Let the games begin!

Partners in the project gather by the sports equipment. In the front row, left-right, are ATB Financial High Prairie branch manager Melissa O’Neill, accounts officer Noelle Scheck, East Prairie Metis Settlement community development officer Quentin L’Hirondelle, East Prairie Metis Settlement administrator Gerald Cunningham and ATB relationship manager Tim Gordey. Standing in the back row, left-right, are East Prairie Metis Settlement council vice-chair Raymond Supernault, High Prairie RCMP Const. Sam Tremblay and S/Sgt. Warren Wright.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Children and youth in East Prairie Metis Settlement can now enjoy more sports activities after a variety of equipment arrived Oct. 29.

Volunteers and children unloaded the bags and boxes of equipment from Sport Central through High Prairie RCMP.

“It feels like Christmas; this was a shock,” East Prairie council vice-chair Raymond Supernault says.

“It will enhance activities for our children and youth and they will be able to play more sports.

“Most families can’t afford to buy new sports equipment.”

Settlement administrator Gerald Cunning- ham says the equipment is valuable for the community.

“Hopefully, it will encourage more children to get active in sports,” Cunningham says.

The community appreciates the support from Sport Central, High Prairie RCMP and ATB Financial.

“We thank everyone involved,” Cunningham says.

“You help us out a lot.”

The equipment is not fully donated to receiving groups such as East Prairie.

“We are required to donate $2,500 to Sport Central,” East Prairie community development co-ordinator Quentin L’Hirondelle says.

The project was initiated by RCMP Const. Sam Tremblay, an enhanced officer for East Prairie.

“There’s enough equipment for 100 children and youth,” Tremblay says.

East Prairie received equipment for hockey, basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer and football.

Tremblay discovered the need for equipment as he regularly plays hockey and other sports with local children and youth.

“I saw that sports equipment was lacking for children,” Tremblay says.

“I want them to have better equipment so they can play.”

He was also aware of Sport Central.

“I knew they provide equipment to rural and remote communities so children can have access to play in sports,” Tremblay says.

Sport Central is dedicated to making resources available to assist needy children in sport across Edmonton, central and northern Alberta.

The primary goal is to retrieve, repair, recycle and redistribute sports equipment to children who cannot afford the opportunity to play.

Staff of ATB Financial branch in High Prairie volunteered to help unload the equipment.

ATB head office made a corporate donation in 2019 towards Sport Central’s northern outreach program, which allowed them to give hockey equipment “starter kits” to children in rural communities, including East Prairie Métis Settle- ment.

“ATB is thrilled to support Sport Central which makes it possible for kids to participate in physical activity,” ATB Financial CEO and president Curtis Stange says.

“Sports can improve the physical, mental and social well-being of kids but we also know that taking part can be a financial burden for many families.

“We want to remove that barrier so more children can reap the lifelong benefits of being involved in sports.”

Children and youth gather around the sports equipment from Sports Central.

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