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Anita’s ready to give back

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Anita Amaral found Sandys 360 the perfect place to intern as she pursued a master’s degree in sports management.

The 23-year-old learned about all facets of the sport, aquatic and enrichment centre a great study for her courses at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“It’s been a great experience, the facility itself has a lot to offer by way of opportunities in different departments and the staff has been very helpful by allowing me to get my teeth into it,” she said.

“It’s every aspect of sports management, from maintaining facilities to the aquatic side to athletics; even administration and the after-school programme. It’s not just sports but community development.”

Ms Amaral received her bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Eastern University. She worked as a personal trainer in Philadelphia for a year before embarking on the master’s programme. She plans to return to work in Bermuda once she’s completed her studies.

“I started out as a personal trainer and liked it but it was limited,” she said. “I wanted to do more than the health and fitness aspect of sport and have the opportunity to get involved in every aspect of the facility. I was on the floor training people and didn’t have to deal with the marketing side or promotions.”

Ms Amaral says she enjoys sports, though more as a spectator than a participant. Working at Sandys 360 has given her an indication of what to expect while working in sports management.

“I love what goes on up here, that’s why I chose to do part of my internship here as opposed to the States,” she explained.

“I [interned] in the marketing department of a top athletic club there [last semester] and I enjoyed it. I got great marketing experience but that is only one aspect of sports management.”

Sports tourism is another area that Ms Amaral is considering.

“That’s a great opportunity for the Island to promote itself,” she said.

“There’s a lot of sports on the Island; it’s narrow but there are still opportunities. There’s no reason why we can’t keep pushing ourselves and improving. I do have a backup plan as a personal trainer.”

Sandys 360 is the only facility of its kind on the Island. It offers a wide variety of programmes for residents of all ages and capabilities.

“The facility is amazing and it is nice to have this kind of quality facility on the Island,” Ms Amaral said.

“It’s very impressive. The biggest complaint you hear is that we are at the end of the Island, but I definitely think if you [also] put this [type of] facility in a central location and even St George’s it will be well used. It can be much more utilised. It is a challenge as well being a community centre and being a charity and trying to make ourselves sustainable.

“We use a lot of volunteers which is great and it helps support our mandate as a community centre. The children get involved and we have some seniors here with the children so it’s a healthy mentorship that is created as the children are developing. One of our other programmes is mentoring and we have chosen the M2 boys at Sandys and they are being mentored with the goal of getting to college. They are encouraged and supported by their coaches, their teachers and the people here.”

Some of the events include basketball, swimming and gymnastics. There are also martial arts and fitness workshops featuring group exercises in Pilates, kick boxing and cycling, strength training and yoga.

“The water aerobics classes are well attended by the seniors,” she said. “A facility like this really has the potential to make an impact on the community and we need it.

“I’ve had a blast up here. It’s been wonderful and I’ve been busy but involved in everything. I want to bring the education I have back to help my Island. I want to encourage my peers to get their education and then bring it back home and help our Island.”

Useful website: www.sandys360.bm.

Anita Amaral. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Anita Amaral. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 29, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 29, 2012 at 9:15 am)

Anita’s ready to give back

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