KinRec Connect: Stacee Ophey, 2017
Once a month, we feature an alum from our faculty in a Q&A entitled KinRec Connect. We’ve asked Stacee Ophey [B.R.M.C.D./17] to share her experiences as a student, and to fill us in on her life after U of M.
While she only earned her degree last year, the 24-year-old FKRM alumna is already making an impact in her field.
This story begins in 2016 while Ophey was on fieldwork placement with the City of Winnipeg’s Community Service and Recreation Department. Her first assignment was a big one, she recalls.
“I was asked to take on a report into barriers to sport for North End youth. Not an easy task, but I helped stir the pot a little bit.”
Over the span of her four-month placement, Ophey re-assessed previous reports into the matter, interviewing close to 40 different organizations (primarily north end schools, sport and recreation providers).
Ophey’s report identified finances, transportation, and lack of equipment and support as the most significant barriers for youth access to high quality sport and recreation.
“A lot of kids in this area aren’t playing sports outside of school,” she adds. “That’s because there’s a huge lack of transportation, and also major physical literacy issues with kids, so forming teams is near impossible.”
Amongst her recommendations is the need for the north end have it’s own youth sports leagues administrated by the City of Winnipeg.
“Transportation is a major barrier for children and youth in the north end. Instead of having to travel to centres elsewhere in the city, they could just hop from local community centre to community centre by walking,” says Ophey. “That would eliminate so many barriers.”
The report is now with a City of Winnipeg planning committee to start enacting the recommendations.
Below is a Q&A we did with Ophey. She shares more about her time as a student and provides some tips and advice for current and prospective students.
Could you tell us a little about your career since you graduated? What’s your current position, and what do you like best about your current position?
Even though I graduated in February, I ended my field work placement mid December of 2017, and was employed less than a week later. I’m currently a Program Coordinator at Winnipeg Inner City Missions, where I oversee the after school program for children and youth out of the north end. I absolutely love working with children, youth and the community in the north end and am thrilled with my current position.
In other terms of my career, I did my fieldwork placement with the City of Winnipeg just before I graduated. I was given the task of looking into north end sport barriers. I worked with local organizations, sport providers, schools and community members to address the lack of sport in the north end. I wrote a North End Sport Forum Report that covers my findings and suggestions to overcome the barriers north end residents face in regards to sport participation.
Since I graduated I have been asked to present my findings, meet with local organizations to help spread awareness and create change. As well, I was asked to be on a panel at the 2018 Sport and Reconciliation Gathering, where I shared my report and related it to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Being asked to attend and participate in the Sport and Reconciliation Gathering was a huge honor and an amazing experience.
How did your time as a student in the faculty of kinesiology and recreation management help in your career and personal goals?
Having been a student of the FKRM, it taught me the importance of networking and getting your name out there. The faculty also does an amazing job of preparing students for employment within the field.
My personal goals and career goals are closely related. After finishing my degree my main goal was to find full time employment and since then I have more free time to seek out new interests and spend more time on hobbies I couldn’t while I was in school.
What were some of your greatest challenges as a student, and what were some of your best experiences?
I found some of my greatest challenges as a student was trying to manage my stress. I worked almost full time with a full course load while finishing my degree. Thankfully I was very good with time management and would start both assignments and studying weeks a head of time so I knew I had enough time to work and do well on my assignments. Towards the end of my degree it got easier and was abet to take on more tasks, and was able to manage everything with ease. My time management also came in handy during my field work experience due to the independence of my project.
Some of my best experiences included group projects with my peers, and my field work experience. I also enjoyed a lot of the required courses for recreation management as I found them both interesting, meaningful and relevant.
What advice would you give to current students and students interested in studying kinesiology/rec management?
Current students: I would highly encourage them to take the field work experience. My fieldwork provided me with an excellent project which is still ongoing, an amazing networking experience, and gave me confidence in my abilities.
Interested students: Our faculty and field is growing immensely. The general public is starting to realize the benefits of recreation on their health and overall well-being and if you want to be at the front lines of helping the public reach their goals, FKRM is right for you.