Sports groups bring fun back
Todd Nicholson and Emily Glossop lost their home in the Dunrobin tornado, but even as they grappled with insurance and temporary housing, their thoughts kept turning to sports.
“Sport and recreation were not top of anybody’s priority list,” Glossop said. “A roof, clothes and food were the priorities.”
No surprise there — but the couple felt sports could be another element in rebuilding shattered communities.
“I think it was pretty early on after the tornado that the conversation started about what can we do to engage families in all three (stormhit) areas — Dunrobin, Arlington Woods and Gatineau — and get them back into the things that they love to do,” she said.
On Saturday, a couple of hundred people gathered at West Carleton Secondary School to kick off a remarkable partnership, with roughly 30 sports and recreation groups offering places to children and families that otherwise couldn’t afford such luxuries.
The partnership is sponsored by three local sports organizations: Their Opportunity, Own the Podium and the Ottawa Senators Foundation.
“The idea of this initiative is rebuilding communities through sport,” said Randy Gill, president of Their Opportunity.
The campaign also intends to raise $30,000 through donations. Information on how to donate or volunteer is at theiropportunity.com/rcts.
Lucy Bridgstock attended the launch in a walking cast. She broke her ankle when she went back to a ruined Dunrobin house a week after the tornado and fell.
She hopes to get her children Aimee, 13, and Ollie, 11, into skiing, and perhaps touch football.
Insurance pays for rebuilding the new home, she said, but the tornado also blew away skis, baseball gloves and tennis rackets.
“It’s probably all somewhere on Sixth Line. … there are lots of extra additional costs that nobody is aware of and that you don’t think about until you’re in that situation,” Bridgstock said.
Bridgstock said these new sports opportunities helped her children reconnect with neighbours scattered by the storm. The Bridgstocks are about a 10-minute drive from their old home, but many families have moved much farther.
Spartacat attends the Rebuilding Communities Through Sport event yesterday at West Carleton Secondary.