Fac­ing a new chal­lenge

Scotch­town’s Alyssa Shupe named ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Softball New Brunswick

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

Alyssa Shupe de­voted her sum­mers to play­ing base­ball and softball, and now her fo­cus is on help­ing chil­dren have those same op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The for­mer Scotch­town res­i­dent was re­cently named the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor for Softball New Brunswick, an or­ga­ni­za­tion with a mem­ber­ship of 4,000.

Shupe is look­ing for­ward to the op­por­tu­nity to give back to the sport she loves.

“I am ex­tremely thank­ful to have had the op­por­tu­ni­ties I had with com­ing from a small com­mu­nity to where I am now,” said Shupe, who now calls Fred­er­ic­ton home. “It does help com­ing from such a sports-ori­ented com­mu­nity, who are pas­sion­ate about sport, in par­tic­u­lar base­ball and softball.” On the field, Shupe, a pitcher and an in­fielder, was con­sid­ered an all-star by her team­mates. She played in the New Water­ford Mi­nor Base­ball sys­tem for eight years, and was also part of Breton Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre’s men’s base­ball team for two years.

She also rep­re­sented two prov­inces, Nova Sco­tia and Man­i­toba (where she lived for a year and a half) on the na­tional stage, and also played for Team At­lantic’s slo-pitch team.

One of the big­gest high­lights of her ca­reer was be­ing named Man­i­toba’s top fe­male ath­lete in 2007. Another high­light of hers was play­ing for the Uni­ver­sity of New Brunswick (where she re­ceived her Bach­e­lor of Recre­ation and Sport Stud­ies in Ki­ne­si­ol­ogy) at the In­ter­col­le­giate Fast­pitch Games in On­tario in 2012.

Shupe said al­though she played base­ball and softball, she had more op­por­tu­ni­ties with softball.

“I was and still am able to com­pete at an elite level through­out dif­fer­ent tour­na­ments, leagues and cham­pi­onships,” said the 26-year-old. “With that be­ing said, I would pro­mote the sport of softball to young ath­letes, es­pe­cially young girls.”

Softball is one of the more pop­u­lar sports in New Brunswick. There are eight re­gions, in­clud­ing Camp­bell­ton, Fred­er­ic­ton, Monc­ton, Saint John and Wood­stock.

Al­though base­ball is a direct com­peti­tor in the prov­ince, Shupe said there are more op­por­tu­ni­ties for adults, both com­pet­i­tively and recre­ation­ally, in softball.

Shupe said there is a “happy medium” when it comes to players play­ing softball and base­ball in New Brunswick.

“There are more adult leagues and as­so­ci­a­tions than youth teams, but there seems to be a healthy in­crease in the num­ber of fe­male softball players,” she said. “With that be­ing said, there seems to be a steady de­cline in the num­ber of male softball players at a younger age.”

As the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, Shupe is in charge of many dif­fer­ent as­pects of the sport, in­clud­ing oversee­ing day-to­day ad­min­is­tra­tive op­er­a­tions, man­ag­ing on­line reg­is­tra­tion along with man­ag­ing long-term player devel­op­ment, and de­vel­op­ing a com­pre­hen­sive mar­ket­ing and spon­sor­ship plan.

Pro­fes­sion­ally, Shupe is the recre­ation pro­gram direc­tor for the Gage­town and District Recre­ation Coun­cil.

She said things can be­come over­whelm­ing be­tween work and the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor po­si­tion.

“I en­joy what I do — I am very pas­sion­ate about sport, recre­ation, and leisure and this job is just the cherry on top,” said Shupe. “I love what I do and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Al­though only be­ing named the or­ga­ni­za­tions’ ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor in Jan­uary, Shupe al­ready has some plans for Softball New Brunswick.

“My over­all goal would be to be a strong fe­male ad­vo­cate and role model for the growth of the sport,” said Shupe. “I also hope to im­ple­ment a Spe­cial Olympics team and coach­ing staff, part­ner­ing with Spe­cial Olympics New Brunswick, and to gen­er­ate more mem­ber­ship as well as the ex­pan­sion of more as­so­ci­a­tions.”

Shupe en­cour­ages more chil­dren and adults to give softball a chance in Cape Breton.

“Softball is much more di­verse and there are more op­por­tu­ni­ties within the stream,” said Shupe. “Cape Breton has one of the big­gest slo-pitch leagues around and that num­ber is on the rise. You also have a lux­ury of con­tin­u­ing to play as an adult or se­nior and at­tend great tour­na­ments.”


Alyssa Shupe, sec­ond from left, is shown with young base­ball and softball players last sum­mer in New Brunswick. Shupe was named the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor for Softball New Brunswick in Jan­uary.


Aside from be­ing the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor for Softball New Brunswick, Alyssa Shupe is also the recre­ation pro­gram direc­tor for the Gage­town and District Recre­ation Coun­cil in Gage­town, N.B. Above, Shupe is shown help­ing a se­nior play bingo.


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