Sports groups bring fun back

Ottawa Sun - - NEWS - TOM SPEARS

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.

ASH­LEY FRASER

Spar­ta­cat at­tends the Re­build­ing Com­mu­ni­ties Through Sport event yes­ter­day at West Car­leton Se­condary.

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