Fourteen-year-old Shaya Jeffery isn’t just making her mark with flattering spins and silky smooth skating.
The teenage figure skater from Fort St. John was honoured at the BC Games in Penticton last month for her outstanding contribution beyond performance in her sport, one of just 16 athletes given a leadership bursary from over 100 applicants at the games.
“I was like ‘oh my gosh, I was one of those people’,” Jeffery said about when she was chosen for the bursary. “That was one of the most joyful things that’s happened to me. I was very proud of myself.”
Jeffery has been helping younger skaters with the Fort St. John Figure Skating Club throughout the year and noted she really just helped out because of her passion for skating and never expected any kind of recognition for her efforts.
“It teaches me patience and I do it because I love kids and I just want to teach them the joys of skating and there’s more to it than just twists and spins. They seem to be catching on,” she said.
That’s exactly the example the BC Games Society was looking for in a candidate according to Kelly Mann, President and CEO of the BC Games Society.
“These young leaders show their skills in sport on the field of play but also in their home communities,” Mann said in a release. “We are impressed with the involvement of these recipients and are looking forward to see the impact each one of them makes in the future.”
Ultimately, choosing the right candidate was about trying to find individuals who embodied the spirit of their communities through their volunteer efforts and also excelled in sport.
“The winners of the Coast Capital Savings Leadership Bursaries are role models not only as athletes but also as community leaders,” said Wendy Lachance, Director, Community Leadership for Coast Capital Savings in a BC Winter Games press release. “
Through their commitment to helping build a richer future for other youth in their communities, they embody Coast Capital’s ‘Youth Get It’ philosophy. It’s been a pleasure to watch them compete and support the BC Winter Games.”
Jeffery already has plans for the bursary to go directly back into her skating, with trips to camps in southern B.C. already on the agenda this spring and summer.