Guylaine Jacques, vice president of the Federation of Francophone Alberta Sport and Yann Gingras President presented, Monique Lavallee (center) with the Francophone Sport Ambassador for Alberta award Feb. 5.
Photo by Cathy Pellerin, Executive Director ACFA Centalta Region.
by Lucie Roy
Edmonton – A local woman is being heralded an ambassador of Francophone Sport in the province for track record of volunteerism with the Alberta Francophone Games (JFA). Monique Lavallee of Morinville received the Alberta Francophone Sport Ambassador award during the Federation of Francophone Alberta Sport (SSAB) General Annual meeting held at Cite Francophone in Edmonton Feb. 5.
Lavallee has been dedicated to the promotion of sports in French since 2002. In addition to being Head of Mission to the JFA, she has also helped with the logistics for the Games of the Canadian Francophonie (JFC) in 2008 and was Ambassador of the Canadian team at the 8th World Cup in Athletics held in Edmonton in 2001. She has also organized several fundraisers to allow athletes to participate in various sporting events. Lavallee has prepared many meals, including spaghetti suppers, the result always worth the effort just to see kids leave with their hearts filled with pride.
Lavallee said she was very touched to be awarded the honour, touched by the media attention she has received, and touched by a special presentation from Olympic athlete Antoine Boussombo, a man she met in 2001 and who now works with her at the same school. Lavallee said she was happy to have her family and a relative from Sherbrooke, Quebec by her side when she received the award. “The evening went fast,” she said, adding it was the first award she has received for volunteering in the Francophone Games. She likes to get kids involved, to give them an experience and for them to live to be proud to participate in their own language in Alberta.
A tradition of sport and volunteering
The New Brunswick native was the youngest Aquatic Director in Canada at the age of 18 and had programs on radio and television related to aquatics. Lavallee met her husband Charles in New Brunswick when he attended an Oilers Farm Team as equipment manager. The couple moved to Alberta in 1995 and have lived in Morinville for 20 years with sons, Benoit and Louis, both of whom are now MCHS graduates. The family has long been active in sports in and out of the community.
Lavallee is currently busy with the Alberta Francophone Games (JFA), celebrating its 20 anniversary this year and set to take place in Grande Prairie May 30 to June 1. More than 300 Alberta athletes, ranging from 12 to 18 years old, take part in the games, supported by more than 100 volunteers working to make it happen. Athletes will be selected from the provincial event to go on to the Canadian Games (JFC), held in Gatineau, Quebec July 23 to 27.
This year marks Lavallee’s twelfth year volunteering with the games, and she said it still warms her heart when she sees the smiles, pride, team bonding and new friendships formed when the youth meet other young athletes from across Alberta.
The long-time sports volunteer is the Team Leader for Zone 4-Centralta, the largest Zone in the province, encompassing 17 communities, including Legal, Morinville, St. Albert, and communities as far away as Redwater and Whitecourt. She organizes volunteers, is involved in recruitment and training of athletes, and does fundraising for young athletes who otherwise would not be able to attend.