Parental support needed for valley sports

On December 6, 2010 the Similkameen Minor Sports Association held its’ annual general meeting at the Cawston Hall. The meeting was advertised in the community paper and was in the school newsletter. In attendance for the meeting was the committee, which consists of volunteer parents, and four parents. With the amount of youth currently involved in sports in the Similkameen Valley and the potential to have more, this was a disappointing turn out.

On December 6, 2010 the Similkameen Minor Sports Association held its’ annual general meeting at the Cawston Hall. The meeting was advertised in the community paper and was in the school newsletter. In attendance for the meeting was the committee, which consists of volunteer parents, and four parents. With the amount of youth currently involved in sports in the Similkameen Valley and the potential to have more, this was a disappointing turn out.

At the meeting we reviewed the results of a recent survey SMSA had given to children in grades five to seven through the school. The children were asked what their favourite sports were and whether or not they were on a team, out of town or locally. Their responses were:

FAVOURITE SPORTS :

1. Soccer

2. Baseball

3. Basketball.

– 57 per cent of the kids are playing sports (15 per cent of those are playing on an out of town team).

– 43 per cent of our children are not playing sports, in this age group.

We felt that having 43per cent of kids not involved in team sports was high.

At the meeting we were hoping to get some input/feedback from parents about their thoughts as to why kids may not be in sports. We also wanted to discuss how we could build sporting programs for this age group. We currently offer soccer through SOYSA (if we can find coaches) and there is a girl’s fastball team but nothing in boy’s baseball because we can’t find parents / coaches.

Finances were another topic we discussed. We understand from 3rd party feedback that the fees were an issue. SMSA showed how the fees were being spent and talked about ways to either lower or freeze the fees. Some parents aren’t able to put their children into organized sports because they can’t afford to. We discussed ways to have the fees paid for. All this information has been kept and gathered to share with everyone involved, which are the parents/family of our youth in our community, at these meetings.

SMSA has been created by volunteer parents to establish a “base” for athletic programs in our community. Currently, SMSA offers our youth soccer and softball programs with the intention to offer more athletic programs in the future. As with any volunteer program without continual support from the community SMSA may not be able to offer future programs. In reference to “support from the community” we do not mean monetary, as the community has always been generous and encouraged the development of our programs for the youth in our community. We are referring to parents. Parents have ideas, concerns, opinions. Parents have a voice. Meetings provide an opportunity for all of us parents to get together and bounce ideas around. We never know where the next great idea may come from!

Our committee and programs are built on and rely on parental support. The current SMSA board have children that are nearing the age that limits their participation in the sports that we currently offer. Once their children are out of these programs these parents will “outgrow” SMSA and continue to support their children at a higher level. The Similkameen Valley is full of parents/family that have a positive input into the athletic growth of our youth. We can attest to that by the copious amounts of children that are out on the soccer and baseball fields and the parents/family that are getting them there, coaching them or cheering them on. Do we want to see that disappear? Do we want to be chatting with our neighbour in five years and saying how sad it is that “this community just doesn’t have anything for the young kids like they used to. The Similkameen Valley is a beautiful place to raise a family. The opportunities are there, please let’s not let them go. Let’s continue to provide the most opportunities we can for our youth and provide the world with some of the most grounded, talented players!

The SMSA is going to be holding registrations on Saturday Jan. 29 at 11 a.m. at the Rec Centre. We have rented the rink from 11a.m.-12 p.m. for a free skate for all children and parents. Registrations will be for the Keremeos Youth Soccer League and Similkameen Minor Baseball, ages U5-U10 (kids born in 2001-2006). The Kobau Coyotes girls fastball team ages U12. We are also hoping to have teams ages U11-14 from Keremeos play in the South Okanagan Youth Soccer Association and we will be holding registration for this as well. These SOYSA teams are subject to finding coaches and enough players but SOYSA will put groups of Keremeos players on Penticton teams if we are unable to find coaches or enough players. Parents are welcome to come by and talk to the SMSA board members about minor sports and are encouraged to volunteer as a coach or board member. Visit the SMSA website at www.similkameensports.com for registration forms, info about financial assistance and much more.

* School will NOT collect the registration forms this year.

– Marija Lerga, Keremeos