Friend, educator and determined competitor, Tracy Schmitt is a new and inspirational member of our National Yacht Club in Toronto.
Positive attitude, perseverance and resourcefulness …these are attributes aspiring paralympian and humorous Motivation Speaker Tracy Schmitt brings to achieving her goals. You would never know it by the way she gracefully walks into a room that Tracy was born a 4 way amputee. Both her legs end above the knee, yet she does very well wearing prosthetic legs.
With an infectious smile and unstoppable attitude, it is hard to imagine that Tracy was extremely shy in her preteen years. But that began to change when she was 11 years old and was being fitted for prosthetic legs at the Hugh MacMillan Rehabilitation Centre( now “Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab”).
It was there that Tracy met recreational therapist, Catherine Smart, who introduced her to the Independence Afloat Sailing Program( predecessor to Queen’s Quay Disabled Sailing Program) where Tracy
participated in the “Lean to Sail” program. During Tracy’s first season of sailing, her skills as a swimmer, yes swimmer, really improved. While Tracy also became an expert in dealing with a capsized sailboat, she did not get her White Sails 1 Certificate…that year. What she did get was bitten by the sailing bug and a high level of determination.
Achieving White Sails 1 the next summer was quickly followed by several other sailing certificates including becoming a Certified Sailing Instructor. A good community citizen, Tracy had also been volunteering at Independence Afloat until she was offered, and accepted, the position of Program Manager.
Tall ship sailing in the UK, Scotland and Holland were also part of her sailing development. “Sailing, made possible with the commitment and creativity of staff and volunteers at the Queen’s Quay Disabled Sailing Program, gave me the independence, and confidence necessary to achieve my life goals”. That first recreational therapist that Tracy met left such an impression on her that she had to get her recreational diploma from Centennial College, a degree in Recreational Therapy at Brock University, and a Teaching Certificate at Queen’s University and a Master in Business Administration from U of T’s Rotman School of Business.
Tracy’s work experience includes teaching primary school children in Mexico, Jamaica, Uganda and Nepal. She has also worked as an Organizational Development Facilitator for Air Canada and Shoppers Drugmart.
Sail racing has become Tracy’s passion. Her competitive spirit is strong, and on any Wednesday night, in the Martin 16 Class at the Queen’s Quay Racing Program she is coached by Thomas Fogh. She has done well in Toronto area regattas with a 1st place in the 2012 and 2013 Ash Bridges Bay Regatta LORC.
Tracy competes in world cup regattas across North America and is embarking on a Paralympic Sailing Campaign for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil! Tracy is training between Toronto, Ottawa and Miami Florida with Olympic Gold Medalist, Magnus Liljedahl at Team Paradise which is a non-profit organization helping people with disabilities achieve their Paralympic dreams in the sport of sailing.
Currently, Tracy is now developing racing skills in the 2.4m class on Thursday nights at National Yacht Club, and is an alternate athlete on the “Quest For The Gold” as an aspiring Ontario paralympian. In order to maintain her training schedule and skill development, Tracy could use some volunteer support on Thursday nights to get her on and off the water.
If you are willing and able to meet Unstoppable Tracy and give her a hand, I know she would really appreciate it!!!
You can read more about Tracy at www.unstoppabletracy.com
You can contact Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy, Welcome to the National Yacht Club – you are truly an inspiration…and Unstoppable!!
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