Cindy Morrison

Recreation for all

The Recreation Access Program eliminates financial barriers for people to get involved in sports.

Rupertites deserve the chance to play.

That’s the goal for the city’s Recreation Access Program (RAP), designed to eliminate as many barriers as possible in getting Rupert families and individuals engaged.

The program offers residents financial discounts on course registrations and free admission to Recreation Complex facilities.

“The Recreation Access Program was designed to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to get active and involved, no matter their financial circumstance,” said recreation director Willa Thorpe last week.

The city is in a state of very high socio-economic need, like any community in Canada, she said.

“The reason it’s so important is that it really eliminates barriers to participate.”

In a release published on Dec. 9, the city said it is looking for new members as well as financial support from the community. But that doesn’t mean the well is running dry for the program.

“We want to keep ourselves from getting to that spot so we never have to turn anyone away because that’s not at all where the municipality wants to go,” Thorpe said.

Donations can come in many forms, from corporate sponsors to families or individuals purchasing passes for people to use. So far, Ridley Terminals has been a major sponsor of the initiative.

The RAP services approximately 100 residents a year, but Thorpe can see that number growing exponentially with community contributions and the coming addition of a local KidSport chapter.

“The recreation access program is for our internal programs and the KidSport program is for local, organized sports,” she said.

Ultimately, she foresees the two programs giving everyone here the opportunity to participate.

“The idea is that until we have all 14,000 Rupertites participating in our local facilities, we’re not done yet,” she said.

The program was originally called Everybody Gets to Play but the rec department has revamped both the name and how it works. Thorpe said they have eliminated barriers to make it as easy as possible for people to access for Rupert residents to get active and  be engaged.

To register for the program or to offer financial assistance, contact recreation coordinator Shantelle Berry: shantelle.berry@princerupert.ca or 250-624-6707, ext. 242.