Fitness and Health Promotion grad honours mentors through his career

kevin-wilson-2-002From his passion for basketball to his career in physiotherapy, positive mentorships have played a huge part in Kevin Wilson’s life, which is why he is giving back through the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program Inc.

“Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by mentors my whole life. My first basketball coach mentored me for years and developed my love for the game of basketball. When I broke my patella at 12 years old, my physiotherapist inspired me to pursue the field of physiotherapy; he would go on to mentor me for years as I completed over 300 volunteer hours within his clinic,” said Kevin. “Although both have unfortunately passed away, their teachings, passion and dedication to my development has not gone in vain.”

Kevin enrolled in Fleming College’s Fitness and Health Promotion program as the first step in his education journey, because this diploma prepares many graduates to pursue a degree in Kinesiology. Kevin’s long-term academic goal is to earn a degree in Physical Therapy.

“Overall, I had a great experience at Fleming College,” said Kevin. “As a student athlete on the varsity basketball team, I loved the fact that the FHP professors were so understanding of my athletic responsibilities. I have nothing but great things to say about the college, the student life, and the professors within the FHP program.”

Kevin credits the program with challenging students to apply theoretical knowledge within a practical setting, as well as providing the necessary tools to be a successful healthcare professional.

“Whether you decide to work as a personal trainer or decide to continue with more schooling, the knowledge received in this program will be utilized for many years following graduation,” said Kevin, who graduated from Fleming in 2014. “To put things into perspective, I am still using the majority of what I was taught in the FHP program.”

After Fleming College, Kevin attended Brock University for Kinesiology and started his own personal training and physical rehabilitation business.

“The FHP program at Fleming gave me the confidence needed to start my own business,” he said. “I wanted to learn more about what it takes to successfully run and manage my own business, and I wanted to earn some income while in school to assist with tuition costs, living expenses, etc. Although not yet a physiotherapist, I wanted to create my own brand and to establish myself as a healthcare professional. I understand the value and benefits of being self-employed, and I hope to enjoy these benefits throughout my entire working career.”

Kevin graduated from Brock University in 2017 and in January of this year he started the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program (NBYMP) to give back and to promote overall success and health, which is something Kevin views as important as both a future physiotherapist and as a human being.

“I plan to influence the lives of as many youth as possible, similar to how my mentors have influenced my life,” said Kevin. “There are many youth who struggle to find the resources needed to be successful and I hope that, through my program, they can find their path and purpose in life.”

NBYMP is a national youth mentorship program that aims to provide a holistic approach to personal development for basketball athletes under the age of 19. Youth enrolled in this newly-formed program will have access via email to mentorship from high-level Canadian professional and university basketball athletes, online academic assistance from students and graduates of Harvard University, financial advising and development from licensed financial advisors; and access to strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, and sports psychologists. Registration is free, but basketball camps, workshops and academic tutoring do have associated fees.

“My hope is that hundreds, and eventually thousands, of kids utilize this mentorship program to achieve great things, both on and off the basketball court. I hope to provide full scholarships for dozens of youth entering college/university programs, and I hope to use this platform to promote the overall health and wellness of youth and individuals across Canada.”

Kevin said his advice to current Fleming FHP students is to soak in all the information, ask their professors lots of questions, and to set long-term goals.

“I will be going back to school this September (2018) to study physiotherapy and this was something that I planned to do even while at Fleming,” he said. “Set a long-term goal and use that as motivation to get you through this program and future programs or ventures.”

Fitness and Health Promotion provides a stepping stone to university for Haily Whitelock

Version 2Haily Whitelock’s high school co-op placement at a physiotherapy clinic is what inspired her to pursue a career helping people with their fitness goals. Unsure whether being a physiotherapist was the best fit, or if there was a better suited career opportunity in the health field, Haily decided to enrol in Fleming’s Fitness and Health Promotion program to explore her options.

“I would recommend this program to anyone interested in the health field. I believe it is a good starting program for those who are unsure of which direction to take,” said Haily, who graduated from the Fitness and Health Promotion program in 2017. “With the bridging opportunities available through this program, there are plenty of opportunities to continue onto other fields of study.”

Haily developed her interest in physiotherapy and rehab treatments throughout the program and decided to take advantage of Fleming’s education pathway agreement with the University of Guelph-Humber. She was able to enter third-year of the Bachelor of Applied Science in Kinesiology program and plans to graduate in 2019.

“With this opportunity, I had the option to take both fitness and health, and work towards my kinesiology bachelor’s degree,” she said. “I have talked to many employers and business owners and they are looking for graduates who have been to both college and university, as they believe college provides candidates with skills while universities give them an adequate background in the areas of study.”

Haily enjoyed her experience at Fleming College, describing her professors as helpful and enthusiastic to answer questions. “With small class sizes, it is a great learning environment where you can feel comfortable amongst peers and engage in class discussions freely,” she explained. “I feel in bigger schools they are limited to this kind of engagement, as the class sizes are huge and it can be intimidating speaking up to start a discussion in a big lecture room.”

She felt well-prepared for university after attending college, having developed her study techniques, ability to write helpful class notes, meet project deadlines, and prepare for exams. For that reason, Haily credits Fleming for being a great stepping stone to university.

“Fleming is a lot different from high school, there is still a lot of responsibility you have to take, but the professors are always there to help when needed and, being small class sizes, it is easy to connect with your professors,” she said. “In university, the class sizes are much bigger and in order to make an impression on your professor you need to put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone.”

After she graduates from the University of Guelph-Humber, Haily plans to write the kinesiology exam to become a regulated kinesiologist. She hopes to continue her studies and earn her master’s degree in either occupational therapy or physiotherapy.

Valedictorian Andrew Vatcher strengthens self-confidence through Fitness and Health Promotion

andrew-vatcherThe Fitness and Health Promotion program not only strengthened Valedictorian Andrew Vatcher’s physical abilities, it strengthened his self-confidence as well.

“Fleming College was a place of great personal growth and development for me,” said Andrew. “I came into school as a confident exterior with a very negative inner self-image. Through great learning and leadership, I obtained the confidence within and self-efficacy that I so desperately lacked. I have learned so much about health and fitness, but even more about myself and view on life.”

His most memorable moment was his first day of college, when faculty member Mary Stever asked students to assemble into two lines facing each other and introduce themselves.

“I can, to this day, recall where fellow classmates stood and where along the line we first met. It was a small thing at the time but looking back on it I can’t help but to smile,” said Andrew.

Andrew initially came to Fleming to better his physical abilities and overall knowledge in different principles of fitness. Through the Fitness and Health Promotion program, Andrew gained skills that span from workout-related abilities (designing and assessing programs, coaching, training) to working with clients who have special needs.

“I have gained a greater ability to speak in front of people with confidence and joy,” said Andrew, who recommends the program to others. “I have learned self-discipline and the integral value of accountability.”

Andrew plans on continuing his education by earning an undergraduate degree in strength and conditioning. His long-term goal is to be a Strength and Conditioning Coach for a professional sports team.

Next week he will take the stage at the Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre for the School of Health and Wellness afternoon convocation, where he will serve as Valedictorian.

“I put a lot of myself into my time at Fleming and have developed so many great relationships with friends and faculty, so it is incredibly wonderful to be recognized in such a way,” said Andrew on being named Valedictorian.

“It is so much more than just a diploma,” said Andrew. “In fact, I feel that the things outside the course content are every bit as valuable.”