Funtastic Sports Society executive director Jim McEwan (left) announces the awarding of $25

Funtastic Sports Society executive director Jim McEwan (left) announces the awarding of $25

Funtastic grants hit home run with sporting groups

There’s nothing Jim McEwan likes more than doling out cash, which, as executive director of the Funtastic Sports Society, he gets to do annually through Funtastic’s Community Grant Program.

However…

McEwan had a huge smile on his face Thursday afternoon at the Wesbild Centre prior to announcing the 2011 community grant recipients when he recounted how he saw the grant money in action.

“This afternoon, I was down at the lake watching a Vernon Rowing and Paddling Centre member use the adaptive rowing shell they bought with grant money last year,” said McEwan. “It gives me a huge amount of pleasure to see where the money is going, and that it’s going to so many diverse groups.”

Paddling centre spokesperson Lisa George said her group could never have afforded to buy the shell for its adaptive community without the Funtastic grant.

“It’s created huge opportunities for the adaptive community to be out on the water, be healthy and active,” said George. “It’s a legacy for the community for the many years to come.”

Same story can be said of Camp ArrowFlight, an umbrella group of the Armstrong branch of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, who received a Funtastic grant last year to buy archery equipment, and introduce kids aged seven to 16 that attend their camp to the sport.

“The kids love it,” smiled Jack Whelpley, area director north for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club. “We’ve used it indoors, we’ve used it at schools.”

The paddling centre and Camp ArrowFlight were among the nine recipients who received $25,000 in total grant money Thursday.

The money was handed out by the Funtastic Community Grant Advisory panel, which includes chair Terry Schmauder of Manulife Securities; Mayors Wayne Lippert (Vernon) and Jim Garlick (Coldstream); media reps Glenn Mitchell (The Morning Star) and Betty Selin (Sun-FM), and Glenn Benischek of VantageOne Credit Union.

The paddling centre received $640 this year for a youth at risk program, and Camp ArrowFlight received $1,693.20 for snowshoe equipment.

Vernon Senior Men’s Baseball (batting cage and net, also to be used by minor baseball), and the Vernon Tennis Association (ball machine) each received $5,000 grants.

The Vernon Kokanee Swim Club was presented a grant of $4,610.80 for a turnmaster pro wall, a vital piece of underwater equipment. Vernon Minor Fastball picked up $3,000 for new equipment, and the Schubert Centre Society was given $2,346 for indoor curling equipment.

North Okanagan Youth Soccer pocketed $2,150 for equipment for its new soccer patch program.

The Vernon Curling Club was awarded $560 for a new measuring device.

“Each year we receive many more applications and requests that far exceed our funding capability,” said McEwan, who noted there was more than $149,000 in funding support requests by 27 non-profit organizations this year.

This year more than $149,000 in funding support was requested by 27 non-profit organizations.

McEwan, joined in the presentation by Funtastic president Brett Kirkpatrick, said the Funtastic Sports Society exists to support and promote sport and recreation initiatives in the region it serves.

“The interest in the grant program serves as evidence of need and the importance many of our community organizations place on sport and recreation,” he said.

This year’s Funtastic Sports and Music Festival runs June 30 to July 3 in Vernon, Armstrong and Enderby.