Editorial: Recognizing our young athletes

The 2014 BC Summer Games start in Nanaimo tomorrow (Thursday, July 17th) and run through to Sunday, July 20th.

The BC Winter and Summer Games have been taking place in British Columbia since 1978, bringing together the province’s emerging high performance athletes between the ages of nine and 18 (depending on the sport), with the average age being 14.5.

According to the BC Games’ website (bcgames.org): “The purpose of the BC Games is to provide an opportunity for the development of athletes, coaches, and officials in preparation for higher levels of competition in a multisport event which promotes interest and participation in sport and sporting activities, individual achievement and community development.”

The 2014 BC Summer Games start in Nanaimo tomorrow (Thursday, July 17th) and run through to Sunday, July 20th. The Valley Echo is excited to showcase four talented and inspiring young teenagers who are headed there to represent the Columbia Valley and test their best against other top athletes from across the province (see pages 8 and 9 for Part 2; Part 1 appeared in last week’s issue).

Not only do these four young athletes show great promise in their respective disciplines, but part of our excitement lies in the fact that this is the first time in three years, possibly more, that our newspaper has had athletes to profile leading up to this major sporting event.

Being a Black Press community newspaper (Black Press is the media partner of the Games), The Valley Echo endeavours to support this province-wide community initiative by profiling young Columbia Valley athletes who qualify to compete. In the words of Chuck Bennett, Black Press group publisher for the Kootenays:  “I can’t think of anything more relevant to community journalism and community newspapers than local athletes attending the BC Games.”

But for some inexplicable reason, despite the tremendous athletic promise this valley holds, in recent years there hasn’t been much local interest in the Summer Games  — until now.  By simply qualifying and competing, these four boys are serving as much-needed role models for the entire community and are already doing the valley proud, with or without medals.