Emo township launches pickleball drop-in program

By Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Next Tuesday, a new pickleball program is launching in the township of Emo for residents seeking to stay active by playing a fun and social sport.

Pickleball drop-in sessions will be held every Tuesday night from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. between January 31 and February 21.

Deborah Degroot, health educator for the Northwestern Health Unit, said the program was initiated after many individuals in the local community expressed that they wanted the program.

“We basically just had a group that wanted to play pickleball. So we made it happen,” she said, adding that many of them had played the sport in the past. “So I just helped them to set up through communities and schools to get it set up at the gym. And it’s just an opportunity to build community and to get people out.”

The drop-in sessions will take place at the Donald Young School Gym at 9024 HWY 602 in Emo.

Degroot said that organized pickleball drop-ins will be a welcome addition to the town especially during winter seasons when there aren’t as many opportunities to play sports and stay active.

Currently, she believes that the only other program being offered is shuffleboard for seniors, a game in which players use cues to push weighted discs down a court, which runs on Thursday mornings.

“So it’s a good opportunity to build community around physical activity,” she said.

Degroot said that based on the turnout and amount of interest in the eight-week pickleball program, they may consider extended the program beyond the February end-date and look into grants to fund pickleball rackets, potentially introducing a pickleball league for the town.

“I would [also] like to start a few more things for our area between Emo and Rainy River just to get a few more programs running,” she said.

Pickleball is a beginner-friendly sport that can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game. All are welcome to bring their own racket and participate in an evening of fun.

For more information, contact Degroot at 807-482-2211, ext. 309786, or email at ddegroot@nwhu.on.ca.