Letnick: Arts, culture, sport grants awarded

Being involved in music or sport and having access to cultural activities can have a significant positive impact on us and on our kids.

Norm LetnickPassing on an appreciation for culture, music and sport is one of the most important things one generation can do for the next.

Here in Kelowna, we are fortunate to have many clubs, societies and organizations that provide opportunities for us and our children to benefit from pursuing cultural, athletic and musical interests.

This month, I and my local MLA colleagues Christy Clark (Westside-Kelowna) and Steve Thomson (Kelowna-Mission), announced 14 organizations offering sport, arts and culture programs in Kelowna have received $335,000 through the government’s community gaming grant program.

Provincewide, these grants benefit more than 5,000 local non-profits every year, providing

$135 million in total funds, and helping enrich the lives of our families by keeping these extracurricular activities affordable.

Whether at home or within the community, being involved in music or sport and having access to cultural activities can have a significant positive impact on us and on our kids.

These pursuits foster an awareness of the broader world in which we live by informing us about those who came before us.

They present us with role models that spark our ambition and teach valuable life lessons in commitment, perseverance and triumph over adversity.

In Kelowna, five long-established musical organizations received grants this year. The Kelowna City Concert Band has been performing here for well over 100 years, while the Kelowna International Choir and the Okanagan Festival Singers have both been delighting audiences for 30 years.

Meanwhile, our residents and children have benefited from the Kelowna Community Music School’s instruction for a full 40 years, while the Early Music Studio has been making music from traditional, period instruments in Kelowna for 20 years.

I’m glad to know our grants will help these fine institutions continue to bring music into our community.

Sport programs are also very important in Kelowna, and six sport organizations benefited from grants this year.

Kelowna’s Springboard Diving Club, Volleyball Club, Youth Soccer Association and Ringette Association, as well as the West Kelowna Minor Hockey Association and the Westside Ringette Association will use these funds to get our community moving and keep our kids progressing in the activities they love.

Finally, the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan, the Central Okanagan Heritage Society and the Kelowna Art Gallery Association will also get grants to continue their good work of giving our community access to local history and art.

I know our community is a better place to live and raise a family because of organizations like these, and I’m proud to see them receiving such important support from the government.

If you know of a non-profit organization that serves our community and could benefit from supplemental funding, feel free to call my office at 250-765-8516 (or toll free at 866-765-8516) to find out more about how to apply for community gaming grants through the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

Norm Letnick is the Liberal MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country and B.C.’s agriculture minister.