Rugby camps for kids are coming to Port Alberni this summer.
The camps are hosted by the BC Grassroots Rugby Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to build community through rugby and help build resilience in youth. It ensures that youth have opportunities to participate in safe touch rugby over the spring and summer months.
This is the second year that the BC Grassroots Rugby Foundation has held camps on Vancouver Island, but it’s the first time the camps have been held in Port Alberni.
The goal, says coach Gavin Purewal, is to get kids playing rugby.
Purewal, a member of the Port Alberni Black Sheep Rugby Club, says the Black Sheep used to run a week-long rugby camp for kids in the community, and that’s what this camp is modelled after.
“It’s a lot of fun mini-games,” said Purewal. “Kids can have a lot of fun and learn some skills. We want to make sure kids have a good experience.”
Purewal and his fellow Black Sheep teammate David Symington will be running the Port Alberni faction. The camps are open to kids aged six to 18, with players separated into four different age brackets.
“Once they’re registered, they’re good for the whole summer,” said Purewal. “If they just want to come once a week, they can do that. If they want to try it for a day but don’t want to commit, that’s fine too.”
There is no additional cost to players except for a $32 insurance fee, but Purewal says there are options for kids who might need financial assistance to cover the insurance.
“Finances won’t be a barrier,” he said.
All equipment is provided, but Purewal does recommend that kids bring sunscreen, a hat, water and a snack. Cleats are preferred, but regular runners will work as well.
BC Grassroots Rugby will be working closely with the Black Sheep rugby club and with the City of Port Alberni for the camps. Purewal says he has also been in conversation with Haahuupayak School on the Tseshaht First Nation reserve about bringing the camps to them this summer.
A schedule has been set for the first two weeks of the season, starting on July 12, but there are more dates to come. For more information and for registration, you can visit the BC Grassroots Rugby-Port Alberni Facebook page or www.grassrootsrugby.ca.
“It’s a great game,” said Purewal. “And there’s a spot for everyone. There are life lessons you can learn beyond rugby that you can take with you anywhere.”