A place on the court for everyone

Published on April 24, 2017

About 40 kids tried out for their high school team, but only 12 made the cut.  What happens to those 28 kids who really wanted to play ball?

That was the inspiration behind the Shelburne County Basketball Association’s creation four years ago.

“We wanted for kids to have a place to play ball,” said John Fehr, president of the association. “Without this association, most kids wouldn’t get to play.”

When it started, the association had a boys’ team, a girls’ team and a mini team. Now the association has ended its fourth year with a victory that is more than medals - although they have collected a lot of those, too.

The association has grown to 11 teams with 111 kids from Grade 3 to Grade 12 participating in the program.

With a growing and very popular association, Fehr said they are always recruiting volunteers.

“It takes a lot of volunteers,” said Fehr.  “We are looking for new coaches for next season.”

The teams are seeing improvement in both skills and competitive spirit, with several teams securing provincial wins this year and three players - Mackenzie Smith, Jamie Fehr and Emma Corporon - going on to play with the provincial team.

Players from the 11 teams travelled all over Nova Scotia to compete and there were tournaments hosted in Shelburne.

A lot of effort goes into a successful season, and it couldn't be done without sponsors, Fehr said. When the season started, he said, there wasn’t enough money to properly outfit the teams with uniforms. Players had outgrown, worn out or misplaced the previous year's t-shirts bearing the team logo. The cost of new and more professional uniforms was $800.

Fehr said he didn’t know what to expect when he reached out to the business community but they came back with an overwhelming response. Woodworkers Home Hardware, III Kings Trucking and Shelburne County Cold Storage Ltd. all sponsored one to two teams each so the kids could have brand new uniforms.

“Businesses in town are very giving,” said Fehr.  “I was speechless.”

A handful of the teams brought back medals from the provincial playoffs, including the bantam girls team, which won gold.

Fehr can't wait to see the program start up again in September - and see how much it will grow in the next four years.