It is with great excitement that the Manitoba Rowing Association announces that Sandra Kirby has been awarded the Rowing Canada Aviron Umpire of the Year Award! Sandi has done so much for the sport of Rowing in Canada, and we at the MRA wanted to share a bit about Sandi and her wide-range of accomplishments as they relate to rowing in Manitoba and across Canada.

In the past year, Sandi has created the RCA Umpire Committee, is a Member of the RCA Umpire Committee – RCA –UC (Guylaine Bernier, Chair) and has been elected to and now Chair of the Umpire Education and Development sub-committee of the RCA Umpire Committee. As Chair of the Umpire Education and Development Program
UMPIRE TRAINING DEVELOPMENT Sandi developed the Clinicians’ workshop program (with assistance from Tim Henderson and Glenn Bailey), delivered the two day workshop in Toronto for all of Canada’s clinicians along with Time Henderson and Guylaine Bernier, and has completed the follow up and critical path development for the complete revision of the RCA umpire training programs (level 1 Associate; Level 2 RCA Umpire License; Level 3 Chief Umpire and Level 4 Clinician).

Sandi is no stranger to hard work. She has gone on to organize and coordinate the three working groups, one for for each level of umpire development, and has worked directly with the Level 1 group, monitoring their progress and helping to set their internal goals and timelines. As part of this, Sandi has prepared interim report for RCA on the UED sub committee and the progress of all the working groups, has presented the interim report to the Umpire Committee at the meetings in Toronto at the end of October where it was positively received and used as the base for the next 12 months of umpire development and training, and prepared a transition goal for full implementation of the new training programs. This received its first approval from the UC and will next be presented to the CEO of RCA and to PAC.

Sandi has also been the person responsible for the new FISA candidate identification and training program, has prepared with Guylaine Bernier, the timeline and suggested selection process to identify candidates across Canada for the FISA examination in 2015, and after candidate selection, matched mentors to candidates and prepared program for getting the candidates fully prepared by June 2015.

Sandi has Co-chaired (co-presented) the 4-day FISA training workshop with Guylaine Bernier at the Henley course in August, 2014. This was tough to do and very very well received by the candidates. In addition, she coordinated the evaluation process for the FISA candidates to keep them on track over the 12 months to the examination.

And her work does not stop there. As Prairie Clinician, she is the person responsible for delivery of umpire education on the prairies. In the past reporting year, and upon request of the PRAs, she organized and delivered the clinics and seminars across the prairies. These have all been organized through the planning and support of the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba Rowing Associations. In the past year, just over 30 new associates and recertified RCA licensed umpires were trained, along with 7 new Chief Umpires. This has raised the capacity of umpires on the Prairies and will greatly contribute to both the quality of regattas and the consistency of umpiring on the prairies.

As a volunteer, Sandi has delivered clinics for Level 1 (Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg),
Seminars for recertification RCA license (Regina, Calgary), Clinics for Chief Umpires (Calgary, Winnipeg/Kenora). She has also completed umpire evaluations in Calgary and Winnipeg and acts as a mentor for some of the 9 new Associates (Level 1) in Manitoba.

As a member of Manitoba Rowing Association Board of Directors, Sandi prepared and presented a plan for umpire development with a long view past the Canada Games in 2017. It will be the 50th anniversary of Canada Games and the 150th anniversary of Canada. In that plan, Kenora (Ontario) was also included as a potential part of the region for the purposes of identifying and training umpires for regattas.

Sandi also introduced the MRA to new initiatives in “safe sport” and we embarked on a review of the policies with an eye to making sport safer for athletes. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection was invited to work with the MRA on child protection considerations. This initiative has positive implications for how coaches – and umpires – behave when interacting with athletes and when participating in events.

As a member of the Winnipeg Rowing Club Sandi organized an athlete’s clinic – “Know your rules!” for rowers competing in regattas such as the NWIRA and Royal Canadian Henley. It was well received and will be repeated at least annually.

As an active umpire in 2014 Sandi was selected to umpire at the FISA World Masters Championships (Ballarat Australia), retired from FISA umpiring because of the 65 year age limit to active international umpiring (after having umpired at the Pan American Games (MEX), the World Cup in Lucerne (SUI), the World Under-23 in Racice, (Czech Republic), the World Masters (AUST) and the Paralympic Games of 2012 in London, UK.) and has umpired at a number of local and regional regattas. For the third year, has umpired at Coastal Rowing event in Alma, Quebec, with a view to bringing coastal rowing to Manitoba.

Sandi’s dedicated to umpiring, coaching and rowing is absolutely admirable. She is a sport scientist and an international expert on harassment and abuse in sport, and Manitoba is truly blessed to have her in our province taking rowing to the next level of excellence with all of her endeavors.

Thank you to Sandi for all that you do for the Canadian rowing!