The Crime Stoppers “Putting Crime in the Penalty Box” event returns to the Woolwich Memorial Centre this weekend. It runs Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Along with a free hockey skills camp that was a big hit last year, organizers have added a football clinic to the docket.
“There are so many hockey camps out there, which is great, but we wanted to do something a little bit different this year that would provide some of the kids and teens here in Elmira with a chance to either get introduced to the sport of football or to hone their skills with some great coaches,” organizer Pat DeLay explained.
The local Crime Stoppers chapter spearheaded the event after the New Year Eve break-in at the WMC that saw a pair of 13-year-olds unleash some $100,000 worth of vandalism.
“It was just an awful thing, that took the community centre out of commission during the holidays,” DeLay said. “So we decided to put this event together to hopefully make positive connections with the youth between Crime Stoppers and the police force; and what better way to do it than with sports?”
Last year DeLay, the former chair of the region’s Crime Stoppers branch, and Darryl Pacquette, the Waterloo Region Police Service’s Crime Stopper’s coordinator, launched the event at the WMC with free ice time and hockey drills at the Dan Snyder Arena and a variety of activities like swimming and face painting for the younger kids throughout the community centre.
This year, the second arena pad opened up, and DeLay, a former university football player, saw an opportunity to get a football skills camp together.
“We decided to make this a camp for the big guys, the linemen and linebackers because once you get the quarterbacks and the receivers going the space really becomes an issue,” he said, although he noted that anyone over the age of 12 interested in attending is welcome. “We’ve got some really knowledgeable coaches coming in that will work with the kids on their skills.”
Contact safety will be a big priority, he said, since learning how to tackle and how to be tackled is so important in the sport.
The clinic will feature coaches and players from the Tri-City Outlaws football club, a competitive adult team that competes against teams from across the province and the country.
University of Waterloo offensive line coach Matt Fraser will also be taking part, while former Toronto Argonaut – and current WRPS officer – Ian Forde will be hosting a talk on positive lifestyle decision making.
The goal is to get young people thinking about law enforcement in a positive light, DeLay said, while also having a great time.
The football and hockey camps run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the WMC. The event is free and lunch is included. Donations to Crime Stoppers are encouraged. There will also be face painting, swimming and raffle prizes.