Volunteers pressed hard to get the tennis courts re-opened.
Madeleine Robinson headed up the project of the Mount Elizabeth Secondary School PAC to get the tennis courts adjacent to the school field resurfaced and re-fenced.
To get the job done she corralled a number of sponsors and donors together, and on October 1 the ribbon was officially cut, bringing the courts back into service after a three year project.
Several dozen students joined the ribbon cutting event with Robinson, MEMSS principal Janet Meyer, Mayor Joanne Monaghan and councillor Rob Goffinet.
“We started in 2010,” said Robinson. “I saw the potential for students and the community to use the courts. It was condemned at the time and I envisioned it to be used by the community, and to bring life back to the courts.”
The District of Kitimat kicked in $36,500 to the project, and Monaghan was happy to see the project completed saying it is important in many ways.
“Especially for the kids, because they have other recreation facilities now they can utilize whenever they want, and it’s very important as you know for exercise,” she said, saying things like the Internet can lure children away from physical activity.
It’s also a healthy distraction from other common youth activities like constant texting and lack of one-on-one communication.
But volunteerism in the community is another amazing result that came out of the tennis court project.
“I think it’s really important that those types of people are in our community and we’re very, very fortunate to have them and the teachers who were along side,” she said. “We really appreciated it a lot.”
School principal Janet Meyer said having more exercise opportunities is great for student success.
“I share Mayor Monaghan’s thoughts on physical activity as it relates to kids,” she said, noting exercise impacts student achievement as well. “Research will tell you active kids do better in school, so that’s really important to us.”
The courts, until now, were unusable due to their condition.
“The surface was not appropriate for our students to use,” added Meyer, saying now that classes will begin to take advantage of the courts.
Robinson emphasizes the work it took from many different people to get the project to conclusion.
“The reason we had these courts is because everyone came together,” she said. “Otherwise I don’t think we’d have this court today.”
The total project cost $125,000, shared among all donors and sponsors.
“I have the utmost respect and appreciation for volunteers after heading up this project,” Robinson later added in an e-mail. “It’s a lot of hard work pounding the pavement for donations and support along with physical labour while making connections to get other people involved to help. However, its very rewarding to create positive change in our community and was worth the effort. With school districts and municipalities working together to pool their resources and funding, the sky is the limit.
She further encouraged the community to not be afraid to get their hands dirty pitching in for other community projects.
“If you’re up for a challenge, just do it!”