HUNTSVILLE - It was a grand gesture to be sure.
Actually, it is more like three grand.
The 2012 OFSAA Nordic Ski Championships Huntsville was selected as the winner of the second-place prize of $3,000 for the 2012 True Sport Community Give-Back Challenge.
The top three winners were announced on CBC Sports as part of the Sports Day in Canada broadcast on Sept. 29.
To be eligible for the competition, True Sport members like Huntsville had to show their community spirit by taking part in any activity that gave back to their communities. The idea behind the contest is that good sports can make a great difference in communities across Canada, like the venue held in Huntsville’s downtown this past February, promoting both sports and local merchants.
The ski championships were up for one of three top awards of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, depending on the number of votes received during an online vote held from Sept. 19 to 21.
John Cowan, the co-convenor for the ski championships, said he was stunned when the news about Huntsville’s second-place finish was announced.
“When I sat down to watch this afternoon CBC Sports in Canada programming, I came late into the program and they announced the third-place finisher. I sat for another hour and a half waiting to hear the results of the second-place finisher. I was not certain if I had missed from sixth to third finishers. When CBC’s Scott Russell announced from the Hockey Night in Canada Ball Hockey championships in Niagara Falls that Huntsville finished second, I was really excited for the community. It took a second to
realize that we actually came second.”
Cowan said proponents of the event knew they had their work cut out for them when they were informed two weeks ago by True Sport officials that the event was one of the six up for the cash prizes.
“Engaging our students from Huntsville High School, they established a social media site to encourage the skiing community throughout Ontario, family, and friends to vote.”
He said that they hit a snag with having only one Internet protocol address for the school. But that didn’t stop them from their goal of garnering votes.
“In discussion with our technology teacher and librarian Ian McTavish, we decided to create QR codes and we posted these around the school so students with QR readers on their smartphones could vote. As well, the BIA, chamber of commerce and Huntsville Rotary Club also generated a large number of votes.”
Cowan didn’t keep the voting local. He reached out to colleagues in the Kitchener-Waterloo region about the competition and he said from there, the word of the contest’s voting got out to the universities and colleges and the Kitchener Rotary Club.
“I was amazed at getting emails from people across the country voting. Beckie Scott, who is the Right to Play ambassador, wrote me an email congratulating Huntsville High School Nordic ski team on being selected as a finalist and did a huge service by encouraging her network to vote,” he said.
Cowan said the students and staff at HHS need to be commended for their networking to ramp up the votes.
“It was truly an honour for our community to be selected as one of the True Sport Give
Back finalists and now I am ecstatic for the community to have finished second in this nationwide competition,” he said.
Now that the voting is over, the real work begins said Cowan. He said the money will be spent through a process with the OFSAA host organizing committee and the town to maximize the opportunity for as many different sport user groups.
“This will take some time,” he added.