By Kevin Mills
Mission City Record
Students at Silverdale Elementary received an energetic lesson from a pair of unlikely teachers — B.C. Lions players Shawn Gore and Matt McGarva.
The Canadian Football League players were in Mission Monday to raise awareness about saving energy as part of the FortisBC Energy Champions and Lions Pride programs.
The Lions mixed game playing with energy lessons to keep the students interested in their message of environmental responsibility.
And while football may be their profession, both McGarva and Gore have a natural ability to connect with kids.
“This is just fun, it’s loads of fun. It’s great to see the kids. I’ve been in this position where I was one of them and athletes came and I got to see a different side to them – a side away from the sport,” said Gore.
He joined the program not just because he believes in the message, but because he wants to be a positive role model for youth.
“I thinks it’s more about the energy than the actual message at times,” he said, explaining that kids enjoy the fact that players are excited to be there and to present the information.
“We want them to be excited about the good things in life.”
According to Gore, the kids always surprise him, either with a question, or an answer.
“They are a lot more knowledgeable than we give them credit for… You really can’t beat it. It’s good to have a change and be able to do this in the off-season.
Silverdale principal Jason Obert believes events like these are important for their educational aspects.
“It’s not just the information they learn about saving energy but also it gets the kids very excited and gives them the opportunity to see people they recognize from outside of the school. Kids getting the opportunity to get excited about learning is always good.”
When the offer was issued by the Lions, Obert said his school jumped at the chance to host the event.
Along with the energy-saving lessons, the Lions players hosted relay races and other challenges to keep the students entertained and engaged.
Earlier in the day, the Lions were also at Mission’s Windebank Elementary to spread the same message.
Now entering its fifth season, the FortisBC Energy Champions program is designed specifically for children in kindergarten through grade seven, emphasizing the importance of environmental responsibility and being an Energy Champion. In 2014, the initiative saw the football club visit 75 elementary schools throughout B.C., inspiring more than 22,000 students to play an active role in reducing their environmental footprint.