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Nicole McGlenen (left) credits her confidence and leadership skills to time spent at Mini U

All roads start at Mini U

From Mini U kid to Mini U Leader, Nicole McGlenen shares her journey of self-growth

January 23, 2017 — 

When I first walked through the doors for my first Mini U camp 18 years ago, I really had no idea the path I had set for myself.

At that time, I couldn’t have imagined I would one day graduate from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management with plans to pursue a second degree in Education. And, while I had dreamed of the possibility, I also didn’t know that I would one day suit up for the Bison hockey team as a student-athlete and play for five years while earning my degree.

I was five-years-old that first summer. I was signed up for Fun, Sport & Fitness, and in the years following I also participated in the hockey and junior business camps. My sister and I attended Mini U throughout most of our childhood and we had so much fun.

Flash-forward to the summer after my first year of studies at the U of M. I knew I wanted to experience Mini U again … this time as a Leader.

I knew this was going to be the best job ever.

Applying to work at Mini U got me a little out of my comfort zone, as I didn’t really know of anyone else who’d also be applying. Three weeks after my interview, I woke up to an email that changed my life. I was offered a position of assistant coach of the hockey camps. I was thrilled. In late June, I attended the orientation and like all of the other new employees, I was excited, scared, and nervous all at the same time. But after the first hour, when the supervisors and coordinators performed a skit to set the tone, I knew this was going to be the best job ever.

The first summer was amazing. I met so many new people and they changed my life. The kids were great and I was doing something I loved. I become more confident in my capabilities to teach, communicate, and to be more social.

I would encourage anyone interested in working with great people while helping kids learn, grow, and discover to apply to Mini U. The energy is contagious.

I couldn’t wait to reapply for Mini U the following summer. The experiences, friendships forged, and overall comradery was unbelievable. I would encourage anyone interested in working with great people while helping kids learn, grow, and discover to apply to Mini U. The energy is contagious.

My third and fourth summers at Mini U were also amazing. I met people I’m still best friends with to this day. My role in Year 4 was as head coach of Sport Sampler – a position that helped skyrocket my confidence and leadership skills, as I was responsible for the development and execution of this camp.

Mini U has a variety of positions available – all in effort to provide excellent and inclusive recreation/sport and educational experiences to young people.

I have grown as a leader and I’ve become more outgoing.

This experience has changed my life in the most positive way. I have grown as a leader and I’ve become more outgoing. I have developed and demonstrated leadership skills and have gained confidence teaching and interacting with people.

It’s easy to see why so many people just like me who attended Mini U as a child want to return as a Leader.


Nicole McGlenen is currently in her final year of studies in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management. She is also a forward for the Bison women’s hockey team. As you’ve read above, Mini U has played a part in shaping who she is today. Visit miniu.ca for more information on spring/summer registration!

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