Fantastic day!

By Shawn Sheridan, 6 November 2011

Yesterday was OUTSPORT TORONTO's second annual Scrum.  We changed the format this year to be more comprehensive with sessions of presenters and panellists, all aligned with either general promotion of sport and healthy living to the broader LGBT community (what we called the "Participants' Track"), or with learning and mentoring each other to strengthen our individual organisations' abilities and sustainabilities (the "Organisers' Track").  With some 50 participants during the day sessions this year and even more for Patrick Burke's excellent and moving keynote address at the end of the day, this year's Scrum was certainly bigger and more involved than last year's.  Nonetheless, my sense from my own informal survey of participants throughout the day is that we did a pretty good job.  We will compile the results of all the evaluation forms and publish a summary once that is done, but I think one participant and panellist put it the best at the end of the day: "You're definitely fulfilling your mission!"

As Chair of OUTSPORT TORONTO, I'd like to thank everyone who was involved this year.  I am grateful to all the presenters, moderators, and panellists for their invaluable contributions.  I am proud of the organising committee and volunteers who made this day a success, and honoured that Patrick took time out of his busy schedule to come to Toronto to speak with us.  I'm also humbled that the participants took time out of their schedules to spend the day with us, building and strengthening our sports and recreation communities.

One final vignette from the day that I hope resonates with everyone:  I arrived shortly after 9:00am to find committee members setting up in room 106 at the 519.  There was also a tall young man helping, whom I assumed was 519 staff as I'd never seen him before.  Well, turns out he wasn't.  He'd heard Patrick Burke's interview that morning on CBC, and decided to check out the Scrum.  He'd been involved in sport earlier in his life, but had kind of given up on it for the same reasons so many of us did — fear of discrimination and fear for safety.  He registered for the Scrum, helped us set up, stayed the day, and last I heard he was thinking of joining the TGFL.  Now how cool is that?!