Please tell us a bit about yourself. 


My name is Dee Channer and I am the Associate Director of Rising Star Athletics. I grew up in the James Bay Cree Region from the First Nation of Waswanipi in Northern Quebec. It was here that my passion for youth development began, in particular with the First Nations communities. At Rising Stars Athletics and Education, I create and run educational extra-curricular school based programs in the surrounding school boards and for the Youth on First Nation reserves. The goal of these programs is to help keep students more engaged in school, while inspiring active involvement, creativity and positive leadership. We integrate Youth Awareness Workshops that address the issues that students in the local school boards and many First Nations communities continually face – drugs, alcohol, smoking, bullying and nutrition, to name a few.


Along with youth development, I am passionate about sports, in particular basketball. When attending Wilfrid Laurier University, I played varsity basketball on a team that attended the National championships two years in a row. I have seen time and time again how sport can truly impact our youth and I love helping athletes to grow and develop to be successful in both the classroom and on the court. I currently coach the Varsity Women’s Basketball team at Conestoga College where I have put a lot of hard work into building a basketball program that previously did not exist. I pride myself on leading by example and showing my athletes how hard work, commitment and teamwork are the keys to their future success.

Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you have faced.


One of the biggest challenges in my life has been overcoming the struggles that I faced throughout high school and university with my academics. Basketball was a huge part of my life and I had the dream of playing at the post secondary level. In order to get there, I had to push myself to get the grades necessary to both get into university and to subsequently stay in university. This required me to get extra help, tutoring and attend summer school and night school. In fact, in my first year of university, I failed out of my first year and had to work my butt off to become eligible to get back in to school and play basketball again.


How did you overcome that barrier? What skills did you develop in sport to help you overcome your barrier?


Struggling in school, in particular when I failed out of my first year of university, provided me with a choice in my life. It was a major crossroads where I could either give up or I could push hard and figure out a way to get back into school and back to playing the sport that I loved and was such a big part of my life. One of the things that I pride myself on is the fact that I have never been someone who has given up or quit on my goals. I genuinely believe that this tenacity that I had came from my experience in playing basketball. This tenacity has been what has pushed me to achieve the success both on and off the court in various areas of my entire life.


If you had one word to describe your character, experiences or philosophy, what would it be? Why?




I have both experienced and seen so many people struggle in life and the one that that I have never lost is a belief in both myself and in others. I think this came through in my own life when I never gave up on myself academically – I always believed that I could improve and get better. I have this same belief in all of the youth that I work with now and in the athletes that I coach. No matter what their obstacles in life, I truly believe that with the right direction and support, they can achieve anything.


If you wanted to motivate a young female athlete to #BuildHerUp, what quote would you use? Why?


My favourite quote that I come back to time and time again is from Michael Jordan:


“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying again.”


This quote speaks to me because I have been through so many failures in my own life, just like anyone else, and it has been my willingness and desire to continue to try that has helped me significantly. I like to think of the failures in my life as disturbances such as a rock being thrown into water. That rock will create a disturbance of ripples or waves and, provided you ride out the waves, the water will eventually become calm again. This is a great metaphor for life that has always stuck out to me – no matter what disturbance you face, having the tenacity to ride through it (often with support) will lead you back to calmness. I try to exemplify this as much as I possibly can to young female athletes that I work with in my workshops and also the ones that I coach. Keep working hard, stay focused and you can achieve whatever success you want in life.


Twitter: @ChannerDee

Instagram: @deechanner

Facebook: Dee Channer