Curated by Rishia Burke
Tell us your name and the name of the project or the initiative or the group that you’re involved with.
My name is Paul Tomlinson and I’m with the Burlington Sports Alliance. I’ve been involved with the Alliance since 2003.
What have you most loved and appreciated about the Burlington Sport Alliance and why do you think that is important?
I think that it’s important because there needs to be a common bond between all the different sports and clubs in Burlington. And they’re so diverse that we don’t even know of some of the ones that exist. I did some searching the other days and found sports groups that I wasn’t aware of. There are so many, which is great. The Sport Alliance is designed to bring groups together to celebrate the collective impact sport has in the city.
The Sport Alliance’s mandate includes hosting an annual sports award evening. Mary Nickel, one of the Burlington Sports Alliance board members, was the driving force behind the development of the awards dinner. She wanted to make sure that high school athletes were celebrated for their accomplishments. We had a mandate to preserve the history of sport in Burlington, thus the Hall of Fame was developed. That piece of the work is now overseen by another group. The third element of our work has been to try to work with community groups to bring them together with sport and its impact at the centre. Making sure we are not working in silos. Together the voice can be stronger for sport.
Why is the Burlington Sport Alliance important to you?
Being part of the Sport Alliance brings you into association with other things happening to make things better in the city. Several years back the Burlington mayor at the time, had a community round table. We would sit there and various organizations, not necessarily sport, but organizations or nonprofits got a chance to present what they do. We heard a presentation from Community Development Halton from which we learned that there were children and youth in Burlington who did not have access to sport and recreation for financial reasons. We realized at that time that we should be supporting efforts with groups who work with these children and youth to change that. A group called Have a Heart for Burlington was formed. That group operated for several years with lots of groups collaborating, breaking down barriers to accessing sports and recreation. And they were part of organizing Sport Day in Canada in Burington, where the sport community collaborated to bring the community in to experience sport. We would like the Sport Alliance to get back to collaborating to help make sure all kids can participate.
What would you need from the community to make your next steps successful?
The Burlington Sport Alliance needs more volunteers; people who value the impact of sport on the community. We would love more sports groups to connect with us so we can ask “What can we do for you?”
We also want to hear the stories of athletes and the volunteers in the community (coaches, organizers) who are building the community through sport and recreation so that they can be considered for an award.
If you had more volunteers to help you and you were able to get the word out, if all of those good things happened what amazing things would be possible through the Sport Alliance? What’s your dream?
I am getting older, and we need a new generation of people to step into place to help keep some of this volunteer work going. I’d like others to catch our vision for celebrating sport and recreation’s impact on the community. I’d like to see more collaboration across sports groups in Burlington so we can collectively share what happens through sports. It would be great to see lots of people out at this year’s sports dinner (June) to celebrate sport in Burlington.
How can people get in contact with you if they want to learn more to get involved?
Be a newsmaker!
What would happen if we celebrated what is strong in Halton?
Community Development Halton is interested in sharing the news of individuals, groups and organizations that are strength-based, working at the edges and the middle of issues of community well-being, social justice and community building in Halton.
If you are interested in sharing your story, please head to the following LINK. We are excited to hear from you!