A group of young volleyball players from Rainy River First Nations (RRFN) are looking for local support to get to Ottawa for the Ontario Indigenous Summer Games.
Tammy Horton has been coaching the group for several months now after a parent brought the idea to her.
“They held tryouts in Kenora for a different team called the Treaty #3 Titans, but some of our youth couldn’t make it to Kenora for the tryouts,” Horton said. “So the idea came to one of the parents because her daughter couldn’t make it. So she read up on it and she said ‘what if we just send some of our youth, make a team of our own?’”
To that end Horton has a team of 16 and under boys and a team of 16 and under girls as well as some 19 and under players who will join other teams, preparing to head to Ottawa at the end of the month.
Horton says Volleyball seems to be one of the things that kids have really enjoyed and gets them out of the house.
“The youth down here are not interested in doing too many things,” Horton said. “But volleyball is one thing. So I think sport activities get them out of their homes and off their electronics and gets them doing some physical activity.”
Horton added that it seems like volleyball has been popular in the community for as long as she remembers.
“When I was growing up in high school volleyball was always the main thing that we liked to do in our community,” she said. “It’s just always been here, volleyball and baseball.”
The hope for the trip is to give the kids a good experience, many wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to travel as far away as Ottawa.
“I just wanted to give them the opportunity to travel,” she said. “You know, go on a trip. One parent told me that this is going to be the highlight of their summer. So I’m sure that’s how a lot of the kids feel.”
The group has been doing some fundraising and have a few more coming. They will be hosting a penny table at Wes Fest at Rainy Lake Square on Saturday evening. They are also selling tickets on a fishing day courtesy of Lake Life Adventures. They are also holding a Bannock Burger and Indian Taco Sale at the RRFN Gym on July 19 at 12:00 p.m.
Horton says the players have been very dedicated to the efforts to get to Ottawa.
“A lot of the kids are very active in this volleyball group,” She said. “They’re coming to all the fundraisers. We have practices three times a week and most of them come. Even if I just see them out on the street they’re like ‘let’s talk about volleyball. What are we going to do down there? When do we go? I’m really excited.’ That’s just all they want to talk about. I think this is going to be the highlight for a lot of the kids for their summer vacation.”