Thousands of local families understand all too well the importance of active sport participation for their children.
Unfortunately, when disposable income is scarce - as was clearly the case during the worst of the pandemic - these outlets that are ever so critical for the physical and mental well-being of Sudbury and area youth can easily become the earliest of financial casualties.
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous lover of all things ringette, four girls were able to sustain their passion for the popular winter pastime, without missing a beat.
The quartet were the proud recipients of the Sudbury Ringette Association Passion for Ringette Bursary, established last year after a kind-hearted donor offered some assistance to the local association.
"For many, the cost of putting their children into sport can be too much to bear," noted SRA treasurer Troy McLaughlin, penning a piece on this act of kindness. "Since the start of the COVID pandemic, families have had to make some hard decisions on how to spend their budgets."
An ultra simple application process was put into place: players were asked to submit a one page letter on why they loved ringette, and why the family needed the financial help to play.
With the lucky recipients all young athletes who had played ringette previously, it came as no surprise that all involved were particularly thankful for the gift they received.
"As a single mom, I needed to balance family wants and needs," noted one parent. "After hearing about the possibility of being awarded a bursary, we signed up, my daughter wrote a letter and we hoped for the best. Being awarded the bursary was a huge help with the financial stress being lifted."
"Sudbury Ringette rocks for the opportunity they allowed my daughter to participate."
For those in charge, the gesture was equally as meaningful, aligned perfectly with the very reason so many of these folks became involved as volunteers with the sport of ringette.
"It is important that all players have a chance to play ringette, regardless of financial situation, and we are happy to offer some options to make it inclusive," said Sudbury Ringette Association president Shelley Ahmed.
"We have always tried to make playing ringette affordable for everyone by providing payment plan options, bursaries, and by using fundraising opportunities to keep registration fees lower," she added.
Having just celebrated its 55th season, the Sudbury Ringette Association is said to be the oldest such organization in the sport in the world, not shocking when one considers that the game was invented in northern Ontario courtesy of Sam Jacks from North Bay.
The SRA has opened registration for the 2021-2022 season followed their COVID shortened campaign last year. To find out more, please visit www.sudburyringette.com