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Harry Boothman Bursary Recipients – 2016-2020

Since 2016, the Harry Boothman Bursary has supported Canadian recreation practitioners in their personal and professional development.

Based on the submissions received, it is clear that the Canadian recreation sector is benefiting from strong leaders who are motivated to participate in unique professional development programs.

Read about our recipients below.

Alex Estrela


Over the past five years, Alex has worked for The Town of Ajax in various positions including camp staff, festival and event staff, site supervisor of The Spot Collaborative Youth Hub, and Youth Program Leader within the Town of Ajax Youth Rooms. Prior to this, Alex worked for the Durham Regional Police Service as a supervisor and program coordinator of their Youth In Policing Initiative, as well as the OSCC55+ as a Recreation and Special Events Coordinator during the summer of 2019.

Alex is a graduate of the Durham College Recreation and Leisure Services Program and will be returning to Durham College in September 2020 in their new Esports Business Management Graduate Certificate Program. He is the founder and current president of the Durham College Esports Club and the host of the Power On Podcast for Durham College’s Riot Radio. Alex also received the 2015 Public Hero award by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI) GTA for my contribution and commitment to youth, 2020 PRO Bob Secord Award, and 2020 Durham College Alumni Association (DCAA) Leaders of the Future Award.

Alex aspires to work within the recreation and leisure field as a municipal supervisor or manager. He also hope to explore the possibilities of e-sports within the recreation and leisure field while creating inclusive and engaging programs for members of my community.

Rachel Bedingfield


Rachel Bedingfield is the Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Kentville, Nova Scotia. In 2015, she was named to the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) list of the top 25 most influential women in Canada in the field of Sport and Physical Activity. Rachel has served as a board member with Recreation Nova Scotia, as an Individual Member with Commonwealth Games Canada, and currently sits on the National Parks Task Team for CPRA. In 2016 Rachel helped spearhead the efforts to form WomenActive-NS, an organization focused on ensuring all women and girls in Nova Scotia have access to the benefits of sport and recreation. Most recently in 2019 Rachel was awarded the Community Leadership Award from Acadia University, and she currently chairs the provincial committee for Access and Inclusion to Recreation in Nova Scotia.

Throughout her career, Rachel has advocated for the use of sport and recreation as tools for the development of both individuals and communities. A passionate believer that all persons have the right to play, Rachel’s work continues to focus on access through the lens of equity. A former varsity athlete and a lover of the outdoors, Rachel is often seen with her pack on, heading into the wilderness to reconnect with the natural world.

Kim Bryan


Kim Bryan has worked in the recreation, health, and sport sectors for over a decade. After earning a B.A. from the University of Victoria in the recreation and health education co-op program (and swimming varsity!), she set sights on the small town of Golden, BC where she has since worked as Recreation Coordinator for the municipality. For the past eight years she has dedicated herself to growing “the little pool that could” and creating leadership opportunities for the staff who work there.

Kim looks forward to a lifelong career in recreation, and is grateful to the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association for the Harry Boothman Bursary, which will go toward education in local government administration.

Mariam Fares


Mariam was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. She is a recreation enthusiast who is involved with volleyball, softball, running and yoga. With over 10 years of experience in the recreation field across Canada, she has held positions with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary, City of Mississauga and most recently as the Community Development Coordinator for the Town of Halton Hills, Ontario. Mariam’s passion aligned when she was able to bridge the social services sector with the municipal services sector in the field of recreation. Currently, she provides frontline services in the area of community development: facilitation of special events, coordination of volunteer services and community grant support. She is a strong believer in lifelong learning and ongoing professional development. The opportunity to participate in the Parks and Recreation Management Certificate Program will allow Mariam to take her leadership skills to the next level in the area of municipal recreation.

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing” – Anon.

Tara Cowan


Tara Cowan is the Recreation and Facility Manager for the Regional Municipality of Pipestone and Pipestone Albert Recreation Commission. Her passion for recreation came at a very early age while volunteering and working for the City of Winnipeg in summer day camps and as skate patrol at the local arena. Tara applied for the Harry Boothman Bursary to participate in the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association’s Professional Development Certification Program.

“I always loved playing sports and of course my favourite subject in school was gym class! I tried university right out of high school and learned that it was not for me; so, I moved to Northern Alberta to work. My sister gladly took me in, and I began working as the Recreation Programmer in High Level, Alberta. This is where I learned that recreation was going to be my career. I love helping community groups, plan events and organize programs for the community. After about seven years, I moved back to Manitoba and attended Red River College to pursue a certificate in Community Development/Community Economic Development. During my practicum a job posting came up in the RM of Pipestone with the Pipestone Albert Recreation Commission. I was successful in my endeavours and have now been with the RM of Pipestone just over five years and love it. On my downtime (if you call it that!) I am also a Town Councillor for the Town of Virden; I play hockey and fast-pitch baseball, and love volunteering at various events in my community.”

Sigourney Hoytfox


Sigourney has been the Director of Leisure Services for the Town of Wynyard since February 2016. Her primary role is to enhance and facilitate local recreation opportunities and maintain town-owned recreation facilities. Sigourney has been a member of the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association for three years, is a Lifesaving Society Instructor-Trainer, serves on the Board of Directors for the Prairie Central District for Sport, Culture and Recreation and is actively involved in various local fundraising groups. The Harry Boothman Bursary is supporting Sigourney as she participates in the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association’s Professional Development Certification Program.

“I strongly believe in lifelong education to keep the field of recreation moving forward.”

Michelle Horncastle


Michelle is the Recreation Director for Assiniboine Valley Recreation based in Russell, Manitoba. She used her Harry Boothman Bursary to attend the Gathering Strength: Framework for Recreation in Canada Forum held in Regina. This national event focused on building relationships, continuing dialogue, and working in cooperation towards achieving the goals of the Framework for Recreation in Canada: Pathways to Wellbeing. Attending this national conference allowed her to expand her knowledge base, and learn best practices from communities across the country. It confirmed that our organization is on the right track for implementing the Framework in our strategic planning and specifically our programming philosophy. Lastly, it reiterated the importance of collaboration with other sectors for all those working in the recreation industry to achieve our goals and improve our communities.

Sarah Ane


Community Development and Volunteer Coordinator, City of Welland, Ontario

Participating in the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association Professional Development Certification Program

Sarah works for the City of Welland in the Recreation and Culture Department as their Community Development Coordinator. Her primary role is to enhance recreation opportunities for residents of the community. She has also taught at Niagara College in the Recreation and Leisure Studies program, as well as acting as the Community Engagement Coordinator for Brock University’s Recreation and Leisure undergraduate program. Sarah is an avid volunteer and serves as the First Aid Program Chair for the Niagara Region Area Chapter of the Lifesaving Society.

Sarah contributes to the recreation field as a longstanding member of Parks and Recreation Ontario, the Ontario Recreation Facilities Association and as an Instructor-Trainer for the Lifesaving Society. She believes in lifelong education and professional development, and is currently completing a certificate program with Fleming College in Sustainable Trails Management. She also completed CPRA’s Professional Development Certificate in 2017.

Shelly Howe


Shelly is a longtime resident of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan with her family of four almost-grown children, her husband and her dog. She works for the City of Moose Jaw as the Recreation Program Supervisor, programming the pools and arenas. Her passion for drowning prevention has been fostered by a lifetime of involvement in aquatics through her own years of lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons, and now training others in these areas. Through her volunteer work with the Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Program and as part of the Lifesaving Society Critical Incident Stress Team, Shelly works to spread the message of drowning prevention to all that she can. For Shelly, attending the World Conference on Drowning Prevention in 2017 was an amazing experience, and she looks forward to sharing her newly-gained ideas and knowledge.

Janet Naclia


Janet Naclia, who is the Program Manager for the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA), was also granted the Harry Boothman Bursary in 2016. Ms. Naclia is enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Indigenous Recreation through the University of Alberta. The goal of the certificate program is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the cultural context of Indigenous communities and populations. With this knowledge, practitioners gain the skills to offer relevant and quality recreational opportunities to indigenous populations. Ms. Naclia was participating in the program that was to conclude in the spring/summer of 2017.

Lisa Mclaughlin


Lisa McLaughlin is the Program Manager for the Communities ChooseWell initiative with the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA). Her application to attend and present at the International Union for Health Promotion and Education World Conference on Health Promotion in Curitiba, Brazil was approved by the committee. Ms. McLaughlin attended the event in May 2016, where she also presented two sessions, specific to the topics of health, community, support and people living in vulnerable situations, and food access and consumption: the role of health promotion. Ms. McLaughlin recognized that:

“Attending the conference was a good opportunity to learn about issues related to my work and graduate studies in health promotion and to connect with other practitioners, researchers and leaders in the field.”