Photo by Don Fennell
August may be the last of the lazy days of summer for many, but not for Richmond FC.
In the midst of perhaps its busiest month, one focused on every last detail in preparing for the upcoming 2017/18 season, the local youth soccer association took time to recognize another priority—giving back.
Richmond FC donated $5,171 to the Richmond chapter of KidSport. The money will be used to assist local youth challenged financially to play a season of sport.
The funds, in lieu of a registration fee, represent the generous donations by participants in a camp this week featuring coaches from the Stoke City Premier Division team in England.
Our winter season was challenging with a lot of the snow and the field closures, explains Richmond FC chair Rein Weber, a challenge that ultimately brought opportunity.
When asked what to do with the money theyd already paid for unused fields, parents were adamant it be used on the kids. And with the British coaches already in Canada for a summer soccer camp in Kamloops, Richmond FC extended their trip to include a week of sessions here for its players to learn from some of the best.
It's a great opportunity for everybody to get a great camp, and KidSport to get almost $5,200. It was just a way to give back, Weber says.
Delighted to see the smiles on the faces of the 120 players who participated in the morning and afternoon sessions, Weber says he hopes Richmond FC can host a camp next year as well, perhaps even a return engagement with the Stoke City coaches.
In terms of development these things are fantastic, Weber says.
"It expands part of what we are trying to accomplish. Getting a club like Stokes out here, with their coaches who have 30 to 40 years of experience at the English premier level to try and teach our kids what's important. All those things become part of how do we become better?"
This week Richmond FC is also doing a lot of coaching training (with Stokes City included in some clinics) and trying to get all its coaches certified. In conjunction with BC Soccer, it was also planning a grassroots officiating camp.
Recognizing that Richmond FC is part of a greater community, last June the association kicked off a program where its coaches oversaw the physical education programs in two local elementary schools for a week.
Says Weber: "We hope to continue that in September. The kids absolutely love it; the teachers tremendous support. We're actually thinking about doing coaching clinics for the teachers at the same time so they can learn how to run an effective soccer program. It's not necessarily soccer-based, it's just fun-based."