Recreation in Langford might be in full swing, but financial reasons still keep some kids from stepping up to bat.
“We have affordable housing and we need to make recreation affordable too,” said Mayor Stew Young, helping spread the word about a fundraiser that aims to make sports accessible to all children.
Young will be golfing in the fourth annual charity golf tournament raising funds for Sport Assist, a non-profit organization helping Langford youth participate in sports.
Sport Assist helps dozens of children by covering registration fees for sports and athletic activities in the municipality.
The golf tournament – the major fundraiser for Sport Assist – raised more than $40,000 last year.
The importance of getting kids involved in sport hits close to home for Young, who played both soccer and rugby as a kid.
While he has fond memories of playing as a child, Young said the lessons he learned from team sports are still valuable in his daily life as an adult.
“When you are on a team you learn how to work with people, you learn adversity and how to overcome it. You think on your feet and learn on the fly,” Young said. “These things will help you for the rest of your life.”
As a mayor, Young said the more children are involved in recreation the less crime and graffiti the city has to deal with.
“If you have one bad apple in a group of 20 kids, those kids can change that bad apple,” Young said.
Langford council has been working to create recreation amenities and paths and trails throughout the city.
“We don’t just want people going to work and then going home. We want people out in the community,” Young said. “We are a small town and we believe in recreation for the whole community.”
While Langford has been steadily building facilities for all residents to enjoy, Young acknowledges that not all families can afford to put their children in organized sports. That is where Sport Assist comes in.
“We want everyone to have a chance to enjoy it and be involved,” Young said.
Over the years, the golf tournament has raised more than $100,000 for Sport Assist. Every year, more and more applications for assistance are submitted.
“We try to give everyone a chance to play a sport, if a sport is $150 or $300, we’ll take care of that,” said Gerry St. Cyr, sport assist president.
Parents are encouraged to offer to pay as much as they can towards registration and ask Sport Assist for the difference.
“Some people may have gone through hard times and they need money for just one season and others may need help for five seasons,” St. Cyr said.