Saturday, July 8, 2017

Palm Creekers Grow Pickleball!!

Written by Della Bass and Mike Cooper
Submitted by Della Bass

Parkland Pickleheads Open 12 New Dedicated Courts – How did they get there?

In April of 2012 Della and John Bass returned from wintering in the US where they were introduced to Pickleball, a relatively new and rapidly growing sport, while staying at Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort, in Arizona. Once back home in Stony Plain, they immediately knew they had to get things going locally, because they missed playing so much, and they had only played the game for 3 weeks!  After contacting the City of Spruce Grove, and the Town of Stony Plain, both in Alberta, they were asked to submit a proposal. So Della and John got to work, together they combed the area looking for the best location for Pickleball in the area.  John then compiled all of the information and quotes, for hard costs associated with resurfacing and painting lines on old tennis courts, as well as purchasing nets, and Della compiled all of the information available on the game itself, how it was played, what was required to play, the benefits there were to the community, and what they could offer to help get the sport off the ground in Spruce Grove!  

While in Palm Creek, Della had met Marg Ouimet while playing Pickleball, and discovered that she lived nearby, in Villeneuve, Alberta!  Marg was spending time early that Spring in BC, but via email offered to help with beginner lessons, and also suggested they may be able to obtain assistance from the USAPA as well.  After having contacted the Kinsmen and Kinettes in Spruce Grove, the Spruce Grove and Stony Plain Senior Centers, and putting up numerous posters all over both the Town of Stony Plain and the City of Spruce Grove, with minimal results, they were happy to have someone show some interest and enthusiasm for what they were hoping to do! In the meantime, while Della was talking with yet another friend about Pickleball, (Joan Lesburg), Joan mentioned that she knew a couple that played Pickleball, (that couple happened to be Marvin and Lorraine Richter, although Della never did get to meet them until the next winter, on the courts in Palm Creek).  Joan discussed Pickleball with her friends, and they gave Joan the name of someone they thought might be able to help, so Joan emailed Della with the name of a fellow, who had said he was also willing to help out, and he was so enthusiastic that he called THEM the next day!  That man’s name was Trevor Cook!  They now had 4 people willing to help out, with the yet to be named Pickleball Club!  Della and John completed, and submitted the proposal to the City of Spruce Grove on May 7th, 2012.  That same day, a copy was forwarded to Marg, and after a discussion with Judy Cook on May 10th, (Trevor’s wife, and current Secretary for Parkland Pickleheads), Della also emailed a copy to Trevor and Judy.  Now they had 4 Members, who together formed the Founding Members of the Club!

The City of Spruce Grove was very enthusiastic right from the beginning, and commented on how impressed they were with the information provided. They set a meeting within a week, and now with 4 enthusiastic Pickleballers, and with Seniors week just around the corner, in early June, it seemed the perfect time to launch the sport in Spruce Grove.  So with that, a date was set to have the local media come out to witness the Mayor of Spruce Grove, Stuart Houston, officially open a 4 court dedicated Pickleball facility in Spruce Grove, on June 5th, 2012.  After such a successful 1st meeting they felt they needed a name, John said it should have Pickleheads as part of the name, Della said it should be inclusive so Parkland should also be in the name, and so the Club was named. “Parkland Pickleheads”, to include all residents of the Tri Municipal Region, (Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, and the County of Parkland).  Della then set up the clubs Facebook page, using the brand new Club name to continue to get the word out!

  June 5th 2012, Grand Opening on the Original 4 Pickleball Courts – Mayor Stuart Houston in the middle, and all 4 founding members are also shown here.  John and Della Bass, Marg Ouimet, and Trevor Cook 
It was very good fortune for the Pickleheads, to have a Mayor in Spruce Grove who believes in an active and healthy community. In fact, Mayor Stuart Houston received the Lieutenant Governor’s Leadership for Active Communities Award in 2016…and yes he and his wife are soon to be 2 more members for the 200+ strong Parkland Pickleheads Club!!

Thanks to the continued dedicated, and forward thinking leadership team of the Parkland Pickleheads Executive, (Leslie Srogen, President; Mike Cooper, Vice President; Bill Bossman, Treasurer; Judy Cook, Secretary; Debbie Henwood, Director at Large; and Della Bass, Past President), the growing volunteer base, and the cooperation of the City of Spruce Grove Staff and Council, 4 old tennis courts were converted to 12 dedicated courts, and were opened for use on June 23rd, 2017.  The Pickleheads then hosted their 5th Annual Members Tournament on June 24th and 25th, 2017.  Check out our website for pictures and results!  http://www.parklandpickleheads.com

The Pickleheads now have 18 courts for our growing club (over 200 members). There are already plans to take the original 6 courts, have them resurfaced, and converted into 8 courts, which will give us 20 courts within the next few years!! Our annual September Smash Tournament will be held this year on September 8-10, 2017. This event is also the Alberta Provincial Championships, for which some brackets are already FULL!

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