EAR FALLS -- Charlene Henrie has lived in Ear Falls for 12 and a half years. In that time, she has been a very active member of the community through her work and volunteerism. She has and her family have always been very interested in baseball. She remembers playing baseball as a teen as well as with her father as a child.
Charlene raised her kids in sports programs and it just seemed right to give back to the community by running some of the sports teams in Ear Falls.
“It gets the kids out there and off the screens,” says Charlene.
Charlene plays women’s hockey most years, but took the last year off due to an injury. She plans to return this winter and when she’s not playing, she still goes to enjoy the hockey games.
She spent many years working at the Ear Falls daycare and Early On Best Start Hub which made her comfortable and familiar with the kids of the area.
Charlene has run the kid’s baseball league for a couple of years, which would typically get around 30-35 kids. This year, she was even able to run swimming lessons at the waterfront. Around 40 kids were able to attend this summer, including kids from Wabuskang that came for swimming lessons.
Swimming lessons have not been offered in Ear Falls for many years due to staffing shortages and the high cost of insurance. Clerk Treasurer Administrator Kimberly Balance was instrumental in binging it back this year. The township partnered with Evolution Recreation Centre to figure out the insurance and provide a lifeguard to Ear Falls one day a week.
“Living so close to the lake, it’s a skill we all need,” says Charlene.
The Township of Ear Falls sponsors the sports program, which allows them to be free for the kids.
“We want everyone to be included, we don’t want anyone to say they can’t afford it,” says Charlene.
Even though Ear Falls is a small community, Charlene noted that with the help of parent volunteers the kids of the community have been able to participate in many different sports. On top of baseball and swimming that Charlene ran there is also skating, hockey and soccer programs running throughout the year. The township also rents out snowshoes and skis in the winter. Charlene hopes to be able to organize more activities with those rentals over the winter.
Now that Charlene’s kids are older, she hopes to pass the baton of running the sports programs along to a new generation of parents. However, she continues to be an active volunteer within the community and plans to keep the flames of youth sports in Ear Falls alive.
“It all comes back to the kids, it's good for them and gets them socialized,” says Charlene.