By Dan Plouffe
The Ottawa Sport Council is looking ahead to brighter days during trying times as it kicks off a 6-part program that will run throughout 2021 called “Rebound”.
Free for community sports organizations thanks to Ontario Trillium Foundation funding, the series of online workshops will feature topics such as strategic planning, volunteer recruitment, risk management, sustainability, health & safety, and a year-end roundtable discussion.
“We wanted to put a positive note on it; we want to help people rebound,” says Ottawa Sport Council executive director Marci Morris, noting that many sports groups have been focused more on survival than looking ahead.
“The common thread is that everybody wants to get back safely and responsibly, and they’re trying to figure out how to do that,” she adds. “But the interesting thing is: the larger organizations that have staff, and might have facilities that they own, they’re struggling more, because they’ve got fixed costs, whereas entirely volunteer-run organizations that use facilities from the City, they aren’t incurring costs, so it’s kind of the flip side of normal times where those that have staff are usually better prepared.”
If there’s a silver lining to be found from the pandemic, it’s that the local sports community has really galvanized and collaborated together, notes Morris, who’s been at the OSC helm since it was formed in 2013, in large part to better connect sports groups with mutual interests that often operated in their own silos. The Ottawa return to play roadmap – a website with a “toolkit” of information and resources related to COVID and sport – is the shining product of those efforts.
“The roadmap is really is a community initiative,” underlines Morris, who’s worked with 70 different organizations on the ongoing project. “This is all about the sector helping each other and recognizing that we’re stronger together, and that we need to work together.”
“We know COVID’s been a downer,” Morris indicates. “There’s been a lot of bad news, so we’re trying to publicize the good news.”