2022 RIC Award Winner: Maji Shaikh

Maji Shaikh was awarded the 2022 RIC award for his project, Development and Evaluation of a Sport-based Trauma-sensitive Program for Underserved Youth: The Bounce Back League.

About project

In 2016, BGC Canada began the process to develop a sport program underpinned by trauma-sensitive youth development principles, known as Bounce Back League (BBL), to address the needs of underserved youth in their communities.

A trauma-sensitive approach involves recognizing trauma’s impact on youth (e.g., psychosomatic disruptions, impaired social relatedness), and leveraging sport to meet youth’s needs for safety, supportive relationships, control, and skill-building opportunities – to help youth heal from trauma and build resilience (Bergholz et al., 2016).

Given the ubiquitous nature of trauma and its long-term negative effects on youth development (Kilpatrick et al., 2013), this programming can make the difference between dark and bright futures for underserved youth.

Our Partnership and Project Activities

Our interdisciplinary partnership was comprised of evaluators, design and training experts, and BGC Canada administrators. Our team worked together to:

  1. develop training workshops for leaders and mentor them as they implemented BBL at their clubs
  2. develop evaluation activities for assessing BBL delivery and outcomes (i.e., surveys, observations, interviews, logbooks, participatory activities)
  3. develop program materials to help guide leaders in BBL delivery
  4. develop a community of practice for leaders to share their experiences and continue co-learning

Project Outcomes

BBL ran in 18 clubs across Canada, training 40+ leaders and reaching 700+ youth (ages 9-12). Our project promoted improvements in leaders’ practices to meet the needs of underserved youth. Leaders shared stories of youth’s progression in handling frustrations, taking breaks, and recovering and returning to play – skills that youth can apply to manage stress in life.

This work was pioneering research of trauma-sensitive sport in Canada and addressed calls for greater engaged scholarship in youth sport to address science-to-practice gaps (Holt et al., 2018). Our team co-developed peer-reviewed works (e.g., Shaikh et al., 2021), and several knowledge products (e.g., infographics, videos, blogs) to share program insights across BGC Canada and encourage program improvement.

Overall, the project resulted in increased awareness of and desire for trauma-sensitive practices within the organization nationally. As such, our team developed trauma-sensitive e-learning modules to scale out to 700+ BGC clubs nationally, to further enhance the organization’s trauma-sensitive capacity.

Using an engaged scholarship approach was valuable in reducing inequities in access, generation, and use of knowledge for and by our partners. Together, we developed shared priorities, built strong relationships, valued each others’ strengths, learnt across disciplines and boundaries, and built investment for the project and its future. Personally, I learned several strategies and challenges of engaging in effective partnership, but also recognized that our field currently lacks education on principles of engaging in effective youth sport partnerships. As such, for my post-doctoral work, I am co-developing guiding principles and strategies for conducting youth sport partnerships, again using engaged scholarship approaches to collaborate with researchers and research users (e.g., youth sport administrators) in guiding the research process.

About award recipient

Maji Shaikh is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan. His body of work has primarily been on positive youth development through sport and recreation. Maji has been involved with the development, implementation, and evaluation of trauma-sensitive, sport-based, youth development programming at BGC Canada since 2016. He carries multiple partnerships and consultations with youth sport Clubs to help build their capacity in training on youth development and trauma-informed practices, monitoring and evaluation of their program quality and outcomes, and conducting knowledge mobilization activities to action research findings into practice.