WolfPack teams square off for Raise-a-Reader

Men’s volleyball and basketball teams compete in annual literacy fundraiser

Every year, the TRU men’s vol­leyball team and basketball teams compete to see who can raise more money for Raise-a-Reader Day, which will take place in Ka­mloops on Sept. 23.

Former WolfPack men’s volleyball player Brad Gunter was up early last year when he participated in the 2013 iteration of the fundraiser. (Image courtesy TRU Athletics)

Former WolfPack men’s volleyball player Brad Gunter was up early last
year when he participated in the 2013 iteration of the fundraiser.
(Image courtesy TRU Athletics)

The teams start at 7 a.m. and have three hours to collect dona­tions from the Sahali and Aber­deen areas. In exchange for do­nations, the teams will hand out special literary-themed editions of Kamloops This Week.

Fiona Clare, Kamloops’ literacy outreach co-ordinator, has seen the teams compete for the past seven years.

Clare called the WolfPack teams the most successful group of fundraisers for the morning of Raise-a-Reader.

Pat Hennelly is entering his tenth year as head coach of the men’s volleyball team and has tak­en part in the campaign in the past.

“We just want to beat the basketball team. That’s the one goal,” Hennelly said.

He remembers the competitive fundraising began seven years ago on Raise-a-Reader day to keep spirits up and the cold away.

“It’s one of those things that worked out well for our team. If you’re in sports, you’re competitive. We get there at 6 a.m. and obviously it’s cold and the guys are tired, too, so it’s a way to get us fired up and to keep the spirit going.

“The energy is infectious. Peo­ple see us smiling and they’re more likely to give money in that case. We’ve been over $1,000 ever since we started. I think $1,600 was our best,” said Hennelly.

The men’s basketball team rais­es close to $1,000 every year as well, but has yet to collect more than the volleyball team.

Scott Clark is in his fifth year of coaching the TRU men’s bas­ketball team.

“Our goal is to win. Other than that, it’s just to get out and have a little bit of fun with the team­mates in the community.

“In the past, volleyball has beat­en us out. The last couple years they finished first and we finished second. We’re quite proud of that.

“We’re trying to develop guys athletically, trying to do the same thing academically and develop as people and be productive mem­bers of our community,” Clark said.

There will be another Wolf­Pack team in the mix this year, according to Clare.

“This year we also have the TRU cross country team partici­pating. They should be faster run­ners, so there will be competition from them too.

“Raise-a-Reader is important so we can provide literacy pro­grams … we’re almost dependent on the money we get from the Raise-a-Reader day,” she said.

Last year, when the campaign was run by the now-closed Kamloops Daily News, the event saw more than 200 vol­unteers raise a total of $95,870, including lo­cal sponorships and matched funds from the government, according to an Oct. 6, 2013 arti­cle in the Kamloops Daily News.

This year, look for volunteers in bright orange t-shirts handing out special editions of Kamloops This Week.

Students can bring a donation to TRU on Sept. 23 to support Raise-a-Reader day.