A couple of us from Timber were fortunate yesterday to go visit the group of people who run the Britannia After School Hockey Program just off Commercial Drive. The program, affectionately called B.A.S.H, is a community program run out of Britannia Community Service Centre’s ice rink. The kids go weekly, as one would imagine – after school, and they’ve started to run a summer week-long camp program too. The program has been operating since 2011, and the kids I spoke to were all serious about playing hockey. The summer camp had about 20 kids participating, and I could see quite a few girls had signed up.
Although the program is open to kids from everywhere, it’s mostly populated with kids from the Commercial Drive/ Strathcona area, and from Britannia Secondary School. The kids show up, commit to attending, and taking care of their equipment, and they’re given all the things they need to live their hockey dreams.
I spoke to one kid’s mom, a single mom no less, who told me “I don’t have any way of helping my daughter with buying, maintaining and choosing the equipment she would need to play hockey, so when we found out about this program we were very happy. It allowed me to give her a way to reach her goals.” Her daughter has dreams of playing hockey for Team Canada.
B.A.S.H relies on donations, and fundraising to run the program. With help from sponsors like Timber and Bomber Brewing, they are able to keep funding the program for these kids. Bomber Brewing throws a BASH Tournament for local breweries to get together, play hockey, and raise money for the kids. It grows every year, and the rink is jam-packed with people out to watch. Timber raised $500.00 over the course of the past year through our water donation program. We gave B.A.S.H the money on Canada Day at our Annual Ball Hockey Tournament and it’s already been put to use buying stick/sock tape, jock supports and equipment sanitizer. All necessities that constantly come up for these guys.
Susy Bando, Program Coordinator for Britannia Community Services Centre makes sure the ice time is available, the coaches are on their game, and that the program continues to run. The admiration I have for this pure form of community spirit welled up inside me while I was watching the kids play. Also, having two kids of my own, I can tell you that watching kids get a chance to do what they love is the best feeling in the world.
The whole experience was amazing and I left there wanting to come up with new ways to support them.
Margot Baloro on behalf of Timber