Jeff Powell

Thursday, March, 30th, 2017

Fast Pitch Winnipeg – 2017

Re-defining the meaning of “community” 

March 30, 2017 – It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a “performance on demand” type competition; representing a host of people who matter a great deal to me with a prize of significance in the line. Last Thursday, I found myself in that role again.

The Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba was fortunate to be selected as one of 15 organizations to take part in The Winnipeg Foundation’s Fast Pitch program. It was a series of workshops and performances over a two month period designed to teach Winnipeg-based non-profits how to tell the story of their organization in a concise, compelling way. Although we didn’t win in the final round, I can’t recall enjoying a competitive process more.

As I pondered this blog, the word “community” has been a recurring one in my thoughts. While I certainly identify strongly as a Canadian, Manitoban and Winnipegger, Fast Pitch brought together (and created) many, many more communities than those.

I could not begin to talk about communities without first thinking of the 14 other presenters. From sharing incredibly powerful personal stories to describing the wonderful work they do, they were nothing short of inspiring. The mutual support they gave each other was special to be a part of, and I am thankful they took me into their fold.


I had a coach who liked to say that, “nothing motivates a coach like motivated athletes”. I found myself challenged to do well by my fellow presenters in a very organic, positive way; based solely on their approach to their own presentations.

Of course, none of us would have progressed very far without our coaches. The input and encouragement of Stephen Porco and Scott McFayden over the course of the event meant a great deal. In fact, the sentiment of the presenter group was that the relationship formed with the coaches was one of the most significant elements of the program.

Finally, there is the community of philanthropic and civic-minded people that make Winnipeg so special. From Jennifer Partridge and Nicole Chartrand at The Winnipeg Foundation to the evening’s judges, to the 275 individuals who attended last Thursday’s final, everyone involved in Fast Pitch made a statement that the work these organizations do is important in building the kind of community we all want to be a part of.

I have been reflecting on all of this over the last few days as we think about our CSCM community: the aspiring and retiring Olympic and Paralympic athletes that were the focus of my pitch last week. The coaches, parents and officials without whom their journey would not be possible. The staff, board and friends of CSCM who support them in their efforts. All of these people and a hundred more are the community that we serve, and one that I hope they see us serving well.

My wish for all of you reading this is to connect more with the community or communities that matter to you. If that community is ours here at CSCM, I very much look forward to hearing from you. If you are not sure where to devote your energies, I can recommend 14 excellent places to start.