The University of Northern British Columbia Wins 2011 CCAA Community Service Award

The Community Service Award recognizes a CCAA member institution that has developed a successful community relations program. The UNBC Northern Timberwolves basketball teams took part in a local outreach program and raised a record amount of money for the 2011 Spread the Net campaign. UNBC previously won the CCAA Community Service Award in 2003.

"The University of Northern British Columbia Northern Timberwolves are a force in Prince George,"says Vince Amato, CCAA vice-president of marketing. "They've not only helped with basketball development, they've also managed to bring their fans and community together to raise awareness on social issues. It's amazing to see what they can do, and the CCAA is proud of their accomplishments."

The outreach program saw UNBC coaches and student athletes travel to 10 local elementary schools to teach basketball fundamentals. The program exposes children to basketball and fair play principles, raises awareness of varsity sports and its affiliation with education, and provides youth with information on combining athletics and academics at the post-secondary level. Each visit includes a skills development session and a question-and-answer period.

"I'm always excited to participate in the outreach program," said fourth year student athlete Dennis Stark. "An hour or two out of my week could be the catalyst for a young athlete to start a lifetime of sports. It's also a way to give back to Prince George and show the city I appreciate what they do for us."

The UNBC Northern Timberwolves took advantage of the large crowds at their home basketball games to promote not-for-profit campaigns and student groups. The most successful partnership was with UNBC's Spread the Net campaign. Thanks to awareness raised during two basketball home games, UNBC was the top fundraiser in the 2011 Spread the Net Student Challenge and raised over $18,000 to reduce Malaria in Africa. It was a great accomplishment for a small school, who were rewarded with a feature on CBC television's The Mercer Report.

The CCAA Community Service award was presented during the CCAA annual general meeting in Collingwood, Ont. on Wednesday, June 15.

"UNBC is honoured to once again be recognized with the CCAA Community Service award," says Jason Kerswill, athletics director at UNBC. "We are very fortunate to have a tremendous group of student athletes who fully understand their role as leaders in the community. I truly believe that the amount of support that we receive from the community is directly related to the fact that our students are always willing to give their valuable time to worthy causes.