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Ski-at-School program to launch at Devon schools
Justin Janke
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Ski-at-School program to launch at Devon schools

Hundreds of students at all four community schools in Devon will have access to a brand-new Ski-at-School program launching in 2019.

“We found an auction of just over 300 complete sets of cross country skis, boots and poles, and couldn’t pass up the incredible opportunity”, says Jeff Bakal president of the local Bears Adventure Sport Society (BASS).

The BASS team collaborated with Patricia Nicol, the Economic Development Officer at the Town of Devon, who was able to help source corporate sponsorship from Aspenleaf Energy Limited and Devon IGA to help purchase the fleet of skis.

BASS is a local non-profit founded in 2012 dedicated to providing outdoor adventure to youth in Devon through cross country skiing, biathlon, adventure skiing and mountain biking programs. The BASS team has raised money and sourced corporate funding exceeding $25,000, which has been used to purchase equipment, host events, sponsor ski and mountain biking field trips, and build sustainable adventure programs.

Jeff Bakal further explains, “the ski-at-school program was developed back in 2012 as part of a major grant competition to purchase equipment and initiate the program at Holy Spirit Catholic School. Back then, the grant was not successful, so the program sat on the shelf.”

Now that the equipment is no longer a stumbling block, the ski-at-school program will officially launch next winter. BASS has already confirmed participation with John Maland High School, Riverview Middle School, Robina Baker Elementary School, and Holy Spirit Catholic School who are welcoming access to the equipment and the fully developed cross country ski curriculum free of charge. BASS will also coordinate the grooming of trails, provide access to certified coaches, and guidance wherever needed to ensure each school is successful in introducing and hosting the ski-at-school program. “We are so thankful to the Town and the generosity of Aspenleaf Energy Limited and Devon IGA for stepping up so quickly: this auction was about to end in a couple days, and when we contacted the Town, they didn’t hesitate - they just made it happen,” said Jeff Bakal. A few of the schools hope to start unofficially this winter.

BASS is also leveraging this opportunity to make sets of skis available to small local clubs to host events, offer lessons, and build their own community cross country ski program. On February 16, BASS will partner with Leduc County at the Wizard Lake Winter Try-It Festival where the skis will be used to host mini learn to ski sessions at the lake.

“There is one thing for certain, the BASS team will make every effort to capitalize on this partnership with the Town of Devon, Aspenleaf Energy, Devon IGA, every school in Devon and anyone else who is interested to share the sport of cross country skiing”, states Jeff. Additional information about the Bears Adventure Sport Society can be found on the website at www.bearsadventure.com/bass.

For more information, contact: Jeff Bakal, President of BASS at info@bearsadventure.com

See the PDF of the release sent out from BASS here.

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