Be the Change Award - Michelle Campbell

On International Women’s Day the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) pledged to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of individuals in the community (Medicine Hat & surrounding area) who lead, inspire, and motivate women and work to break the bias towards advancing gender equity. Each month the MHPS, in partnership with the Medicine Hat Police Association, selects a local individual(s) to highlight and celebrate as a” Be The Change” award recipient. The “Be the Change” award recognizes and celebrates the achievements of individuals who are catalysts for change in our community, and are working to advance women professionally and personally.

This month, Michelle Campbell has been chosen as the recipient of the MHPS “Be the Change Award.” Michelle is the epitome of ‘if it doesn’t exist… create it!’ She steps up when she sees a need and will never back down from something because it will take some effort and coordination. Michelle amazes us all with her ability to schedule and make the most of her time being a wife to a local business owner, mother to three very athletic children and an education assistant working for MHCBE at McCoy high school. Whether it is a late-night email or a phone call while she is chauffeuring kids from sport to sport, Michelle is always thinking about how to improve the landscape and equality of athletics in our community.

Michelle is the president of the Medicine Hat Minor Softball Association and among other attributes, she is admired by many for her determination when it comes to gender equality in female sports, especially softball. The gender inequality conversation in professional sports is something we have all heard about, but Michelle is taking on the challenge at a grass roots level, along with a dedicated group of like-minded volunteers. Through petitioning the City of Medicine Hat to ease the ball diamond crunch or working to make the diamonds we currently use safer and better equipped for female athletes, Michelle is dedicated to improving the facilities and association for future generations. With the extreme growth the Medicine Hat Minor Softball Association has seen, she wanted to keep the predominately female sport growing and empowering the younger generations of female athletes and coaches.

The Medicine Hat Minor Softball program travel teams have seen massive growth which has not been done without hard work and dedication. The program was once struggling to fill three teams in 2017, and now surges with eight teams in 2022. With growth of the Thunder program, Michelle discovered a need in Southern Alberta for a developmental softball series to handle the additional teams in the program. Michelle was then a driving force behind the creation of the Southern Alberta Softball Series, which has seen four age divisions compete in three weekends of tournament play in Medicine Hat, Calgary, and Lethbridge. This series not only impacted 50 young female athletes in Medicine Hat but has also impacted an additional 150 young female athletes across Southern Alberta: ranging in age from 9 to 17 years old.

In addition to being at the helm of softball in Medicine Hat, Michelle has been actively involved with the Medicine Hat Panthers Track and Field club since 2015.  During this time, the club has grown from 19 kids and one coach, which trained for 10 weeks/year on the old shale track behind Cresent Heights High School (CHHS), to 200+ athletes and 20+ coaches who have the option to train year-round on the new track and field facilities at the eight lane Rotary Track and indoor season at the Family Leisure Centre. With the mandate to encourage athletes to participate and develop excellence in Track and Field while maintaining an emphasis on multi sport athletes. One of the first members of the club was Olympian, Sage Watson, who has become a great role model and inspiration for all the athletes.  Michelle is very proud of the top-notch club and how many awesome female coaches and athletes we have from a cross section of multi sport disciplines.

You can either choose to inspire others by your words or by your actions. Michelle has chosen to inspire others by her actions and has always strived to do what is best for the organizations in which she volunteers. Through her many hours, tears, and sleepless nights, many will never know, Michelle has made her mark on our community. Michelle has set a standard of what a strong female role model looks like. They say that a volunteer doesn’t necessarily have the time, they just have the heart! One thing Michelle is so proud of to this day, is the number of female athletes who have returned as coaches and mentors as part of the program. Michelle, thank you for paving the way for so many female athletes, coaches and for advocating tirelessly to equal the playing field.