As with all great stories, this one starts with a dream. In the mid 90s, while working as a counsellor with youth at the Lake of the Woods Child Development Centre, Jack Martin met a young man, a really neat kid, who had lived through a lot. Jack was talking to him, and he relayed going to school on Monday morning and hearing the kids talk about what they were doing on the weekend, and he had nothing to say; no stories to share. That was when Jack thought, what would be better? Seeing me once a week, or being involved in activities? And it was a no-brainer.
As with all great dreams, without a backer, you have nothing. And it was in 1996 that the founders of Triple P.L.A.Y., the Lake of the Woods Child Development Centre, received money from a one-time E.I. rebate, and they unanimously decided to put that money towards recreation for their youth clientele. A year later when those funds were gone, the staff at the Child Development Centre started putting aside $1 per pay cheque for their clients to participate in sports. In these early days they were helping 3-4 kids per year.
And when a great dream meets a great backer, more starts to happen! By 1998 the $1/pay donation started happening at New Directions, the Kenora Association for Community Living, and the Northwestern Health Unit. The sports groups also started to pitch in. The Lake of the Woods Minor Hockey Association would sponsor a few spots on the teams, while the donated money went to equipment. The idea was to put all the givers together because everyone giving a little makes a big difference.
In 1999, Triple P.L.A.Y. had the good fortune of a 3-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that afforded us the opportunity to launch the program on a larger community wide basis. This is when Triple P.L.A.Y. got its name; the Triple initially referred to Kenora, Keewatin, Jaffrey Melick area, and since the amalgamation Triple refers to the range of activities we offer to help; arts, culture and sports. P.L.A.Y. stands for Positive Leisure Activities for Youth.
Since then we have secured our operational funding on a year-by-year basis with the support of a great many local citizens and organizations!
Today Triple P.L.A.Y. supports on average over 1000 kids each year. Along with hosting one-time-events like Take a Kid Fishing and Take a Kid Ice Fishing, community BBQ’s, the Diamonds & Ice Tournament and our ongoing Community Equipment Locker.
We are always looking for new partnerships, events, volunteers and kids to support – reach out to us for more information!