Children swim, skate, give back
580 students will be swimming and skating at the Royal LePage Children’s Fun Day
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.”
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.