The Ballenas Secondary playing field may look rough and need a significant upgrade but it’s still home to the Whalers.
The field is well-used by the school’s athletic teams and has been the venue of countless league games. For spectators, the pleasure of watching the students in action can be tempered by the need to stand throughout the duration of a match. Some sit on the grass and are able to bear damp trousers after. There’s no seating to sit and enjoy the games, unless fans bring their own foldable bench or even blankets.
The Ballenas Interact Club is doing something about it. Led by president Amanda Greenshields, who is in her last year in high school, the club is trying to raise funds to buy bleachers.
“I have spent years watching football games (and) rugby games and I always end up sitting on the ground, getting my butt a little wet… you know how it is,” said Greenshields. “I thought there was a need for bleachers on the fields.”
Greenshields suggested it to club members, who readily supported the idea along with one of their teacher sponsors, Olivia Hill, who is also the Ballenas girls rugby coach.
After researching companies that sell bleachers, through the help of Hill, Greenshields said the club found a price that members feel they are capable of raising.
“It’s a lower price than we expected so we crunched the numbers a little and realized it was entirely possible that we could do this,” said Greenshields. “It’s about $4,000. We’re still trying to hammer out whether we want to get one or two of a smaller kind and it could cost closer to $5,000.”
The club plans to partially cover the cost with its own funds and the rest, Greenshields said, they’re now trying to raise through donations, sponsorships and through a GoFundMe account, a free online fundrasing platform, that they’ve set up.
“At the moment I think we have around $2,000 in our account that we can put towards the bleachers,” said Greenshields. “I don’t have the exact amount hammered out but I think we will need around $3,000 or $3,500 in total. We are hoping not to drain our accounts completely, that way we have some money left for next year for whatever the club wants to do.”
Unfortunately, the GoFundMe Ballenas Bleachers Initiative has not had a lot of traffic. It has only received one donation of $25 towards their $2,000 goal.
They have asked the Parents Advisory Committee to ask the school for a donation of $1,500 and have also approached businesses and individuals for some financial assistance for their project.
“At this point, anything really helps,” said Greenshields, who added that the club really wants to see this project through before the school year ends in June. “It’s going to be a legacy. It will give us pride that we did something as an Interact Club.”
Greenshields said anyone interested in donating funds can drop off cheques at the school and to clearly indicate it is for the Interact Club’s Ballenas Bleachers Project.
For those who don’t have the time to travel to the school, you can do it via the Ballenas GoFundMe platform online at
“If there is anyone who has questions or needs information, we hold our Interact meetings every Wednesday at lunch at 12:15 p.m. in Mr. Richmond’s room,” said Greenshields. “We always welcome people to come and visit, but of course they have to check in at the office first.”