Soccer is a popular sport at Webster Elementary.
After watching students use coats, shoes and hats to mark out goal posts before kicking around a ball at recess and lunch, parents on the school’s advisory council (PAC) jumped into action.
The Webster PAC recently received almost $22,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s (CBT) Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program and $2,000 of the grant bought the youngsters some new soccer nets.
By next year, the students could see even more soccer goals when the majority of the money, $18,300 is sunk into modern playground re-design slated for completion by the fall.
“We are just in the beginning stage of fundraising for the new intermediate playground structure,” explained Rachel Jansen, Webster PAC chair. “Without funding from CBT, we would be stretching our fundraising dollars thin to make these opportunities available to the students and families at Webster.”
The new play area is an ambitious and expensive project that includes removing the school’s current worse-for-wear play structure, relocating the new playhouse, installing more soccer nets, and replacing the pea gravel surface with a recycled rubber tile system.
Webster PAC is actively working towards its $100,000 fundraising goal, to complete all the work and purchase the new new playground set up for ages 5-12 called a Fusion. The play system has a unique look and accommodates a large number of activities in a smaller space.
Webster’s current play structure is in a state of disrepair so the project was given priority, Jansen noted, adding that it is too small to accommodate the number of intermediate students enrolled at the school.
Another new gym activity introduces an old Canadian sport to students of all ages.
Webster PAC allotted $1,200 from the CBT money to purchase indoor curling sets after students and parents were presented with a “Rocks to Rings” program that supports curling as a national sport.
“PAC and the kids thought it would be a great addition to the school during PE classes or to set up in the gym during recess when it is too cold to be outside,” said Jansen.
“The curling sets are easy enough to set up and all grades are able to use. We also thought it might be a good introduction to a sport that kids may not have experience with otherwise.”
An additional $1,000 from the CBT grant was earmarked for the school’s annual ski program for students in grades 4-7.
“Some of our students are unable to afford this experience without financial support,” Jansen explained.
“Last year it was 13, so the CBT funding will help PAC support these students take part in the experience and help cover the bussing expenses.”