30 Under 30: Shayla Kaplen
High school: Steveston-London
Shayla Kaplen is seldom bored. She simply doesn’t have the time for it.
“I look forward to catching up on my sleep (however),” she said.
Besides hanging out with friends and shopping, when she’s not attending classes or studying to maintain her place on the principal’s honour roll, Kaplen is also a multi-sport athlete who excels in many of them.
A member, and sure-handed first baseman for the Richmond Islanders 95A girls’ fastball team (which in 2010 was recognized as the team of the year at the annual Richmond Sports Awards, presented by The Richmond Review along with Richmond Sports Council and the City of Richmond), she was selected to play for B.C. at the 2012 Under-18 Women’s National Softball Tournament in Montreal last year. She plans to continue to play softball next year at the University of B.C. where she plans to study health sciences.
Kaplen is also a talented soccer player, who helped her Richmond team win the provincial championship at the under-16 Gold Division girls’ soccer in 2010, and competes in both basketball and tennis for her high school and has earned MVP awards in both.
Away from the field and classroom, Kaplen also demonstrates a keen sense for community. She played an active role in a school philanthropy project, with the end result being a presentation of community-raised funds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Inspiration? “I have been privileged to work with several wonderful coaches who have helped to inspire me to reach my full potential. Each has taught me what it means to be dedicated to a team, how to set and reach goals for myself, and how especially important it is to be coachable and a good team player. I have also been inspired by some great teammates who play hard for each other, not one ever wanting to let each other down. I am also extremely lucky to have a close family that support me in all that I do. Both of my parents and two older brothers are excellent role models, who take an active role in my life and are always there to support me. I know they are my biggest fans.”
Most proud of? “I have discovered a way to balance a very busy life filled with all sort of activities that I enjoy. I have a love for many different sports, and had been lucky to have had success playing several of them at a high level. I am also proud of the high academic standing I have been able to maintain.”
Advice? “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. There have been times when I doubted my capabilities, but am learning to have the confidence to believe in myself and my ability to work hard to get where I want to be.”
If stranded on a desert island, what book would you want by your side? “My all-time favourite book is Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Believe it or not, this book has a lot of great insights into the ups and downs that we will all face in our lifelong journey. The main message is not just to wait for things to come your way, but to make opportunities happen for yourself and then take advantage of them. I am also intrigued by the idea of serendipity—a pleasant surprise. When you are fortunate to meet many people as a result of a busy life, something good can easily happen even though you weren’t specifically expecting it. My favourite line the book is, ‘Step with care and great tact and remember that life’s a great balancing act.’”