Chil­dren swim, skate, give back

580 stu­dents will be swim­ming and skat­ing at the Royal LePage Chil­dren’s Fun Day

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Ab­bott

It’s time for the 20th an­nual Royal LePage Chil­dren’s Fun Day in Till­son­burg.

To­mor­row, Grade 4-6 stu­dents from Westfield, South Ridge and Annandale Pub­lic School, and Mon­signor JH O’Neil and St. Joseph’s Catholic Schools, will be bused to the Till­son­burg Com­mu­nity Cen­tre where they will have the option of swim­ming in the Kins­men Pool or skat­ing at the Kins­men Me­mo­rial Arena. In to­tal, 580 chil­dren will skate or swim for one hour (di­vided into two groups of schools) fol­lowed by re­fresh­ments in the Li­ons Au­di­to­rium.

“The kids love it be­cause it’s time off school,” laughed Rob Kop­pert, Owner and Bro­ker of Record at Royal LePage - R.E. Wood Re­alty.

“It’s a great event for us,” he added, “be­cause it’s just a good way to give to the com­mu­nity. We ar­range all the bus­ing - we fundraise for it - and we ar­range all the spon­sors to pay for the Com­mu­nity Cen­tre. And we get all the Tim­bits and drinks ready for them - our whole staff is in­volved. The plan­ning for it starts in Au­gust.”

The kids do their part, giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity by bring­ing food do­na­tions for The Sal­va­tion Army.

“Which is awe­some,” said Kop­pert. “It’s a way to show the kids that they’re giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity as well. There are other peo­ple in need and this is a way that we can show that we care for them too.”

Food is col­lected in plas­tic bags and dis­played in the Li­ons Au­di­to­rium in the shape of a Christ­mas tree, build­ing from the top up.

“Ev­ery sin­gle child gets a plas­tic bag - Metro donates all the bags and it goes home with per­mis­sion forms - and the rec­om­men­da­tion is to put some­thing in it and bring it back to us.”

The end re­sult is a mas­sive ‘Christ­mas tree’ of food on the stage.

“It’s thou­sands of pounds of food that goes to The Sal­va­tion Army,” said Kop­pert, un­sure of the ex­act weight. “It fills a pickup truck.

“So it’s a good event for ev­ery­body all around. Ev­ery­body loves it. You can see the kids are ex­tremely happy and cheer­ful when they come - they look for­ward to this event for months ahead of time. We hear it from the teach­ers and from the par­ents, some of them can’t wait un­til they get into that grade when they can go. So it’s a small event, but it car­ries a fair bit of weight.”

The divi­sion of chil­dren be­tween the arena and swim­ming pool al­ways seems to work out, said Kop­pert.

“It seems it’s al­ways a pretty equal split. The pool is quite full, but if you go over to the arena and take a look there’s al­ways a lot of kids over there skat­ing and lots of par­ents help­ing to put on skates and get­ting them ready to go. It’s good to have lots of hands on deck there be­cause we need them.”

Now in it’s 20th year, the event has been around long enough that one of the Royal LePage real es­tate agents (David Ben­nett) ac­tu­ally at­tended the Chil­dren’s Fun Day when he was in Grades 4-6.

“It think it’s re­mark­able that we’ve been able to main­tain it and keep it go­ing,” said Kop­pert, go­ing into his fourth year in­volved in it, “and have the in­ter­est of ev­ery­body here, all the staff. We even have a num­ber of re­tired agents that come to help, too - we have a num­ber with grand­kids in it.

“I know all the staff en­joys it im­mensely, see­ing all the smil­ing faces. The kids are ex­tremely happy and it’s a real nice feel­ing when you’re there. They get to see that giv­ing to other peo­ple is great... and I think that’s im­por­tant at this time of year.”

Chris Ab­bott/File PhoTo

The Royal LePage Chil­dren's Fun Day 'tree of food' grows taller as food do­na­tions ar­rive at the Till­son­burg Com­mu­nity Cen­tre. To­mor­row, 580 lo­cal Grade 4-6 stu­dents will be mak­ing another tree bring­ing in do­na­tions for The Sal­va­tion Army.

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