In an effort to give back to the community, members of the Bert Church Chargers football team got into the Christmas spirit by getting involved with a stocking-stuffing event in support of Bethany Airdrie.
From Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, the students joined a program created by local 13-year-old Ty Harbour and began packing stockings full of socks, non-perishables and personal hygiene items, and will be delivering the stockings to the Bethany Care Centre Dec. 20.
“We were trying to finds something we could do around Christmas…and we asked (Ty Harbour) if we could help him out,” said Bert Church High School teacher and Chargers special teams coach Steve Larsen. “Athletes in general need to give back and you see a lot of the pros doing that.
“Obviously, we can’t sell our cleats for a bunch of money, but anything we can do to help give back is what we have to do.”
According to Larsen, the original plan was for the team to visit Bethany closer to the holidays, but the idea evolved into taking part in Harbour’s program.
Larsen said the idea for the Chargers to get more involved in community support came around this season when Chargers head coach Josh Joynson said he wanted his team to give back.
In addition to the stocking giveaways, Larsen said the team is organizing a food drive for the Airdrie Food Bank in the new year and has plans to volunteer during the Airdrie Festival of Lights in the upcoming weeks.
Larsen said efforts like this help build bonds within the team and help form young athletes into more upstanding community members.
“We want being a Charger to be a full-year thing,” Larsen said. “You’re not just a Charger during the football season, you’re part of the community the whole year.
“Hopefully, this develops that community belonging and fosters selflessness in these kids.”
Larsen said he has been proud of his team during the program, adding the entire squad has bought in to the idea of getting involved in the community and is excited to keep with it for the year.
The team also took part in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada paper bag program, decorating bags to express the importance against drinking and driving.
“(Community involvement) helps these kids with developing into successful members of society,” Larsen said. “It is also important to give back to our community because we are a school and a member of the community, so it’s nice to be out there and show what we are doing.”