(The clean-up group from the Stittsville Minor Softball Association who groomed Stittsville’s ball diamonds to help the City of Ottawa maintenance staff – All Photos: provided by Carolyn Harman)
On the heels of a devastating flood, the City of Ottawa announced on May 8, that they were opening their softball diamonds and sport fields on May 10; however, they weren’t able to perform their normal upkeep due to the saturation of the grounds.
City staff resources were stretched pretty thin at this time – while on top of their normal jobs – were assigned to volunteer centres, helping on the front lines bagging sand, communicating plans with the public and protecting our neighbourhoods, busy roads and community greenspace from permanent water damage – so grating fields and overall grounds keeping, although important, wasn’t a priority just yet.
The Stittsville Minor Softball Association (SMSA) was happy to hear their season could start but even with the OK from City staff, they decided to hold off to make an opportunity for their athletes to give back.
On Saturday, May 11, the SMSA’s athletes, coaches, families and friends – dawned their uniforms, grabbed their own garbage bags and rakes and took to the fields in and around Stittsville. From the little diamonds like Ralph Park to the big diamonds like Alexander Grove – the grass needed cutting, garbage needed picking up and the surfaces required grating before players could safely start playing.
“It is important to the SMSA that their athletes give back to a community that supports them so thoroughly”, said the SMSA’s president, Melanie Driver. “Our Executive decided that a slightly longer delay was OK so we could help the City, as they’re busy helping others.” And as one of the parents helping added, “Every little bit helps.”
The coaches took the initiative, and created a team building opportunity for the participating athletes to help promote pride and gratitude in what’s offered to the them in the sense of safe places to play, what goes into maintaining fields and vandalism prevention – all while encouraging the practice of one of the associations core values, which is to have fun together.
A heart-felt thank you to those who helped out that day. The impact of the generous gesture was bigger than one can imagine – and in turn has continued to help develop the greatest team out there – the 56ers family! Let’s play ball!
Editor Note: It is because of caring community members like the SMSA who make Stittsville the ‘greatest’ place to live and play!