Local athletes got their hands dirty for a good cause at the Ucluelet Elementary School garden last week.
About a dozen members of the Ucluelet Secondary School boys’ basketball team gathered at the garden on Oct. 14 to help prepare it for this season’s slew of educational activities.
“They’re young men and we’re trying to get them to be a part of the community and being a part of the community means doing things for each other,” said the team’s manager Jason Sam. “They’re here to spend their lunch hour and work, work, work.”
Sam said the West Coast’s student athletes appreciate the support they receive from their communities—the recently held Wickaninnish Inn – Long Beach Golf Course Pro-Am golf tournament raised over $17,000 for USS athletics— and he was proud to see his players put their backs into giving back.
“It’s just about showing them the work ethic and giving back. It’s a good thing to do and you feel good at the end of it,” he said.
“These kids are awesome. They’re a bunch of good kids and they just want to be a part of things.”
The school garden boasts a wide variety of crops including apples, cherries, blueberries, and kiwi fruit and is used as a outdoor education centre for elementary school students to learn about sustainability and growing their own food.
“Everything here that’s getting planted is going to be adopted by a class in the elementary school and they’re going to prune it, take care of it, harvest it, and then share their harvest,” Sam said.
Basketball season doesn’t tip off for another two months but Sam said training has kicked off earlier than ever to prepare the team for the upcoming season.
“We started two months in advance just to get some training going and introduce these boys into some physical fitness and teamwork,” he said adding the team will go through another month of team-building exercises before hitting the court for practice.
“We’re not even picking up a basketball for about a month.”
Sam expects about 20 students from grades 8-12 to come out for basketball this year as the school looks to improve upon its impressive second place finish at last year’s Island Championships.