The Peachland Sportsmen’s Association recently handed over a $500 donation to our local food bank. Thanks to Al Springer for sending in this photo!
If Peachlanders can band together to build a pier, well they definitely can help each other rebuild after a pretty awful 2020.
Chuck Clark of the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association – a group of conservation-minded outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and fishermen, says the double-hit of declining memberships (due to the loss of a leased firearms range up Princeton a couple years ago), along with the ongoing pandemic have hurt, but they’re not alone.
“Like with all community organizations, we’re very limited in what we can do, so not having our major sources of fundraising has been a huge loss.”
The Sportsmen’s annual game banquet can bring $10,000 to $15,000 alone, says Clark, and between that and association memberships, they’re able to provide conservation-related education and outdoor programming for everyone – from seniors, to kids of all ages and abilities. You may have seen volunteers set up last summer, teaching people how to fish off our new pier. They did the same at Shannon Lake, and Father’s Day has become a bit of a tradition there.
“That fishing program is special to us,” he says.
“Last year, we were here at the Peachland pier every Wednesday night and every Saturday with groups of different abilities, along with high school students and seniors groups and it’s really disappointing that we’re not able to be part of it and help those people and give back to the community. Because that’s what all of our volunteers are about.”
The Sportsmen’s Association is known for giving back – our Ray Kandola Heritage Pier was the obvious location choice for this interview. They’re one of the three local groups (the Lions and the Rotary were the other two) who worked together for years to bring the pier to life.
“There was a lot of people who came together and pushed for the development and went to the different levels of government and got the necessary funding, which was huge. And now, I think this is probably the jewel of the Okanagan,” Clark says.
Within the past year, the Sportsmen’s Association donated $3,000 to the local community policing program and another $500 to the Peachland Wellness Centre. They also give a bursary away for a deserving area high school graduate to pursue their education.
And, they work with BEEPS during their Rubber Ducky Race, ensuring those little ducks don’t wander too far after their trip down Trepanier Creek.
“We’re the guys in the hip waders and fishing nets supporting what they’re trying to do in the community which is huge too,” says Clark.
It’s for these reasons of togetherness that Peachland’s Virtual Light Up Gala was a huge success, raising just over $12,000. Thanks to an exclusive Zoom link, ticket holders had access to a night of entertainment and a silent auction – and as Clark says, it’s a way to give back to groups in our community – including the Sportsmen’s Association.
We start (distance) walking from the pier and back to Beach Ave.
“Yes, COVID has hurt us, there’s no doubt about it,” Clark says.
“But we’re not going to give up. We’re a group of people who care and give back.”