In 2014, Eric Heffernan of Code Three Emergency Services suggested that CORE find three sponsors willing to support the expansion of touch rugby in the Central Okanagan. Eric offered to provide $3,000/year for five years to support the growth and eventual self-sufficiency of touch rugby in the Central Okanagan. Clare Cassan's Columbia Bottles and Robin Durrant's CapriCMW Insurance also committed to a $3,000/year contribution to the growth of touch rugby between 2015 and 2019.
On the backs of these gentlemens' vision, CORE established the Touch Rugby 2020 Project. Its goal was to have 1,000 touch rugby players in the Central Okanagan by 2020. Ken Boe, George Curran, and Derek Worrall and hundreds of volunteers each contributed to the growth and development of the mini-rugby, touch sevens, and elementary touch programs. Doug Manning organized the adult Summer Touch League.
This is the last year of support from these sponsors. Was there a payoff to their investment? Did they achieve their goal of 1,000 touch rugby players in the Central Okanagan? Are the programs self-sustaining?
The results are impressive. Eric, Clare, and Robin's investment produced the following results in 2018;
Mini-Rugby Registrants (4 - 7) - 120
Touch Sevens Registrants (8 - 12) - 205
Elementary Touch Players (8 - 12) - 333
Summer Touch (adult) - 235
Total Touch Players - 893
Projected for 2019
Mini-Rugby Registrants (4 - 7) - 130
Touch Sevens Registrants (8 - 12) - 220
Elementary Touch Players (8 - 12) - 350
Summer Touch (adult) - 300
Total Touch Players - 1,000
It was a wise investment for the three sponsors. Thanks to the work of the many volunteers, more than 1,000 people will be playing touch rugby in Kelowna in self-sustaining programs by 2020. Just as it was planned. It takes a combination of great vision, adequate resources, and effective leadership to make things happen. Many thanks to Eric, Clare, and Robin for providing the rocket fuel to make touch rugby's growth happen.
Thanks also to the following CORE Business Members who will contribute to youth touch rugby programs in 2019: