Cowichan Junior Rugby: What a difference a year can make
Published Tuesday, December 13, 2011 5:00 am
by Jason Anson

What a difference a year can make in the world of Cowichan Junior Rugby. This time last year, the Junior Society put out a plea for help with its Junior Program or face closing itís program at the AGM in January 2011. Many new faces and old ones stepped up to make sure the program would carry itself forward. The Piggies certainly know adversity and have seen high and lows throughout their 50 year plus history.

As a result of many efforts made in many different capacities, the Junior Society saw itís program achieve itís ultimate success by winning one of itís targeted goals ďthe U-17 Island ChampionshipsĒ for the fall season in 2011. While at the same time seeing the senior piggies win the 1st Division Island Championships. Both titles won against the Castaway-Wanderers.

Individual success came to Patrick Kay amongst the batch of BC players who went to the Isle of Man for the 2011 Youth Commonwealth Games. A product of Cowichan Rugby Club and the North Island Tsunami program, Kay was the youngest player to compete at the 2011 Junior World Rugby Trophy with the Canadian Under-20 squad this past summer. Cementing the fact that Cowichan has started itís rebuilding of itís Junior Society on a positive note.

At the beginning of the year we saw a change in leadership with myself and Steve Hale driving the program forward. This process started with surveying the stakeholders of Cowichan Junior Rugby to identify the needs and changes that needed to be made as a collective group working towards our common goals. While we could not achieve everything in our first-year, we certainly made some progress in many areas such as:

Communications Ė We established the first Cowichan Junior Rugby society website at www.CowichanJuniorPiggies.com which allows us to communicate better to all those involved. Integrating a Facebook and Twitter account proved to be a successful way to get our information out in comparison to email or phoning individually each member.

Accountability Ė By sharing our goals, experiences and results online. It has allowed all stakeholders involved in our program to be on the same page. This was particularly evident when a parent of the group suggested not having numbers on our new jerseys for the mini program under 12. Collectively we thought it was a great idea and it was implemented on our new reversible jerseys introduced this past Fall season.

Education Ė Towards the end of the year, we started to get our ducks aligned and integrate our education component to our junior program. This started with Cowichan Junior Piggies hostings its first Aboriginal Coaching Manual course. With a large aboriginal population in the Cowichan and many members and coaches in our organization we wanted to understand the holistic approach that recognizes aboriginal culture in sport.

In the new year, Cowichan Junior Society aims to be the first club on the Island with all itís Spring
2012 coaches certified by Rugby BC NCCP Competition Rugby Course. The courses are being delivered at the Cowichan Rugby Clubhouse to accommodate our members from travelling and the costs that go along with such programs. All courses have been offered for FREE to our coaches and we look forward to continuing this trend.

LTRD Ė We voted as a board to implement Rugby Canadaís Long-Term Rugby Development module and started to integrate itís components. Including, increasing more Rugby sessions weekly at our clubhouse and  improving our fitness over all while we work towards our competition goals.

I would like to thank all the supporters, parents, coaches, athletes and Senior Piggies for their help making sure that this year was a success. We should be very proud of where we are at in a short-time period and be excited about the year ahead. Now we can focus on the next steps required to advance our junior program into greater success.

Warmest Regards,

Jason Anson

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