Alumni Magazine May 2021

Among Bishop’s core priorities is the creation of experiential learning possibilities through internships and co-op placements.  The University was therefore thrilled earlier this year when the Olney family siblings, formerly of the Eastern Townships, launched an innovative internship program pairing Bishop’s with Rocky Mountain Adaptive (RMA) in Canmore, Alberta.  The first internship will be awarded in 2021.

Each summer, The Olney Family Internship at Rocky Mountain Adaptive will see a current Bishop’s student participate in an experiential learning opportunity in the Canadian Rockies.  The internship will focus on a project reflecting the student’s degree program while meeting the needs of RMA.  Once back at Bishop’s, the student will complete their RMA project as an independent study while earning six credits toward their degree. 

The Olney siblings, Andy ’72, Monica ’74, Chris ’79 and Marie ’83 are all proud Bishop’s alumni. Their mother Allene, who also took courses at Bishop’s, and their dad Andrew were regular chauffeurs shuttling their children between their home in Sherbrooke and the campus.

Marie Olney, 83′

About Rocky Mountain Adaptive

RMA, an adaptive sport organization, is a registered charity that enables individuals of all ages with physical or neurodivergent disABILITIES to participate in all the unique sporting and adventure activities the Bow Valley/Canadian Rockies has to offer.  RMA’s programming, ranging from multi-week programs to single-day lessons and experiences, offers opportunities in 22 different winter and summer sports to both locals and residents from around the world.

The dream at RMA is to promote adaptive sport, create independence, and develop opportunities, making the outdoors accessible to everyone. Their motto, “No Limits!” is more than just a phrase, it is a mentality. It motivates RMA to reduce barriers and provide successful sport and recreational experiences. For adaptive guests, “No Limits!” comes from a determination to overcome any obstacle when achieving goals. The benefits of participation in sport and recreation extend beyond the social aspects of equality and inclusion, and involve personal benefits that include increased independence, self-esteem, strength, coordination, mobility, more successful motor planning and movement execution, and overall physical health and mental well-being.

“There are no can’ts, only cans we haven’t tried yet,” is the axiom co-founder and Executive Director of RMA, Jamie McCulloch.  A small and very passionate staff along with numerous dedicated volunteers live by Jamie’s beliefs. 

All in the Family

This internship was Marie Olney’s brainchild, so she approached Bishop’s with the offer of a family donation to fund a student and, at the same time, provide support to another of her family’s preferred charitable organizations.  The family hopes that other donors will follow their lead in supporting not only Bishop’s but also other charitable organizations by creating similar internships. 

The enthusiasm among deans and faculty at Bishop’s was robust and details of the five-year commitment were quickly established. Applicants must apply by late February each year and a five-member selection committee will choose the successful candidate by the end of March. A three-way agreement (the student intern, Bishop’s University, and RMA) will outline the various expectations of the student. The funding, totalling $12,000 annually, will be disbursed at an agreed upon schedule and is contingent upon the successful completion and evaluation of the internship.

 “Everyone who knows me, even just a little, learns very quickly that I’m a walking, talking, marketing brochure for the Eastern Townships and that I bleed a wonderful Bishop’s purple,” notes Marie who moved to Alberta in 2011 and is an active participant and volunteer with RMA. “RMA has become a very important part of my life, helping me and so many others get that wonderful ‘I Did It!’ sense of accomplishment.” 

The entire Olney family is proud of this initiative. “Each of Marie’s siblings, along with other family members, have witnessed the excellent instruction, inclusive nature, and raison d’être of RMA,” Andy reflects. Chris adds, “We’re also very pleased this internship will allow the student a chance to spend time in a different region of our amazing Canada!”

 “All of our family love sports, both as participants and as spectators, and both Andy and I played for the basketball Gaiters,” laughs Monica. “It’s great that student interns from Bishop’s, through their involvement with RMA, will learn the importance of extending the opportunity to participate in sports to individuals of all ABILITIES.”

Click here to read the full Alumni Magazine from Spring 2021!

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