What Does Success Look Like To You? – Edward Lefurgy

What Does Success Look Like To You? – Edward Lefurgy

Edward Lefurgy is a dedicated school counselor and basketball coach based in Coldstream, British Columbia. Born on September 6, 1982, in Chilliwack, BC, Edward has built a significant career focusing on youth development and mental health. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of the Fraser Valley and Masters degrees in Educational Leadership and Counseling. Currently serving as a counselor at Kalamalka Secondary School, Edward also founded Roots Sports Club, a youth basketball organization, and runs his counseling business, Olive Branch Wellness. His work is characterized by a deep commitment to the well-being of his students, emphasizing the importance of both mental and physical health. Through his various roles, Edward has become a pillar in his community, dedicated to fostering environments that support and encourage young people to thrive.

Q&A with Edward Lefurgy: Insights on Integrating Sports, Education, and Mental Health

Can you tell us a bit about your background and what inspired you to focus on youth development through sports and counseling?

Edward Lefurgy: Absolutely! Growing up in Chilliwack, BC, sports were always a big part of my life, and they played a crucial role in shaping who I am today. During my university years, I saw firsthand how sports could positively impact mental health and personal growth. This realization led me to pursue a career where I could combine my love for sports with my passion for education and counseling. Today, as a school counselor and basketball coach, I focus on nurturing young individuals to help them grow holistically.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Edward Lefurgy: One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is seeing a young person overcome personal challenges, whether on the basketball court or in their personal lives. Knowing that our programs provide them with the skills and confidence to face these challenges is incredibly fulfilling. It’s not just about sports; it’s about empowering them to succeed in various aspects of life.

How do you integrate mental health support into your sports programs?

Edward Lefurgy: We take a proactive approach by incorporating mental health education into our routine. This includes regular workshops on stress management, the importance of mental health, and teaching coping strategies. We also promote an open environment where athletes feel safe to discuss their feelings and challenges, ensuring they know they’re supported both on and off the field.

Can you share a specific strategy you use to help at-risk youth through your sports programs?

Edward Lefurgy: Certainly! One effective strategy is creating leadership opportunities within the team. We assign team responsibilities that rotate regularly, allowing each player to take on a leadership role. This responsibility helps build their self-esteem and gives them a sense of belonging and importance, which is crucial for their overall emotional and social development.

What challenges have you faced in your work, and how have you addressed them?

Edward Lefurgy: One major challenge is the stigma surrounding mental health, especially in sports, where toughness is often glorified. Addressing this involves continuous education and creating a culture that values mental resilience as much as physical strength. We also face challenges with funding and resources, but we’ve been able to overcome some of these obstacles by forging strong partnerships with local businesses and community organizations, which support our programs.

Looking to the future, what developments do you hope to see in your field?

Edward Lefurgy: I hope to see a greater emphasis on integrated programs that not only focus on athletic performance but also on the mental and emotional well-being of athletes. I believe that sports programs should be more widely recognized as vital tools for youth development. Personally, I’m looking to expand our programs to include more diverse sports and further integrate technology that can enhance both training and mental health monitoring.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in education and youth sports coaching?

Edward Lefurgy: Start by deeply understanding the needs and challenges faced by young people today. Be patient and persistent. This field requires a lot of dedication and passion, as the results of your efforts are not always immediate. Also, always be willing to learn and adapt. The fields of education and sports are ever-evolving, and staying informed about the latest practices and technologies will make you a better mentor and coach.

How can the community at large support the development of youth sports programs?

Edward Lefurgy: Community support is crucial. Attending games, sponsoring teams, or simply spreading the word about the importance of these programs can make a big difference. Communities can also advocate for policies that support sports and mental health programs in schools to ensure they receive the necessary funding and recognition. It’s a collective effort to raise the next generation of healthy, happy, and resilient individuals.

Finally, what does success look like to you?

Edward Lefurgy: To me, success is not measured by wins or losses on the court, nor by academic achievements alone. Success is seeing a young person become more confident, resilient, and compassionate through their participation in our programs. It’s about each student leaving our program better equipped to face life’s challenges, with a strong sense of self and a supportive community behind them. When our athletes apply the lessons learned in sports to their everyday lives, improving not just their own circumstances but also positively influencing those around them, that’s the true indicator of success in my eyes.