The award is being handed out during National Coaches Week
Kingston, September 21, 2023 – Sail Canada announced today that Alex Byczko of Toronto, ON, Head Instructor at the Westwood Sailing Club, has been selected Sail Canada 2022 Instructor of the Year, presented by Checklick, as the country celebrates National Coaches Week, an annual event which ends this Sunday.
The Sail Canada Instructor of the Year Award, presented by Checklick, is awarded annually to an instructor who demonstrates excellence on the water teaching and communicating skills, is respectful, fair and equitable, encourages pride in the sport, has taken part in clinics and performs above and beyond what is required from an instructor. The winners are Sail Canada certified and registered instructors who have made a significant impact and have accepted the challenge of improving the level of sailing at their club/school. Honest, sincere and honourable in their relationships with sailors as well as looking to improve their own approach to teaching, training and mentoring new instructors, Sail Canada Instructor of the Year Award winners have a high degree of self-awareness and the ability to reflect critically on the information exchange between them and the sailors, and how their perspectives influence their interactions with others.
Nominations have been evaluated based on a time period ranging from January 1 to December 31, 2022.
“I’m super surprised and honestly really stoked to be receiving this award from Sail Canada so, thank you!”, said Alex Byczko. “It’s just awesome to be recognized for something that I absolutely love and have a really huge passion for. I started sailing in 2000 and instructing in 2003, and I knew I had an addiction to the silent rush and power and I just wanted to share that feeling and sensation with the rest of the world.”
“What kept me in the game for so long is just those little eureka moments where you see those smiles and the light bulbs go off when they’re making connections between theory and practice and they’re achieving skill, mastery. I’m here for the smiles and I want to continue to provide those smiles and that access to the sport.”
“A lot of thank you are going out to people because honestly, I’ve only been able to get here standing on the shoulders of giants and people who have helped me hone my craft and just become a better instructor and coach. First and foremost, my start in the Sea Cadet program, Ontario Sailing, Westwood Sailing Club, Sail Canada, as well as a number of my mentors: Sarah Urquhart, Jenny Davey, Dave Zeni, Cam Lymburner, Charlie Rishor, Steve McBride and Ryan Kelly.”
“Thank you all for all of the little helps tips and tricks over the years to just make my instructing and coaching a lot better and hopefully we’ll see you out on the water.”
Alex Byczko has been teaching for over a decade at the Westwood Sailing Club in Toronto, where he is now the Head Instructor.
He has been offering group lessons for the CANSail curriculum, and also offering private classes to people who cannot attend group classes. He has also been active in making the yearly training schedule and also in recruiting other instructors. Alex promotes the club and sailing in the province through his community support and Toronto International Boat Show sailing seminars.
He has additionally been working with Ontario Sailing at multiple clubs in the Greater Toronto Area as an instructor, notably teaching people with a disability, and as a Master Learning Facilitator coaching people who would like to become instructors. He has also been teaching abroad, in such countries as Costa Rica and Bahamas.
From the nomination form: “He has always shown enthusiasm about teaching, and his attitude has attracted many new members to the club, but also encouraged members to return to the club. Some clubs have even referred new students to the Westwood Sailing Club just because of Alex’s quality of teaching. He has never hesitated to go beyond his role as an instructor to promote the club and sailing in Toronto, something which has never been part of his mandate. He has also always stepped up to make the club better, which involved doing boat repair, shopping for boat parts, photography and making donations such as new sails and used boats.”
Servicing Sail Canada’s Program deliveries, Checklick is an Athlete Development Tracking System (ADTS™) owned and operated by Checklick Inc. in Toronto, Canada. Checklick has been helping organizations gain insights into their programs by providing a system to build standardized program skill checklists. Instructors and Coaches use the system to evaluate program participants’ skill development and track their progress. As an all-in-one system, Checklick also offers to clubs and sport schools a payment and registration system for organizations to sell their courses, memberships, events and items.
About Sail Canada
Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the country. Sail Canada is a leading international sailing nation, proud of its world class athletes, lifelong participants and inclusive culture. The organization and its members are committed to excellence by developing and training its leaders, athletes, sailors, instructors, coaches and officials. With the valued support from our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations and our member clubs, schools, organizations and stakeholders, sailing is promoted in all its forms. By setting standards and delivering programs from home pond to podium for Canadians of all ages and abilities, from dinghies to keelboats, cruising to navigation, windsurfing to powerboating and accessible sailing, Sail Canada sets sail for all, sail to win and sail for life.
A sport in the Olympic program since the first Games in 1896, except in 1904, the pursuit of success in these Games is what fuels the focus of Sail Canada as Canadian athletes have so far achieved nine Olympic and five Paralympic medals.