The Pemberton Valley Spirit of British Columbias Community Committee, a group involved with local 2010 Winter Games planning, has announced the creation of a new non-profit society to fund up and coming athletes.
Known as the "A Chance for Kids Society", the group hopes to start awarding grants following a fundraising golf tournament this summer.
"Its still in its early stages but the goal is to financially support athletes in the corridor who have the potential to be elite athletes, and if not elite, then need assistance to achieve their own goals in sports and excellence," said Lonne Clark, a member of the PVSBC Community Committee and the chair of the society.
The first fundraising events will take place in February when Pemberton hosts its inaugural Winter Festival. Funds from a golf tournament that has raised money for the Make a Wish Foundation in past years will go towards the society between now and 2010. That tournament has raised as much as $20,000 in the past, and any funds raised will go directly to athletes, says Clark.
"In the next few weeks we are going to be reaching out to the sponsors that have supported the tournament in the past, and to ask for their continued support now that the funds are going towards athletes.
"Probably after the tournament well have reached critical mass, and will start to accept applications," she added.
Pemberton does have some up and coming cross-country skiers, and with the construction of a new biathlon centre on Suicide Hill, Clark sees the potential for local athletes to step up a notch. The society will also work with the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program to fund disabled athletes in their bids to be competitive at home in the 2010 Winter Paralympics.
Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be the focus in the beginning, but the scope will be expanded to include kids with athletic and scholastic endeavours in all sports.
An independent board of directors will oversee the A Chance for Kids Society, which will work closely with the PVSBC.
The PVSCBC Community Committee has been working behind the scenes for more than a year, and was recently registered as part of the B.C. government's list of communities that wish to be involved in Olympic activities.