The chairperson of the Spud Valley Nordic Association (SVNA) is extending a heartfelt thank you to the community of Pemberton and all the people “who have been so supportive and so generous” in the wake of the club’s equipment trailer being stolen a few weeks ago.
“We really, really appreciate every single penny we got,” said Delores Franz Los. “And we hope that we can put it to a very good use, and we can continue to make the program run as it has in the past.”
In the approximately three weeks that have passed since the SVNA trailer containing nearly $10,000 worth of equipment was stolen from the Nairn Falls Campground parking lot, the Nordic club has received more than $12,000 in donations to go towards replacing the stolen gear.
A trailer belonging to the long-running cross-country club—which operates a popular weekly kids’ “Jackrabbit” program, a junior racer program and fun events for adults each winter—went missing during the evening of Thursday, Dec. 16.
Many of the donations have come through a GoFundMe, which currently has raised more than $9,000 of its $10,000 goal thanks to many small, anonymous donations from community members as well as some large-scale donations, like $2,000 from the Pemberton Valley Supermarket and $1,000 from the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce.
The community also came together in other ways to support the club: many people and businesses donating money directly to Franz Los, while Pemberton Valley Farms owners Marty and Andrea van Loon raised $750 by opening their property for cross country skiers to use for a minimum five-dollar donation to the club.
“It’s just unbelievable the support we’ve had,” said Franz Los. “There’s so many anonymous donations. So I don’t know who they are, but they probably would have some connection to the club some way. So it is just incredibly, incredibly generous.”
With the cost of the stolen equipment more than made up for already, the next step for Franz Los and the SVNA is to start acquiring equipment to replace what was lost.
Luckily for the club, there were no sessions scheduled over the Christmas break, so there was lots of time to make a plan and borrow what was needed for Monday’s session, which Franz Los said went well despite not replacing all the equipment yet.
“The kids were very excited. We just had lots of fun activities, but nothing that needed equipment,” she said. “The coaches were working on activities so that they could actually see if the children who were put in a group for yesterday would be a group that would work together or if we’d have to switch them around, as we’re not sure what their skill level is.”
As the club continues to replace its stolen equipment, which Franz Los said is going to be a hassle in itself due to the supply not being there to get it all at once, the biggest issue that remains is finding a safe spot to store the equipment so a similar theft doesn’t happen again.
“We’re still thinking about it, but that’s what we’re going to work on this week—try to figure out what we can do as far as where to store it and how to get it back and forth and things like that,” she said. “I did suggest that at least during the rest of this year that maybe the Pemberton Tourism Association, which was the one that arranged with [BC] Parks to have [the campground] open all the time, maybe could arrange to have the gate locked every night, but I haven’t heard back from them on that at all.”