Posted by Kristine Salzmann on January 2, 2021 9:18 am
We’ve restarted our Community Spotlights campaign, where on the first Sunday of each month we’ll feature a VUL community member who is contributing to ultimate in awesome ways.
Kelly has volunteered behind the scenes with the VUL’s social events crew since 2016, which in non-COVID times brings members of our community together for everything from board games nights and disc golf meet-ups to our annual Trivia Bash at the London Pub. This volunteer team gives their time to coordinate social gatherings so ultimate players can make wider connections in our community and have just as much fun with each other off the field. Kelly is also a familiar face in the VUL as a mentor in programs such as our women's league. “Kelly is the person I think of who most exemplifies SOTG,” said one friend. “She is always welcoming, has no ego, but works hard, and is a kick ass ultimate player too.”
# of Years in Ultimate:
Sneaky House Hippos, Venus Sky Traps/Win for Her, UBC A and B teams, Zephyr, Wendigo
Roles in the Community:
Current: volunteer, mentor, player
Past: Staff/coordinator, coach, clinic instructor, captain, club player
What do you enjoy most about your role(s) in the ultimate community?
My favourite thing is that I can have many roles, and each one makes me happy in a different way. I love coaching/mentoring and helping newer players to have fun and gain new skills. It’s always satisfying to see the “aha!” moments and watch everyone improve over the course of the program or league. Event hosting lets me be creative, meet lots of new people, and work with an awesome events crew. Playing club inspires me to keep trying to be better, and I enjoy traveling and learning from teammates and coaches. Last but not least, playing in VUL leagues and tournaments keeps me grounded during the fall and winter months, and I enjoy getting to see friends every week (and heckling them just a little bit…).
What's your favourite throw and why?
Scoober huck to the endzone? Now is the time! With the new COVID rules I’ve been throwing a lot of scoobers because it’s easier than lunging/throwing around a mark that’s 2 yards away and the downfield defence usually gives a bit more space as well. In normal times I’m a big fan of IO flicks for an inside break. It’s so satisfying to open up the field in a different way and your teammates are often open there if you look for it.
When did you start coaching/captaining/mentoring, and what inspired you to start?
I started playing ultimate as an adult and for a long time I felt like I had missed out learning from a junior/youth program. Once I found a team with coaches and I could finally learn and get more experience with ultimate, I wanted to help other adults who were new to the game develop their skills. Almost any time I get an email asking specifically for women coaches or mentors I end up saying yes because I think it’s important to have opportunities to work with female coaches or be in all-women spaces to learn. That’s what got me started with coaching and mentoring and it is still a huge motivator for me today. I love getting to meet newer players and seeing them come back for a few years as they keep getting better and better. Women’s league in particular is one of my favourites and I think it’s a super important place for building skills and community.
Why did you decide to start volunteering for the VUL?
Event planning has been something that I’ve enjoyed for a long time, and when I saw an invitation to join a social event planning committee for the VUL in 2016 I was excited to see where it would lead. After spending a few months working with a great group of people to figure out what was/wasn’t working with the old VUL events we decided to have more frequent but smaller meet-ups. Then came the even more fun part: getting to run the events as part of the new social events crew.
Since then I’ve had a great time hosting and planning many events like trivia, disc golf, curling, lawn bowling, and board game nights. One of the coolest moments was the first trivia night that Alex and I planned. The bar felt packed because of the space that we had, there were fun costumes, and the energy was really high the whole night. Trivia had been one of the big events that we’d talked about on the planning committee, and it was really neat to bring it to life and see how well it went.
I keep volunteering with events because the people that I get to work with are awesome (shout out to the other events crew members: Alex, Doris, Kevin, Leanna, and Winnie), I love getting to be creative and try out new event ideas, and it’s always fun to get to meet new people at the events. It brings me a lot of joy to get to give back to a community that I love being a part of by helping VUL members to connect with each other. If you haven’t come out to an event yet, I hope we’re able to see you at one in the future!
Photo credit: McTags Photography
Do you know someone we should highlight with our Community Spotlights? Tell us about them! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to nominate someone.
Past Community Spotlights: