Sixteen teenage female soccer players and two chaperones are fundraising to fly to Hawaii from March 13-23.
The group wants to participate in the Canada-Hawaii Friendship Soccer Tournament, which is in its 14th year.
“It’s an exceptional group, that’s kind of why I even considered it,” said James Waddell.
As the coach of the senior girls soccer team and the physical education teacher at Fort St. James Senior Seconday, Waddell should know the group he’s speaking about.
He has spent a lot of time with the team, especially because most of the 16 girls on this year’s team, from grades 10 to 12, were also on the team last year.
It was last school year when the idea was suggested. A soccer team from Williams Lake had participated in the tournament, so some of last year’s local team had suggested the Fort team go too.
But last year, Waddell said no.
This year, however, he changed his mind.
“They’re such a good group to travel with,” said Waddell. He held a meeting with the parents of the team, and everyone thought it was doable.
“The girls are amazing, but the parents are amazing too,” said Waddell.
He said the parents have been involved in some of the fundraising activities they have been doing, like selling firewood and raffle tickets.
The group is trying to fundraise in ways which will not take away from any of the many other groups fundraising for different causes in town, and is attempting to be innovative in some of their ideas.
The firewood was something no other group was offering, and the raffle tickets will be sold at businesses around town and by the players.
The group is also going to be holding a yard sale on Nov. 24, and donation items can be dropped off at the school or for larger items people can contact Waddell at the school and he can come pick them up.
The goal for the group of 16 players and two chaperones is to raise $18,000, which provides $1,000 per player towards their trip.
The airfare, accommodations and tournament will cost about $800 each, leaving $200 for meals and activities.
The tournament itself will involve five games over two days, plus another exhibition game later the same week.
The girls will stay in a hotel in Waikiki where all the other Canadian teams will stay as well. There will be teams from: Oak Bay, Victoria; Sardis, Chillicwack; Fort St. James and a private school from Ontario.
Four Hawaiian teams will be participating in the tournament as well.
The trip itinerary is still being finalized by Waddell, but he has so far arranged for a tour of Pearl Harbour, a Polynesian cultural centre tour, snorkelling, surfing and a luau.
While some of the team has been to Hawaii before on family vacations, for some it will be an entirely new experience. Waddell estimates there will be about eight parents accompanying the group, paying their own ways.
Luckily, the trip will take place over spring break, which means the girls on the team will miss only a few days of school.