Whether it involves a new playground to swing in, a better bike track to do loops on, or updated gymnastics equipment to flip on, children and youth throughout the Columbia Basin will have access to new and improved sports equipment and spaces. The 24 projects are being supported by over $377,000 in Basin PLAYS Capital Improvement Grants from Columbia Basin Trust.
“Basin residents told us that investing in projects that encourage children and youth to get involved in sports and physical activity was a priority,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Columbia Basin Trust Executive Director, Delivery of Benefits. “These projects improve accessibility and expand the quality and diversity of relevant infrastructure and equipment to get kids moving.”
Children visiting or staying at Blue Lake Camp near Canal Flats, run by Columbia Outdoor School, will be getting a new challenge: a high-ropes course. This will help users practise their skills in areas like balance, climbing, teamwork and problem solving.
“The course will expose young people to positive recreation experiences,” said Shonna Murphy, Director of Programs. “As well as giving them the opportunity to grow and learn, it will ignite or reignite a passion for participating in outdoor recreation. Many will learn they are capable of things they never thought they could do.”
In Cranbrook, the East Kootenay Disc Golf Club will make the city’s three disc golf courses more appealing for youth. It will add nine holes to one course to make it big enough for school groups, add a washroom to another, and make a difficult course more youth-friendly by adding short-distance tee pads.
“We’ve already been successfully providing school workshops to increase youth skills and awareness of the sport,” said Steve Reedyk, Vice-president. “Now, with these projects, these courses will be more suited to all youth and the requirements of successful class trips. They’ll also attract more families.”
The Nelson Rowing Club will upgrade its old, sinking dock with new floatation units, decking and more, making it better able to withstand time and resist chewing muskrats, beavers and otters. This work will directly benefit people of all ages—including hundreds of children and youth each year—as they row, paddle and sail.
“We offer programs for all ages and abilities, including a junior rowing program, and are currently scheduling programs for about 70 middle school students. In addition, Rowing BC will be offering a coaching workshop this spring,” said Kimberley Shea, Nelson Rowing Club Director. “Without an improved dock, none of these programs could take place and youth would not be able to participate in these healthy physical activities.”
The Taghum Community Society will convert a currently unused space outside Taghum Hall into a playground for ages five to 12, along with a landscaped area for running and games.
“A variety of play structures will promote physical activity and the development of physical skills and strength,” said Heather Haake, Chairperson. “It will provide the opportunity for healthy outdoor exercise whenever children drop by the hall, whether just for fun or for events like markets and festivals, the summer day camp and family celebrations.”
The Village of Fruitvale will collaborate with Beaver Valley Little League and Beaver Valley Girls Softball to improve the baseball and softball facilities in Haines Park. This will include upgrading the batting cage surface and installing safety netting.
“This project will increase safety for over 200 local athletes, as young as five, inspiring confidence in them and attracting new users,” said Kelli Tuttle, the Village’s Chief Administrative Officer. “It will help new players develop their skill levels at their own pace in a safe, secure and appropriate facility. Developing players at a younger age will encourage continued participation in the sport.”
In addition to capital improvement grants, Basin PLAYS offers grants that help coaches and officials get accredited training. Learn about everything Basin PLAYS supports at ourtrust.org/basinplays.
This initiative is just one of the ways the Trust supports recreation and physical activity for people of all ages in the region. For example, it also offers grants to help groups improve and build trails. Learn more at ourtrust.org/recreation.
Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.