Bringing People Together Through Activity: Meet Noah MacLean

Growing up in Coxheath, Noah MacLean spent a lot of time outdoors as a child, playing sports and using his imagination to keep himself busy. He quickly developed a love for hockey, basketball and art, and began forming lifelong friendships grounded in each. It was through this journey that Noah, a 2019-20 U Sports Academic All-Canadian Athlete, discovered his passion – bringing people together through activity. 

Now a student in the Bachelor of Arts, Community Studies (BACS) program at CBU with a major in Sports and Physical Activity Leadership, Noah works as the Senior Student Active Living Coordinator with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), a role that involves planning and executing fun, inclusive and accessible programs. 

“Despite all of the uncertainty that 2020 brought, it also brought me my co-op placement with the CBRM Recreation Department,” Noah explains. “Now I get to aid in creating and facilitating programs which allow me to put my passion to work for the betterment of the community.” 

As part of the BACS program, students are required to complete a Community Action Project. When Noah began thinking about his project, his mind went to his late grandfather. “Due to the pandemic, he spent far too many months of his final year cooped up inside a nursing home with minimal social interaction,” says Noah. “The circumstances prevented me from visiting him in the months before he passed. I know many families faced similar struggles which is why I wanted to make the CBRM Engage program a reality.” 

CBRM Engage is a program designed to help those living in nursing homes and other long term care facilities to stay active both mentally and physically. Noah worked with Chelsea Currie, CBRM Active Living Coordinator and CBU Alumna; and Sam McDow, fellow CBU Co-op Student,  to host eight sessions with four different facilities, meeting hundreds of seniors in the CBRM. “Our sessions were jam packed with activities and resulted in lots of smiles from the residents,” Noah says. “Although this program stemmed as a class requirement, it meant a lot to me to make a real impact in our community and help so many great people.” 

Noah says what he likes most about the BACS program is that it allows him to harness his various passions and use the resulting energy to grow and develop as a person in real-world scenarios. “To me, experiential learning is the single most important thing I’m taking away from my time at CBU,” he says. “Throughout my co-op placements I have honed my strengths, strived toward improving my weaknesses and gained experience while growing my network and working toward my degree.” 

Noah says hands-on learning has helped him narrow in on what he might like to do in the future. “I truly believe I am leaving CBU as an improved version of the 18-year-old kid who entered this program unsure of what direction he was going in,” says Noah. “Today I can confidently say I have aspirations to become a manager in Public Relations and help set others up for success. My time at CBU has helped shape me into who I am today.” 

Noah is set to graduate this spring and says all of the nights he told his mom he was going to bed, only to stick a towel under his door to block the light and stay up late studying, will be worth it when he crosses that stage.

To learn more about CBU’s Bachelor of Arts Community Studies program, click here.