Greater Trail is jumping on a province-wide bandwagon that enables more kids to play sports in B.C.
Wednesday afternoon at the Trail Aquatic Centre, local organizers, civic leaders, politicians and the provincial director of KidSport BC were on hand to officially launch the KidSport Greater Trail community chapter.
“The tremendous history or sport involvement in Trail made it a natural to join the KidSport family and we are very pleased to welcome our newest family member,” said Pete Quevillon, the director of KidSport BC.
The program, for six to 18-year-olds, is designed to help children that economically are unable to participate in sport. KidSport was able to provide financial assistant to over 5,000 youths last year.
Quevillon told the audience on Wednesday that the program, which began in 2000, handed out almost $800,000 last year and expects to approach the $1 million-mark this year.
“It has been a long journey in getting KidSport Greater Trail established and the key has been finding the right ‘champion’ to drive the program, to gather together a dedicated group of volunteers to make the program go,” he explained.
“KidSport has been very fortunate to have Betty Anne Marino take the reins, if you will, of the local chapter and get a diverse group of people involved.”
Marino made a brief presentation to the group outlining the goals and introducing the volunteers who will head up the local program. Greater Trail becomes the 39th chapter in B.C.
“We’re on the cusp of having our system in place,” she said. “We’ll be taking applications for the fall sports season, which means we have to be ready in July.”
She explained that anyone interested in accessing the program can contact one of the local directors or visit the program’s website at kidsport.ca
Two of Trail’s most recognizable athletes, Jason and Lauren Bay, have accepted the role of honorary co-chairs to the program.
“Having Jason and Lauren Bay as honorary co-chairs lends a tremendous level of awareness to the local chapter,” said Quevillon.
“Both Jason and Lauren are extremely talented and accomplished athletes but more importantly, there are tremendous human beings, who realize that what you do off the field of play is more important than your accomplishments off it! Jason and Lauren recognize the value of sport participation, what that opportunity meant to their lives, and I’m sure that they would want to do everything in their power to ensure that every child has those same opportunities.”
Also on hand was Katrine Conroy, MLA for West Kootenay-Boundary, who presented a cheque for $3,000 on behalf of the Olympics Legacy Fund. City of Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs also presented a cheque for $3,000 and Gord Aiken and Dallas Stanton, representing the Boxing Day Classic hockey tournament in Rossland, donated $4,000 to the fund.
Marino explained the donations on Wednesday were are great start for the program.
“We’re not looking for a big chunk of change,” she told the audience.
“We’re looking for cornerstone partners. I would rather be focusing on getting money into the kids and their families’ hands rather than knocking on people’s doors for money.”
Marino said the early response to the program, even before it officially launched, has been fantastic.
“People have heard about it and jumped on board. We’ve had other inquiries just by word-of-mouth who said, ‘KidSport? That sounds fabulous. How do I help?’”