Elmira’s Woolwich Memorial Centre is the place to be on Apr. 10 as Waterloo Region’s Crime Stoppers brings “Putting Crime in the Penalty Box” back for the third year.
The whole day is free to the community and includes hockey skills camps, a football camp, swimming, lunch, a comic book launch, Woolwich Sun Rays games, educational talks and a sledge hockey demonstration.
The event was first organized after the WMC was vandalized on New Year’s Day in 2014. The local Crime Stoppers branch decided a community event would help bring the youth and Crime Stoppers together in a positive way.
They’re finding more ways to reach out to the community with different offerings at this year’s event.
New this year will be the launch of their comic book, Captain Canuck.
Writers and illustrators created a comic book with the Crime Stoppers character and had a first edition launch in conjunction with Macs. They’ve resurrected the old comic from the ‘80s.
“We’re going to have our Waterloo Region official launch on that Sunday. So we’re going to have lots of Captain Canuck comic books and giveaways. That will be pretty cool,” said Pat DeLay, chair of the Waterloo Regional Crime Stoppers board of directors.
They’ve invited community groups to participate this year and they’ll be able to set up a table showcasing what their organization does.
“We’ve got our group, the police auxiliary, Pinacle [Health & Fitness] is going to be there showing some demonstrations. Hopefully some more community groups join in as well. We welcome any and all,” DeLay said.
Donations are welcome at the event as Crime Stoppers is 100 per cent non-profit.
He says last year went great and between adding the Woolwich Sun Rays and the football camp, there were a lot more people coming into the building and seeing what Crime Stoppers is all about.
“We just had a lot more folks there and coming and staying a little longer, which was great because from the hockey side they’re usually in and out in an hour. But having the Sun Rays there made a big difference in keeping the folks there and keeping interest high,” DeLay said.
The Woolwich Minor Hockey camp is open to novice, atom and peewee. Interested players can contact their coaching staff to sign up. The Woolwich Wild will be holding a camp too.
“I remember talking to some parents after. They said we didn’t have to hear much about anything Sunday night. They had a great time,” DeLay said.
There will be a free swim from 1-3 p.m. and the Lions Club is running a free barbeque again.
Last year was the first time they held the football camp and they’re hoping to see a larger turnout this year, especially from the Elmira high school students.
“I just see it as a great opportunity. You get about four hours of training for, we had asked for the football side, maybe a donation to Crime Stoppers on the way in. Any other camp would be from $150 to $200 for that much time. We’re doing it basically as a community service, rounding up the volunteers and we just like to have everyone in there. And we’d like to see the building full,” said DeLay.
They’re bringing in talented football coaches and players from across the region to run the camp, making it a perfect opportunity for local football players to get some excellent training.
“The Twin City Predators and the CMFA Lions are going to throw their support behind it this year as well as the Waterloo Warriors are back. The head coach and assistants are excited to be a part of it. They’re going to gather some players, as well as Lee Becker and the Tri-City Outlaws.”
They’ve also enlisted the help of MVP Football Academy, a group of current and former CFL players, CIS coaches and CIS players who provide football development programs for players in Southwestern Ontario.
“These guys are terrific and they’ve got a 7-on-7 program that they’ve been working with and so they’re going to come as well. They jumped right on board with it,” he said.
There will also be a cyber bullying talk and a good teammate talk, which he notes are crucial parts of this community building day.
“The thing that we wanted to do different with the football side was offer something besides just coming in and going through a clinic. Talking about the issues that kids have to deal with was part of it,” DeLay explained.
This year’s football camp will be open to anyone as young as 10. They’ll be able to divide them up into appropriate age groups with the number of coaches coming to help out. They’ll be teaching the fundamentals, like blocking, tackling, how to safely take a hit, and how to safely make a tackle.
They’ll also be working on offensive skills like, gripping the ball, running with the ball, and speed. And safety is key.
“Safe contact is on our minds at all times with football now and we’ve got trained coaches, that’s what they preach. There’s no more old school head down stuff. They are the basics, the fundamentals, the moving your feet, keeping your hands up. But those are the fundamentals that become second nature when you hit the high school level and moving on into college,” DeLay said.
As a former football player himself, DeLay’s excited about expanding the camp, but more so, expanding the reach of Crime Stoppers through this growing event.
“It’s all community based. And sometimes I think that message gets lots in all the excitement of what we’re doing. I think that’s the most important thing is we can talk about football, but I’m only really here because of Crime Stoppers. The hockey is there, but the hockey would go on and the football would go on. Crime Stoppers is part of the community and we need to make that entrenched,” DeLay said.
Crime Stoppers’ Putting Crime in the Penalty Box event runs Apr.10 at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.