The first step is free. Tell them about it.
In late January, the City of Prince Rupert hired an outside consultant to increase usage of the community’s recreation facilities.
“Council has heard community concerns on decreasing participation at the complex and has identified community involvement in improving recreation services as a priority,” Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem told the Northern View.
Declining participation isn’t plaguing the complex alone and the sports that use the facility. The problem is rampant across the spectrum from the golf course to the curling rink.
Some speculate that Xbox and Wii are to blame. Others say it’s economic, that sports have just become too expensive. Both have some validity. But both don’t fully rationalize the problem or why some sports do so much better than others in Prince Rupert.
Two specific success stories are the swim club and basketball. Curiously, these two sports liberally avail themselves of a perfect vehicle to promote themselves and grow participation — our sports pages.
The others, well, to be kind, are reaping what they sowed — nothing.
Normally, sporting organizations bend over backwards to help a sports reporter, whether it be print, radio or TV, in any way they can to get coverage. Many even complain they aren’t getting enough coverage. Media coverage is beneficial for the sport, the participants and the sponsors — it’s free advertising.
On this point, Prince Rupert isn’t normal.
Often getting timely cooperation from a number of sports organizations and teams is tantamount to pulling teeth.
We truly recognize how important sports are to a community and we want to tell the stories. So much so, we have decided to add a full-time sports reporter.
As one community member said in an e-mail:
“I just noticed your ad for a sports reporter and wanted to commend the Northern View for its decision to add a full-time sports reporter to its team.
“Sports is very important in small communities, particularly to parents who love to see the achievements of their children chronicled. It is also a good way for adults to keep up on what local leagues and events are out there — even encouraging people to become a part of it. Of course, sports also makes for fantastic photos!”
We couldn’t agree more, but it will be up to Prince Rupert sports and recreation organizations to be much more media savvy and cooperative.
To that end, in the coming weeks, the Northern View will be contacting as many recreation and sports organizations willing to meet with us, to help them promote their sport or activity.
This can only be a win-win situation.
It’s not the only step many organizations will have to take to fix their participation problem, but it will be free.