Morgan Couture is one busy teen.
A student at École Victor-Brodeur, a French first language school in Esquimalt, Couture has many activities on her plate. An elite hockey player, she spends several hours on the ice, while also maintaining a straight-A average and mentoring younger students.
But she doesn’t stop there.
She’s also a local referee, who is expected to officiate at the provincial hockey championships this spring, helps with an all-female atom team, and hopes to travel to Africa in two years in the improverished nation of Senegal.
“I think volunteering is built inside me,” says Couture, 14, a Sooke resident.
“It’s fun, but I find it a great experience, too. Why do I do it? I don’t know.”
Couture says when she was younger she wasn’t sociable at all. Seven years ago things changed when she started playing hockey.
Her parents encouraged her to try the sport, but she refused. After all, she reasoned, hockey was a “guys sport, and I was a girl.”
It wasn’t until a friend invited her to play hockey that she got hooked.
The game brought her out of her shell, says mom Melanie Dube
“I love hockey a lot. Hockey is one of my biggest passions,” Couture says with a grin.
Once she learned the sport, Couture looked for a different perspective. Her dad, Steve Couture, was a referee and encouraged his daughter to try it.
She was 11 years old when she officiated her first game. Now she’s being mentored to referee at the provincial hockey championships early next year.
One of her new challenges this year was to join the Sooke Atom Female team as an on-ice assistant helper. Couture says she loves working with her younger counterparts, and seeing them develop throughout the hockey season.
Sooke Atom Female manager Donna Perman says Couture has been a welcome addition to the team.
“She is a natural leader and has proven to be an excellent mentor for our aspiring new and returning players. The girls love having a fellow female player on the ice to teach and motivate them in a way that is different then our “dads” who coach,” Perman says.
Couture took her volunteering to a new level this fall when she got involved with YAAKAAR, a humanitarian and educational project supported by the Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF) under its virtual school.
The two-year program takes students on an international humanitarian mission for two to three weeks, usually in Senegal, to help in local schools.
Couture learned about the program in school and now is committed to raising $4,000 to the trip slated in 2017.
She’ll be getting help with the trip in a rather surprising way.
Several months ago Couture’s mother was encouraged by a co-worker to enter on CTV’s Save-on-Foods Amazing Kids feature. Every Thursday, CTV Vancouver Island airs a personal story of a featured kid on their newscast, with the winner also receiving $1,000.
Couture’s story will be aired tomorrow night (Dec. 17) on the 5 and 6 p.m. newscast.
“It was a lot fun (to be filmed),” she says, adding though that she’s more interested in the $1,000 being used to help trip with YAAKAAR.
“[YAAKAAR] is just a good opportunity to experience new things and help other people.”