Back in the game: summer sports grants re-evaluated and approved

Darcy MacRae
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It appears the federal government has had a change of heart concerning last weeks cuts to summer career placement grants.

Several sports and recreation programs in the province have been informed their applications for summer student grants have been re-evaluated and approved just one week after being told they failed to meet the criteria needed to land these positions.

Things are looking better, I say with a sigh of relief, said Ken Dawe, executive director of Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador.

Minor baseball was one of a number of groups hit hard by last weeks announcement that the criteria for securing summer student grants had changed. As a result, organizations such as St. John s minor baseball appeared headed for a summer without any student employees.

But by Thursday morning word leaked out that a number of programs in the province had received phone calls from Service Canada informing them their applications had been approved and they would get their summer students. Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador was one such group, as were the Northwest Avalon and Corner Brook minor baseball associations.

Corner Brook received the OK for four positions. Without those students, they couldnt run their program, Dawe said.

Soccer, rugby, volleyball and various other recreation programs also got their grants back, according to Sport Newfoundland and Labrador executive director Troy Croft. He said any organization that received grants in 2006 will receive the same amount of grants this year, with everything from the number of bodies to the number of hours allotted matching last summers totals.

The good news is that (the federal government) realized their mistake and changed their decision, Croft said.

As for why the feds had a change of heart, Croft and Dawe both admit they are still not 100 percent sure why last weeks announcement was reversed. However, according to Dawe, an outcry from organizations across the country showed the federal government that it had upset a lot of voters with its decision to cut summer career placement grants.

I think it had a definite impact on the politicians and forced them to re-evaluate the criteria in place for this year, said Dawe.

Regardless of why the feds changed their minds, Croft is just relieved to hear the news. He said several sports and recreation programs in this province could not have operated this summer without summer student grants, which would have forced a number of towns to cancel tournaments and other annual events and festivals.

You can imagine the impact it would have on not only athletes and programs, but on communities as well, Croft said.



dmacrae@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador, Service Canada, Sport Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Avalon

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