Yesterday the Athletic Status Report was given to the Chinook School Board, and for the first time, it was provided by Val Gordon.

Gordon, who is the Athletic Coordinator for the Chinook School Divison is in her first year after taking over for long-time athletic coordinator Deb Riemer who retired at the start of the year.

In her first year Gordon said it's been a very busy year for her, but overall she believes that things have gone well both behind the scenes and on the field.

"We've hosted provincial championships, and we've got another one coming up. Our wrestlers did great, and our volleyballs teams had lots of medals at provincials," she said. "People are getting to events on time, and our participation numbers are steady, so overall I think we are doing pretty good."

This year, provincially, athletes and teams representing the Chinook School Division have brought home three gold, two silver, and three bronze in volleyball and wrestling with badminton, and track field provincials yet to be hosted.

Participation numbers have remained strong in all sports except for in curling, senior cross country and also saw a decrease in the number of schools participating in golf.

Gordon said that despite seeing the decrease in golf, the numbers are still strong.

"I think we've got our set schools that take part every year," she said. "Golf is on a Saturday which works against soccer, volleyball, football, so there are fall sports that are working against that. I think it's just the nature of the beast that individual sports suffer sometimes. Our golfing numbers are the same. They're small, but they are stable."

As for curling, she said that they are going to be looking at introducing some new ways that students can participate.

"Definitely looking at a senior doubles curling event to try and get our schools who can't get four curlers or don't have four competitive that now they have the option to do some doubles curling," she said. "In our juniors maybe even looking at saying that their team can be three or four curlers because they might have three but that's not enough for a team, and then we lose kids to a sport that they love."

Volleyball saw the highest numbers of athletics participate followed by track and field, badminton and curling, basketball, football, soccer, wrestling, and golf. Chinook School Division saw 85 per cent participation rate among students something Gordon is pleased with.

"When you bring in Swift Current's numbers it's pretty hard for them to get 80 percent so that percentage drops down a bit," she said. "Most of our small schools in some capacity are 90 or above, and I think that is awesome when you think of 9 out of 10 kids are involved in some activity, that it's available to them and that there isn't a big cost or any cost to associated, and that's pretty rare these days."

She says one of the biggest challenges they face is trying to get officials, especially with basketball.

"Our numbers are dropping. It is a province-wide concern that is why they did a provincial mentorship training approach with Basketball Saskatchewan and the high school athletics to try to mentor these young officials and keep them in the game. But definitely basketball and football, and soccer those sports that we don't have tons of teams involved in, we have to be diligent for sure."

Looking forward Gordon says she is going to be working more in the behind the area.

"Well for me personally, within the job I had mentioned was getting a binder going for this position to have a very defined what your role is every week every month if it needs to be," Gordon said. "Continuing better communication with schools. So the information gets to who needs to get to in a timely fashion, and increasing our social media presence, so the whole district knows what is going on with kids and promoting school sport is one of my big challenges."

Gordon added that she would also be looking to revisit SWAC bylaws, policies and constitution as well looking at a new junior volleyball playoff policy, and revisiting the transportation policy and extra-curricular activity.

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