Kidcasters

Gold medalists talk to broadcast journalism students. On far left, Lisa Bowes and John Morris, Kyle Shewfelt on far right

Today I had a pretty fantastic experience, at an event I attended through work. It was the Cardel Kidcasters program, an extracurricular program created by sports broadcaster Lisa Bowes, in partnership with Cardel Homes and the Calgary Board of Education, to introduce students to the world of broadcast journalism.

(Can I just add: where were these programs when I was going to junior high school? I was still learning how to sew – this would have been vastly more entertaining. Although, with my childhood crippling shyness, I might have been scared away from this!)

These reporters-in-the-making learn the importance of research, writing and delivery in the craft of journalism. Using video, print and digital media under a deadline, the kids deliver broadcasts in simulation newsrooms and filed environments.

Today, the lucky students were given the task today to interview two Olympic gold medalists: Kyle Shewfelt, winner of the gold medal in Athens, 2004, in Men’s floor gymnastics, and John Morris, winner of gold in men’s curling at Vancouver in 2010. In the rather impressive venue of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, near Canada Olympic Park, I listened to them quiz Shewfelt on his training, his youth as a talented athlete and more.

It was pretty inspirational. I had a moment where I wish my baby-to-be could not only hear but understand the message of strength, dedication and dreaming big when it came to chasing after the Olympic medal. I loved Shewfelt’s description of his rehab after what could have been a career ending injury, where he fractured both his tibias. He said before then he had always been characterized by his talent, but it was the painful road to recovery that proved  his character. And he went on after rehab to compete again in Beijing – pretty incredible.

It was also fun to listen to the questions some of the kids had. Some were pretty thought-provoking, momentarily stumping the high-energy Shewfelt. Others kept on going back to music, which he agreed was also a very important topic.

It was a pleasure to watch these kids get into the interview process. I wonder if any of them will someday end up in the scrum, shouting out questions to athletes at the Olympics or during playoffs, finding out all the joys and downfalls that come in the profession of a reporter.

And, bonus to me, I got to hold Shewfelt’s 2004 gold medal. I’d never seen one from that year up close before. It looked very ancient, with Greek etched into the back – a propos for the birthplace of the Olympics, I thought.

Word of the day:

Neophyte: A beginner or novice; a person newly converted to a belief, as a heathen, heretic, or nonbeliever.

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