Kayla Grey: Former BGC Club Kid to On-Screen Sensation

By Aleah Balas

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Overnight success is a concept sorely misunderstood. In truth, what seems like overnight success often comes from years of behind-the-scenes work before stepping into the spotlight. This is no different for TSN anchor and host of The Shift, Kayla Grey. 


From a young age, Grey was enamoured with basketball, remembering her knack for taking every opportunity to engage with the sport. While she didn’t always thrive at school, it was when her mom enrolled her in camp one summer at BGC West Scarborough (formerly Boys & Girls Clubs) that she was able to flourish in every way. It was so different from what she had been used to – and she knew she’d found her place. 


This spring, Grey was recognized as an inaugural honouree of the first-ever BGC Canada Alumni Hall of Fame, created to celebrate alumni from all fields who have found success since their time spent at a BGC Club. This year’s alumni inductees come from all fields and include Grey herself alongside Taylor Hall, Dr. Jean Clinton and Art Eagleton. BGC Canada’s Alumni Hall of Fame exemplifies how a Club can change a life and set youth on a path to success, no matter their life circumstances. And Grey couldn’t be more proud. 


“I went to an all-white Elementary School. And then summer camp comes, and it’s diverse backgrounds and people from different economic standings and classes. But we all just had a passion for sport – for basketball.” 


It was from there that things really brightened for Grey, who was an only child on her mom’s side and continued to attend BGC camp summer after summer. She recalls her experience being pushed outside her comfort zone to socialize, navigate groups and find her personality, attributing much of her now on-screen confidence to her time at a BGC Club. And of course, all roads led to basketball. 


“I just loved being around basketball. And if I wasn’t playing it, I would be debating it. It was a safe space to do so.”

Kayla Grey in a creme yellow dress holding an award with a man beside her.
Photo courtesy of BGC Canada.

Between playing the sport she adored and talking about it off the court, she made some incredible friends in the process – friends she still has today. 


“I made friends at five years old that I still call my best friends to this day. It’s unheard of to have those kinds of lasting relationships, and to me, they’re just family. That’s the family that I was blessed with and given at such a young age.” 


At the award gala where she and her fellow honourees were celebrated, Grey reflected on the impact BGC had on her, specifically recounting how it broadened her horizons from a young age, ultimately leading her to a successful career at one of the nation’s top media brands. 


“These are the accolades and recognitions that I think, make me the most proud of what I’ve been able to do.”


“The places that BGC can take you open up your eyes to so many possibilities, especially when you consider your future and where you’re headed.”


It has been years since Grey has been a BGC “Club Kid” but she often finds herself back in the building that helped raise her. Although time has passed, the most important things have stayed the same. 


RELATED: The Impact of Recognition with Owen Charters, President and CEO Oof BGC Canada.


“I really love the BGC building. I’ve visited a few times recently, and it’s still the same – it still looks the same, and it’s still the same feel. The same open door policy; when you come in, you’re welcome. When you are through the doors, it’s family-like, and the young adults and kids are like the exact same bright, smart, hilarious, funny, energetic, like, that type of magic that you just can’t duplicate anywhere else.” 


Now as a television host, Grey gets to be on the sidelines and engage with basketball for a career – a dream come true. But she recalls her introduction to the sport being foundational to her life today. 


“It was such a beautiful introduction to a game that was authentic – and fun – and taught me so much about team building, what it means to be a leader, what it means to collaborate, what it means to cheer each other on, and also empower yourself. Sports give people so many tools for the real world. And it really prepared me for the job that I have now.” 


Grey has been dedicated to supporting BGC Canada and her West Scarborough Club, recognizing the impact that mentorship and opportunities can have, similar to the effect they had on her at a young age.


“Impact is everything. I wasn’t the best going through the traditional school system. But I thrived going through the camp system and I think it has to do with the adults who are in the room that were very intentional about accepting you as who you are, figuring out who you are, but then also amplifying who you are. For giving you activities that speak to your strengths, and ask you questions that challenge you.” 


Grey has consistently been a support for the Club, taking the kids to Raptors games and big events to expose them to the world outside the Club, too. 


“I want them to be in rooms that they might not necessarily get the invite to, but rooms that they deserve to be in. So if there’s any way that I can be that door opener for these young adults to just be fully themselves in different spaces and learn, I want to be that for them.”


Looking back, though there have been many supporters of her success, Grey couldn’t be more thankful for the decision her mom made years ago.


“I don’t know why it was the choice of my mom to put me there, but I think she made the best decision of her life to put me in a space that I hold still to this day so near and dear.”