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Welcome, Elisabeth: CAN’s New Manager of Programs!

As the Canucks Autism Network continues to grow, so too does our staff team in the office! With an increasing number of programs being offered across BC, it is crucial to add like-minded individuals that share our passion for enhancing the lives of individuals and families living with autism throughout BC.

That said, we are incredibly excited to announce the most recent addition to our team, Elisabeth Walker-Young. In the newly-created position of Manager of Programs, Elisabeth will oversee the delivery and continued excellence of our sports and recreation programs province-wide. Elisabeth comes to CAN with years of experience as a champion for inclusion and accessibility in sport – both as an athlete and a professional.

As a competitive swimmer, Elisabeth is a four-time Paralympian that has won three gold medals for Team Canada. After retiring from competition, she was chosen for the role of chef de mission (official leader and spokesperson) for Team Canada at the 2015 ParaPanAmerican Games – an incredible honour that speaks volumes about her passion and reputation for advocacy.

A Paralympian athlete stands before a crowd as part of a rally.

Elisabeth as chef de mission at the 2015 ParaPanAmerican Games in Toronto. (Photo credit: Jennifer Larson)

Sharing her background as an athlete, Elisabeth recounted, “By mistake, I got involved in inclusive sport and have gained so much out of it. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone — regardless of their circumstances or lived experiences — deserve the right to participate and reap the benefits of being active within their community. In time, I realized that I had a voice to advocate for others in similar situations and a passion for affecting positive change.”

After retiring from competition, Elisabeth took on managerial roles with ParaSport Ontario, Curl BC and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. It was during her most recent time as Manager of Inclusion with viaSport BC that she became closely familiar with Canucks Autism Network.

Among CAN’s core values is a commitment to collaboration. It is only fitting that Elisabeth sat with CAN’s Program Director, Stephanie Jull, on a national advisory committee for the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC). “I loved the philosophy that CAN had,” Elisabeth recalled. “We were asked by the CAC to develop a nationally-available resource to help sports leaders make their programs more accessible to individuals with special needs. CAN created tip sheets for engaging athletes with autism that were easy to understand for coaches regardless of their experience with autism.”

View CAN and viaSport’s 10 Tip Sheets for Coaches and Community Recreation Staff on our Helpful Resources webpage!

“I loved CAN’s philosophy. Now that I’m a part of the organization, I’m so excited to be connected to like-minded people, see the work in action and most importantly continue the incredibly important work that CAN does in the BC community.”

Welcome to the team, Elisabeth! The CAN community is so glad to have you on board.

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