The CFL season might still be a couple months away, but kids from across the Lower Mainland will have the chance to practise with Lions' quarterback Travis Lulay this weekend during the first-ever Football Frenzy camp in New Westminster.
The day-long camp - a partnership between the Royal City Hyack Football Club and Jim Pattison Hyundai - is the first official fundraiser for the newest KidSport chapter in New Westminster.
Royal City resident Farhan Lalji was approached by Jeff Rae, general manager of JP Hyundai in Surrey, who wanted to run a fundraiser for KidSport.
Rae had previously organized an event in October to support the national charity, but thanks to the NHL lockout the event wasn't as successful as he had hoped.
"It didn't get the exposure I thought it deserved," Rae said. "I thought (we could) try and do something to make up for it."
Rae then contacted Lalji and Lulay, who both signed on and soon Football Frenzy was born.
The camp runs all day April 20 with all the money raised through registration going to KidSport.
"We hope to raise a bunch of money for KidSport, but even more than that we hope to raise awareness for the program," he said. "There's lots of people out there that don't know that (the) organization exists."
KidSport is a non-profit organization that began in 1993 to help families pay for their kids to participate in organized sports.
According to their mission statement, KidSports gives children between the ages of five and 18 access to sport opportunities and experiences in both team and individual sports "so all kids can play."
Both Rae and Lalji hope this weekend's event will cre ate awareness for this important program.
"I'd probably say that throughout our entire (Hyacks) program we probably have 15 to 20 (youth) that are in KidSport," Lalji said.
For a long time New Westminster didn't have its own chapter. This meant families looking for support would have to deal directly with the organization's head office in Victoria.
"Many of the other municipalities and cities around have their own chapter, so it was important that we have our own," he said. "When you look at the socio-economics of our area, not everybody lives in Queen's Park . we have a lot of kids that need it."
Much to Lalji's delight, New Westminster opened its own chapter about six months ago.
"It's important that we realize that there's so much potential for that person that we can help foster," he said. "None of us involved in this (organization) ever want money to be a reason why a kid can't play."
Sports are an important part of growing up, Lalji said, especially in today's society where most kids spend more time in front of a TV than playing outside.
"This will allow more kids to take part in those types of activities," he said.
Young football players between the ages of six and 13 will spend the day learning about the sport from Lulay and coaches from the Hyack club. The camp runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mercer Stadium in New Westminster.
To register, visit jpfootballfrenzy.com. Rae encourages everyone to register online before the event so organizers can ensure every player gets a T-shirt and lunch.
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