Volunteers go extra mile for sports

Through this column we hope to touch on community events, tell stories and highlight the amazing people that contribute so much.

With the start of a new column I thought that I would take the opportunity to single out some of the people who go the extra mile to make Summerland such an amazing place to live.

When I moved here 22 years ago, it didn’t take long to recognize how perfect a place Summerland is to raise a family.

Over the years, the time and effort so many people put into coaching, organizing, mentoring and providing activities is truly a community effort.

Through this column we hope to touch on community events, tell stories and highlight the amazing people that contribute so much to our community.

Even though it seems like spring has started late, it is the time of year for all the sporting associations such as softball, baseball, soccer and lacrosse to start their seasons.

I look at girls softball and Carol Van Balkom, (who by the way doesn’t even have girls that currently play softball) longtime president and considered the godmother of girls softball in Summerland. In addition to organizing the local leagues she also administers two major softball tournaments each year that bring in hundreds of people to the community and can be found many a night in her lawn chair behind field #2 at Dale Meadows Park.

Audie Yastremski is a longtime coach and former president of minor baseball. He has coached a variety of teams, usually two per year while raising his four boys. Audie is still involved and waiting to coach his first grandson.

Not only a fine coach, Audie is a great guy who has that combination of coaching skills and attitude that makes the sport what it should be — fun.

And finally in this column I want to mention John Holman.

John follows a fine group such as Gary Judd and Brian Beliveau that assisted with the formation of SOYSA, the South Okanagan Youth Soccer Association, and the building of the soccer fields at Dale Meadows Park. Originally from England John has a passion for the game he calls “football” but it is soccer to us.

John has coached, organized and has been heavily involved in helping train the many soccer coaches in Summerland.

These are only a few of the many people involved in sports in Summerland and over the next while I, along with my colleagues Brenda Ingram and Joanne Malar will try to keep you entertained and informed on all that Summerland has to offer in the area of sports, activities and special events.

Before I sign off, don’t forget all the Earth Week Activities that are ongoing this week and culminate with Earth Day at Dale Meadows Park Sunday, April 22. For details go to www.summerlandchamber.com.


Dale MacDonald has been Summerland’s Director of Parks and Recreation for the last 22 years and in his sporting past has won provincial championships in four different sports.