Local organizations benefit community as well as kids

It’s nice that Jumpstart and Kidsport are gaining traction in this area.

It’s nice that Jumpstart and Kidsport are gaining traction in this area. They are a response to a definite need here – one that, by the way, the Trail Athletic Association tried to address over many years.

The idea behind the movement(s) is that, like formal education, positive recreation experiences are crucial to the development of children into socially aware and accepted adult citizens.

One only needs to look at the steep drop in the numbers of minor sports participants – at all levels and in all sports – that exceeds the drop in school enrolment, to know the good that youth recreation programs promote isn’t reaching all of our youth.

Surely, if every community in the Kootenays is run by groups who feel they MUST find a way to build a skate park, people in those communities should also feel some responsibility to allow any child that wants to access programs in the under-utilized facilities they already provide.

The relatively small amounts of money needed to open up that possibility is insignificant compared to the amounts under discussion for the provision of concrete wheeling areas that will be used by relatively few in the long term.

The benefits of sports and other organized recreational activities for children are many, not least of them the simple fact of inclusion for kids whose economic circumstances would otherwise exclude from interacting with the active.

Activity, itself, provides physical and mental benefits for participants. Other positives, like co-operation, the development of leadership (and intelligent follower) skills, etc., are cliched realities for most of us.

All of the above contributes to improved educational outcomes for students, student bodies and schools in general.

It’s all good, in other words.

Support them if you can, in any way feasible.

The two funding groups are following the lead of Right to Play, which is led by former and current Olympians, outstandingly Johann Olaf Koss of Norway, who blitzed all three of his skating events at the 1994 games in his home country, then moved directly into supporting the worldwide sports/etc. organization.

When Koss started, the group was called Olympic Aid, but the IOC, not receiving any of the proceeds, was negative to that title. So, it became Right To Play and currently supports almost a million poor kids around the world in their efforts to participate in many sports.

The IOC, famously, kicked Right to Play out of the VanWhistler Olympic Village last year because it wasn’t an official IOC group and games organizers apparently were afraid their brand would be, “tainted,” if the altruistic organization was allowed to promote itself on Games’ grounds.

Still wonder why I wish the Olympics would just go away? Or why I wish Special Olympics could come up with a more positive name to go with its very positive mission?

Smokies play tonight, against a Vernon team they held pretty close in their last home game. It’s snowing at our house, so it must be hockey season.

There are also two Kootenay Ice Major Midget games on tap at Cominco Arena this weekend, at 4 p.m Saturday and 9:45 a.m. Sunday, so that local hockey fans can while away several hours supporting local teams.