Posts

The Evolution of the David Dore Mentorship Fund

Written by Paul Dore

It’s a habit of mine to look for patterns and understand through-lines. I like to believe there is an evolutionary continuum. There is an element of comfort to seeing how things evolve and go from generation to generation. History builds upon itself in incremental, and sometimes seemingly invisible steps. I’d like to take a moment and look at three continuums: from an organizational standpoint, a community aspect, and a personal perspective.

As we look to the future of the upcoming World Championships in Montreal, it’s worth looking to the past. Almost twenty years ago, Vancouver hosted the World Championships, and the international skating community had never seen anything like it.

The Director General at the time, my father David Dore, had previously overseen World Championships in Canada. However, when approaching Vancouver, my father and his team not only had the goal to put on the best-organized event, they wanted to give people an experience.

David Dore Skating

Canada always had a presence on the world stage. In Vancouver, my dad wanted to not only showcase where skating was at the time but the possibilities of where it could go in the future. And we are now in the future. I think you could say it was prescient. There were 220,000 people in attendance, and $600,000 made from the event were distributed to British Columbia skating clubs as a legacy. There were also an additional 35,000 visitors to the innovative SkateFest, which was held in the adjacent plaza. SkateFest was an immersive and interactive exhibition well before any social media existed.

This event in Vancouver was such an achievement for my dad that he retired from Skate Canada a year later. Anyone that knew my dad was not surprised when he not only kept involved with figure skating but went on to become the Vice President of the International Skating Union. Even with the worldwide focus of his work after retirement, my father was always at his happiest when watching a skating competition in his home country of Canada.

That is one of the reasons we established The David Dore Mentorship Fund – to help foster continuing success in Canadian skating. The Fund provides an opportunity for a Skate Canada skater, coach, official, or volunteer to develop leadership skills with the goal of enhancing the organization’s leadership depth.

Being part of the David Dore Mentorship Fund for a few years now, I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to a cross-section of people working in local skating collectives across the country. From judges to administrators to community organizers, I am continually impressed and encouraged by all the applicants and recipients. They are interested in new experiences and learning opportunities to better equip themselves and to grow the community around them.

Paul Dore – 1990s

As Val Masek, 2018 David Dore Mentorship Fund recipient said, “It is not all about skating. We feel skating makes us better citizens and appreciative of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. I see my work as a piece of a larger continuum guided by Mr. Dore’s principles of strong fundamentals and the importance of community service.”

After four Mentorship Fund recipients, I think my dad would be happy with the results. Four people from four corners of the country all working in different ways towards the common goal of improving the skating lives of those around them.

Returning to those Worlds in Vancouver, I hope that my father took a moment or two for himself to think about just how far he had come. A highpoint of his skating career was making it to Nationals. This idea of through-lines and historical patterns have been on my mind lately because my father’s grandson, and my nephew Joshua, who just competed in his first National Championships in Mississauga. We are officially three generations of figure skaters.

Joshua Dore

Although I never got there during my skating career, I did make it to the Olympics in Sochi when working as a director for the Olympic Broadcasting Service. My father always offered his guidance and he helped navigate me through my first time at an Olympic Games. From how to pack for a month to the nuances of new ice dancing rules to understanding the immensity of participating in such an enormous event. He had attended many Olympic Games, and he had so much knowledge and experience. It was very important for me to listen to what he wanted to pass along.

My father would have been very excited to see the World Championships return to Canada. He always had an eye on the future and would have been thrilled to see how the Mentorship Fund recipients use their new-found knowledge and experience. I also know that my father would be extremely proud of Joshua, and would have wanted nothing more than to sit in those stands watching and cheering on the next generation – both on the ice and through the fund recipients – who continue to push the sport forward.

To learn more about the David Dore Mentorship Fund and the Program, watch this video of past recipients expressing their experience at previous Skate Canada Ice Summits.  If you are one of those leaders, further information and the application can be found at the below link.

IT FELT LIKE WINNING THE OLYMPICS!

Written by Paul Dore

Are you a member of the Skate Canada community and thinking about applying for the David Dore Mentorship Fund? Perhaps you are a judge, coach or a club administrator and a friend or colleague suggested you look into it? Maybe the application seems a bit daunting and you’re on the fence as to whether this is right for you?

We talked to Val Masek and asked him to reflect on his experiences as the 2018 David Dore Mentorship Fund recipient. The Fund is open to a wide range of Skate Canada members – skaters, coaches, volunteers, administrators – and the purpose is to provide an opportunity to an individual in order to develop leadership skills with the goal of enhancing Skate Canada’s leadership depth.

The recipient is someone who recognizes how instrumental my father was in building the sport of figure skating in Canada and understands that this legacy was built on hard work, risk-taking, commitment, passion, and dedication. Through many different positions, my father deeply appreciated the important roles that volunteers such as Val have in our sport.

Val’s application reminded me of the way my father might have written one: methodical, attention to detail, forward-thinking. He is the President of the Prince of Wales Skating Club in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and has been involved with the sport for years.

A major part of being a David Dore Mentorship Fund recipient is attending the Skate Canada Ice Summit, where you’ll have the opportunity to help facilitate a workshop, shadow a Skate Canada leader, and participate in many events over the course of the weekend.

Heading into last year’s Summit, Val was excited to share his experiences from the most eastern part of Canada and being welcomed into the larger Skate Canada family. “The opportunity from the David Dore Mentorship Fund magnified this exceptional experience beyond words,” Val said. “At the Summit, Skate Canada’s movement towards better engagement, more efficient governance, and overall excellency in our work as volunteers was truly exceptional.”

The opportunity of attending the Skate Canada Summit is one that has a huge impact on the recipient and their local skating community. It’s not just the individual that benefits from the vast institutional knowledge on hand at the Summit. In addition, they can pay it forward to their own local skating community. “My experiences left a deep impression about the strong community of Skate Canada,” Val said. “The Fund’s goals intertwined with the spirit of David Dore’s historical work were on display at the Summit. It felt like winning the Olympics itself!”

In addition to attending the Summit, the recipient is matched up with mentors who have specific expertise related to their goals. The recipient’s time at the Summit is maximized in order to provide the most amount of learning opportunities. “I had the privilege to meet with a number of great mentors and learn from their experiences,” Val said. “I also could share some of our often unique situations from the Newfoundland and Labrador section. Being a club leader of 1200 members requires a huge time sacrifice and challenge for any volunteer. Through my mentor, I was delighted to be encouraged in my attitude towards the introduction of new technologies to improve our training methods and club operations.”

To me, one of the best ways to learn is through storytelling and connecting with others through personal experiences. One of the presentations especially resonated with Val: “Dr. William Bridel delivered an emotionally powerful speech aimed at the wider inclusion and support of LGBTQI2S members in our programs. In such spirit, I invited Eric Radford and his partner Luis Fenero to conduct a skater development seminar with our kids.”

Val had some final thoughts about the benefits of the Fund and a message to those out there thinking of applying: “The Fund opened a door for our club to become recognized within the larger Skate Canada community. It allowed us to tap into the knowledge and broad experiences of Canada’s most successful clubs, volunteer leadership, and top athletes. I see my work as a piece of a larger picture guided by Mr. Dore’s principles of hard work, commitment, and dedication to community service. I am truly humbled and honoured to be a part of Mr. Dore’s legacy and I strongly recommend applying for the Fund.”

After reading Val’s inspiring words, apply today for the David Dore Mentorship Fund.

SKATING IS MORE THAN SPORT, IT’S COMMUNITY

Written by Paul Dore

Skating is in my blood. Exactly thirty years ago, I laced up my first pair of skates. On that day, I fell and hit my head, resulting in a goose egg-sized bump above my left eye (wearing helmets was not yet enforced the way it is nowadays). I didn’t really feel the pain because all I was thinking about was the next time I could get out on the ice.

One fortunate element to our Canadian winters is the wide access to outdoor rinks. I live in Toronto and almost every city park has one. To this day, I still trek to my local rink, brave the cold, and step on to the ice. Getting exercise is a great by-product, but I’m also there for other reasons.

The rink is where I seek council from my father.

Many times, when I had to make a big decision, I’d call my dad. We’d bat things around, brainstorm my different options, and always come away with a plan. Those of you who knew my dad, knew he loved to plan things out. We wouldn’t always agree, but we respected each other’s decisions. No matter what, we’d support each other.

My dad has been gone for three years now. For a while, I felt lost. I deeply missed these conversations, and at times, it was difficult to figure out a way forward. Then one day, I realized that I could talk to him. We all hold our loved ones in our hearts and have places we can go that reminds us of them. For me, it’s the skating rink.

Being involved with figure skating is much more than a sport, it’s a community. A family. When my dad first stepped on the ice as a child to help rehabilitate his body while recovering from polio, it started a journey for him that lasted his entire life. As a competitor, a judge, volunteer, administrator, and International Skating Union delegate, it’s safe to say my dad was involved with every aspect of the sport. He recognized that skating is a community of people participating in something larger than themselves.

During his tenure as President of Skate Canada (then the Canadian Figure Skating Association), it was always important to him to visit each section, and as many clubs as he could fit into his schedule. He understood the value of connecting all clubs and skaters across the country to the head office. Likewise, when he extended his influence internationally, developing the sport outside of the traditional powerhouse countries was an important goal for him.

He believed in the power of sport and I think this came from a personal place. He recognized and valued how skating had enriched his life. In many ways, his true legacy was in developing opportunities for others to have similar experiences.

This is a big reason why I am so proud to be a part of Skate Canada’s David Dore Mentorship Fund. I believe that it is a continuation of his work. The purpose of the fund is to provide an opportunity for a Skate Canada coach, official, volunteer, or administrator at the club, section or national level to develop leadership skills. The recipient attends the Ice Summit and is matched up with mentors.

Recently, I had someone outside the skating community ask what I thought skating had taught me. I had to think about it because it’s not a short answer. I learned how to be responsible for myself, how to manage myself and my time, what it means to commit to something larger than myself, how to set goals – the list goes on. These items were all very nice and true. However, I think the biggest lesson came from my dad. It wasn’t necessarily something he told me. It was evident in how he lived his life. Search for that thing – whatever it is – that you are supposed to do. Something that provides passion and purpose. For those fortunate enough to find that discovery, dedicate the whole self to it – your focus, your talents, your emotions. With the Mentorship Fund, we hope to inspire individuals to fuel their passion and find their place in the skating community.

But still, at different times in our lives, we all need council, guidance, and mentorship. When I need it, I go to the skating rink. I’ll think to myself, “Alright, here’s the situation…” I can hear his voice as my blades cut across the ice. I can see him leaning over the boards watching. I can feel him in my heart.

To learn more about the David Dore Mentorship Fund, watch this video of past recipients expressing their experience at the 2017 Ice Summit.  If you are one of those leaders, further information and the application can be found at the below link. APPLY TODAY!

2018 David Dore Mentorship Fund: APPLY

Planning, Flexibility and Responsibility

by Paul Dore

A few months ago, I received a package from Skate Canada Archivist Emery Leger. Inside was a stack of speeches my father David Dore made in the 1980s and 1990s. My father was the Director General of Skate Canada and then Vice-President of the International Skating Union (ISU). He was first known as a great public speaker during his time at Skate Canada, who was able to clearly communicate his direction of the sport in this country. Through strong leadership, my father had a vision of what could be accomplished. There was a common thread throughout these speeches; he continually outlined three elements he felt were essential to being a successful leader: planning, flexibility and responsibility.

In order to achieve success, it was crucial for my father to have a clear path forward. During his time at Skate Canada and the International Skating Union, he was always prepared and always planning – most of the time years in advance. While planning was important, he also stressed the need to be flexible. Times change, and as we all know, the sport of figure skating can evolve rapidly. A plan must be in place, but the ability to adapt, change and adjust that plan was key to success. Finally, a leader must take responsibility for their actions. People involved with the sport did not always agree with my father and he respected and welcomed other’s opinions, but a leader must not be afraid to make unpopular decisions. They might be unpopular in the moment, but together with planning and flexibility, a strong leader must have one eye on what is best in both the long and short term.

I think these elements of leadership were part of the motivation to establish the David Dore Mentorship Fund. Skate Canada is dedicated to recognizing positive leaders who exemplify these same leadership traits at the community, club, section and national level. The Mentorship Fund enables a Skate Canada member, coach, official or administrator to further enhance their leadership skills by attending the Skate Canada Ice Summit for a unique educational and networking experience.

Last year, I had the privilege of being involved in the selection of the first two recipients of the David Dore Mentorship Fund. Megan Foster is from Brandon, Manitoba, is a coach and Regional Sport Development Officer for Sport Manitoba. Amanda Gryniewski is from Mississauga, Ontario and an official with Skate Ontario.

“I was fortunate to shadow Debra Armstrong during the Ice Summit,” Megan said. “It was really neat to see such a strong leader in action during a presentation and within an hour have everyone on the same page and on the same goal.”

As a judge, Amanda enjoyed being mentored by officials with international experience: “During the workshops, I got to present with [International Judge] Sally Rehorick, which was amazing. It was about what officials are doing when they’re not holding a clipboard. Sally gave me the opportunity to speak and I talked about own experiences as a judge and leadership among young people, which I think is very important to our sport.”

On the last day of the 2017 Ice Summit, I was able to meet Megan and Amanda. The excitement over their experiences during their time in Ottawa was palpable. “After spending time with Debra at the Ice Summit,” Megan commented, “it’s almost a little overwhelming to think of how to apply what I’ve learned and what would have the most impact to my community.”

Amanda was already thinking of how to capitalize on her time at the Ice Summit: “I went to one of the workshops taught by a referee and I learned a lot about the rules that I didn’t know even as a skater. I also went to some of the coaching seminars and I got to learn from this different perspective. I hope that when I go back to my club, I can inspire some of the younger kids to get involved with judging as well.”

Megan and Amanda both exemplify planning, flexibility and leadership. After learning about their experiences, perhaps you are a future recipient of the David Dore Mentorship Fund? If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply today to attend the 2018 Ice Summit in Calgary, Alberta.

Returning to that stack of speeches, my father always reminded himself and those he was speaking to of these principles:

“Let not the dream of every young skater remain only as a dream. Savour the friendships and memories – ours is a sport unique in comradeship and moments of greatness. Allow that our involvement always be motivated by positive intents and cooperative action. Let us have pride in our young athletes and recognize the support of volunteers, parents, coaches and administrators. Last but not least, let us not forget that this sport involves to a great extent the young people of this nation, their mental and physical development and well-being, as well as their aspirations and goals.”

To hear more from Amanda and Megan, watch this video where they go into more details about their experience at the 2017 Ice Summit.

If you are one of those leaders, find out more information and apply today through the link below.

2018 David Dore Mentorship Fund: https://info.skatecanada.ca/index.php/en-ca/procedures/246-david-dore-mentorship-fund-information-application.html

Guest Blog: Paul Dore reflects on father’s legacy one year after his passing

It’s been almost a year since my father passed away. In that time, several people – athletes, coaches and others from the skating community – have told me stories about how much he personally helped them. Many people are familiar with my father’s contributions to skating throughout the course of his career and are aware of his leadership positions. To me, these two elements help define leadership. The ability to not just have a vision for an entire organization, but also to quietly be aware of the people participating in that vision at all levels and help them succeed with their individual goals. He understood that the more individuals succeed, the more room the sport has to grow and benefit all participants.

Last year, Skate Canada established the David Dore Mentorship Fund to provide an opportunity for a leader in the skating community to participate in the 2017 Ice Summit in Ottawa. The recipient will attend  the summit (all expenses paid) and be able to shadow and participate in a one-on-one Q & A session with a Skate Canada leader.

No one becomes a leader overnight, it’s more an accumulation of experiences and being exposed to mentors. When my dad became President of the Canadian Figure Skating Association (before it became Skate Canada) in 1980, he made a speech outlining his vision of how the organization could develop and grow over the next few decades. This vision came from his many years as an athlete, judge and volunteer. Those years built within him a tremendous respect and appreciation for volunteers and the many people that work tirelessly behind-the-scenes, from the club level to sectional organizations to the national level.

My dad’s first mentors in skating were his coaches, who not only taught him technical skills, but instilled a passion for the sport that would last his entire life. As a judge, he continually sought out more experienced officials and had ongoing discussions with them about how he could improve. My dad spoke often about the many people that taught him leadership skills as he made his way from president to Directer General of Skate Canada. As he retired from Skate Canada to become the Vice President of the International Skating Union, it was important to him to pass along all the experiences he learned to others. He was constantly looking for more mentors and more knowledge.

So, what does this fund mean to me personally? In a letter, my dad wrote, “I have seen life as a journey of exploration. On the road you meet many people – some who can help you directly, some from whom you can learn, but in all cases mentors have been my greatest resource.” I’ve now been involved with skating for almost 30 years as an athlete, coach and television broadcaster. In a similar way to my father, the sport has provided mentors that have significantly impacted my life – from my coaches as a skater all the way up to those I worked with in Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Games. This fund is a way to keep alive what he accomplished in the past, but also, it’s a continuation of his legacy to help those that have the same passion for the sport as my father. To aid in supporting the Skate Canada leaders of today and tomorrow.

If you are one of those leaders, find out more information and apply through the links below.

David Dore Mentorship Fund: https://info.skatecanada.ca/hc/en-ca/categories/115000157183-Skate-Canada-Fund

Podcast Interview: http://www.openkwongdore.com/2017/03/13/episode-29-david-dore-mentorship-fund/

Skating Community Mourns the Passing of David Dore

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada is in mourning after learning of the passing of skating pioneer David Dore. He passed away peacefully this morning in Ottawa at age 75.

Dore was the youngest President of the Canadian Figure Skating Association, now known as Skate Canada. Most recently, and up until his passing, he served as the 1st Vice President of Figure Skating for the International Skating Union (ISU).

“The skating community in Canada and around the world are extremely saddened by the passing of David. He brought figure skating to a whole new level with his innovative and forward-thinking ideas; many practices that he implemented are still in use today,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada CEO. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dore family during this trying time. The sport has lost a true champion.”

Dore is one of the most decorated administrators and volunteers in Canadian sport, and was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2002, he received the International Olympic Committee’s highest honour, the Olympic Order, for his contribution to sport in the global community. In 2008 he was inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame as a builder.

During his eighteen-year tenure at Skate Canada he developed the National Team program, created the Athlete Trust, developed successful marketing and television concepts and staged three highly successful ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

Dore was also a national medallist, a world and Olympic level judge, and was involved locally at the club and section level.

In 2016, Skate Canada launched the David Dore Mentorship Fund. The fund recognizes positive leaders who exemplify the same leadership traits as Dore in the community, club, section and national level.

Skate Canada wishes to send its sincerest sympathies to Mr. Dore’s family and friends.