ProMOTION Plus Leadership Award presented to Penticton woman

ProMOTION Plus Leadership Award presented to Penticton woman

Author: BC Winter Games/Friday, February 26, 2016/Categories: 2016 News, 2016 BC Winter Games

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Louise Blais has a passion for helping girls and women live their best life.

It is why she was selected for the BC Games Society and ProMOTION Plus leadership award, which identifies, recognizes and celebrates those who have supported girls and/or women to participate more fully in physical activity or sport.

"ProMOTION Plus thanks the BC Games Society for our ongoing partnership and their commitment to encouraging opportunities for girls and women in sport toward their goal of achieving gender equity," said Kristina Macdonald, Chair of ProMOTION Plus. "We are proud to honour Louise Blais' contributions to her community. Her initiative to create programs is inspiring. SheRides and Wellness Speaks are excellent examples of programs which achieve an increased involvement of women in sport. Thank you to the Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games for establishing a sound selection process that lead to identifying the tremendous impact that Louise has had in your community."

Blais impacts females in sport at many levels, from her work with the elementary school program iRide to teaching health and fitness in the Human Kinetics Department of Okanagan College. In 2014 Blais started SheRides Penticton not knowing what the response would be to teaching an all female class of newbies how to ride and get comfortable on their bikes. Over a dozen women showed up on the first night. Now every Monday from April to October has about 60 cyclists in SheRides.

Blais started the club to create a safe and caring environment for women to get on a bike. She leads weekly rides to women aged 12-65 and has coached and mentored hundreds of others. Many of those have gone on to complete distance cycling events. She expanding into a SheRides stronger program for people who wants to take riding to the next level.

"I am incredibly honoured to receive this award," said Blais. "I know what cycling has done for me and led me to do and I wanted to create that for girls and women. I have seen women who never dreamed of riding 100 kilometres and now can. They are now looking for what is that next big thing they can accomplish. What they do on the bike has a big ripple effect in their confidence. They recognized they can be strong on the bike and that translates to being strong in life."

The confidence that women have gained through Blais's coaching has inspired these women to take healthy risks and led to the formation of SheRides Dirty, where beginner riders take to the mountain bike trails. Blais is also an executive director with the Penticton and Area Cycling Club and has been instrumental in promoting safe biking routes throughout the South Okanagan and local events such as Bike to Work Week.

Blais continues to inspire health and well need through her Wellness Speaks campaign where she provides motivation to lead an active life. She can be found teaching a fitness class, teaching you at an elementary school or leading sport education workshops to local athletes and coaches on nutrition and mental fitness. Blais has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, competed the 600 kilometre TransRockies mountain bike race and a 700 km race in the Alps.

"Blais continues to challenge girls and women to meet their potential with a smile on her face and a zest for life that is contagious.,” said Jenny Mitchell, who nominated Blais for the award.

Promotion Plus is the British Columbia organization for girls and women in physical activity and sport. Promotion Plus works within the sport sector so that all girls and women can participate in and have access to, a complete range of opportunities, choices and resources for positive experiences in physical activity and competitive and recreational as participants and leaders.

The BC Winter Games showcase the province's best young developing athletes. The Games provide a unique opportunity for athletes to experience provincial competition in a multi-sport setting, taking the first step towards the national and international stage.

For more information, visit www.bcgames.org.

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Regional Contact:   
Kristi Patton   
Director of Promotions    
Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games Society    
250.488.8367   
promotions@bcwintergames.ca

Provincial Contact:
Lia Threlfall
Communications Manager
BC Games Society
250.387.1375
liat@bcgames.org

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