networking remains of great importance to the newly-created NIRSA Canada Region. We have an opportunity to galvanize Canadian university and college communities into collaborating to create Canadian benchmarks that affirm the power of recreation, and our messaging, on campuses nationwide and in their greater communities. Identifying key schools and administrators to act as advocates for NIRSA, while using their regional connections to strengthen bonds, answer questions and determine how to best serve the needs of institutions that may not yet be members is priority one. Creating a strong Canadian community by working to better understand the challenges faced by our peers before collaborating on ways to address them. Personally, I would seek to engage our member, and future member institutions, on the benefits of membership and barriers precluding them from joining.
In describing your contributions to NIRSA, identify how your involvement and experiences meet the position criteria and qualify you to serve NIRSA in this role.
My contributions to NIRSA to date are limited. I have attended several NIRSA conferences, but primarily have been involved in sports clubs development and the hosting of two regional conferences at UVIC. As such, I have a working knowledge of the players in recreation at other Canadian institutions. I have worked closely with several on campus partners in creating engagement events at UVIC, collaborating on student development with our Leading Edge co-curricular record improvements and developing our department’s Vikes Edge containing our vision, purpose, and values. I have a strong passion for recreation, and work in an environment that requires the ability to find win/win solutions for all parties. I have experience working with student groups, volunteers, and professional staff on large and small projects and initiatives. I see great value in working towards creating a strong Canadian baseline for NIRSA moving into the future.
Please share your ideas for cultivating leaders in your region.
I see leadership as an opportunity, a privilege and duty. Leadership is taking ownership of the challenges in front of us and collaborating with those around to find the best possible solutions. We have so many passionate voices in recreation in Canada. I see our role as finding avenues to bring those voices together, identifying key national, regional, and/or provincial goals, and supporting a framework for them to be successful. The first step to cultivating future leaders is connecting and empowering them to share their points or view, then collaborating with them to effect positive change. Technology can help us overcome some of the distance that separates us in Canada. I would seek to create opportunities for various positions to host quarterly meetings with rotating chairs people to discuss relevant issues. Creating relationships for better support, avenues to share ideas, and solutions to challenges faced across our campuses. To create leaders in our community we need to create a strong Canadian vision.
Of the almost 300 (96 universities as of 2016 & 180 colleges as per a Wikipedia count) institutions in Canada, 18 were listed as members. How we connect with those institutions and their leaders to show them the value of membership is key to our success. Our second step is to continue to offer educational opportunities while making mentorship and/or coaching a priority. How do we create a mentorship or coaching tree that brings recreation professionals and student staff together across Canada? With technology, we can expand relationships past traditional city or provincial boundaries. We must continue to encourage and develop open communication among our membership and be creative in looking for solutions all while taking calculated risks.
I see our success in cultivating leaders across Canada through specific and measurable goals (get 25% of Canadian institutions on board as NIRSA members for 2017–2018). An increase to 75 member institutions in one year. Create a coaching or mentorship program that gets professionals communicating once each quarter for an hour to better build personal relationships and share information. Perhaps most importantly I think we need to engage our current members to better understand their needs and how we can adapt to meet them.