First Nation sports facility receives 2019 Facility Operations Award
- EFN Staff | December 10, 2019
The award may have his name on it, but Kevin Roberts wants to ensure that it’s his community’s leadership that receives the credit.
“We were pretty elated, but I didn’t want to make this about myself. Awards are nice but really, at the end of the day, it’s a reflection on your community and the leadership that makes things happen.”
In late October, Roberts was the recipient of the 2019 Facility Operations Award, presented by the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association (SPRA). The award recognizes Roberts’ achievement in the operation of the Jonas Roberts Memorial Community Centre (JRMCC) – a sport and recreation facility at Lac La Ronge Indian Reserve.
The JRMCC is the first facility on a First Nation to receive the award.
“I think we’re pretty privileged in our organization to do what we do. To know that when we build things, there’s going to be positive impacts for the youth, community members, and elders,” said Roberts. “The award is a good reflection on our entire organization and leadership.”
Roberts, who has been the director of sports and recreation at JRMCC for nearly eight years, says the facility is a wholly inclusive community, open to both band and non-band members. The facility has about 150 memberships, and provides financial supports for those otherwise unable to cover the fees.
“We realize sometimes finances can be a struggle, so we try to alleviate some of those burdens so every kid has an opportunity,” he said. “I just want to give back. A lot of these kids come from situations that I came from. So, when you’re in a position to make an impact, that’s what we’re here to do.”
The ice rink and fitness centre at the JRMCC underwent a $3.6 million renovation in 2016, adding increased space for the fitness centre, new seating, a running track, boardroom, and bus garage. The exterior of the facility has also seen an expanded entertainment park, featuring a canteen and washroom, 18 hole mini-golf course, snookball, beach volleyball, batting cage, and ball diamonds.
It’s all about providing youth with something that can make a significant impact in their lives, said Roberts.
“It has impacts in so many areas: leadership, teamwork, improved self-esteem, improved health and wellness,” he said. “We look forward to trying to help them realize the benefits of sports and recreation. It has such an effect on an individual, or community, you want to keep that going for your community to grow and develop in a good way.”