Valley First –A division of First West Credit Union and Okanagan Hockey Community Foundation Join Forces to Empower Local Youth through Summer Hockey Camp Bursaries

Valley First –A division of First West Credit Union and Okanagan Hockey Community Foundation Join Forces to Empower Local Youth through Summer Hockey Camp Bursaries


Valley First –A division of First West Credit Union and Okanagan Hockey Community Foundation Join Forces to Empower Local Youth through Summer Hockey Camp Bursaries

Penticton, September 11, 2023 – In a remarkable display of community commitment, Valley First and the Okanagan Hockey Community Foundation (OHCF) have once again united to provide a transformative opportunity for local at-risk youth. As Okanagan Hockey Camps commemorates its 60th year of operation, this partnership has granted 21 bursaries to deserving young individuals, enabling them to experience the enriching world of summer hockey camp.

Understanding the profound impact that a summer hockey camp can have on the lives of young people, Valley First and OHCF continue to prioritize identifying and supporting at-risk youth through this initiative. The summer hockey camp experience offers far-reaching benefits beyond the rink, equipping participants with valuable life skills that positively influence their academic and home lives.

Participating in a summer hockey camp fosters teamwork, discipline, and time management, skills that are readily transferable to the classroom and home environments. The rigorous training regimen encourages dedication, perseverance, and goal-setting – qualities that contribute to enhanced academic performance and personal growth. Moreover, the camp environment nurtures friendships and camaraderie, reinforcing social skills that are instrumental in building strong relationships throughout life.

Valley First has upheld a legacy of dedication to the Okanagan, Similkameen, and Thompson regions for over 70 years. With an extensive branch network in these areas, Valley First has consistently championed local businesses and community initiatives, embodying a commitment to fostering thriving communities.

“When we reflect on our purpose to build strong and sustainable communities, improving education and well-being of our youth plays such an important role in helping us achieve that,” says Simon Mills, President, Valley First. “The skills gained through this partnership will be life-changing, and we are proud to make this program more accessible to those who otherwise may not have had the opportunity.”

The Okanagan Hockey Community Foundation, established in 2017, is dedicated to breaking down financial and emotional barriers to education and athletic advancement for students pursuing excellence through hockey. This partnership with Valley First and School District #67 showcases an investment of over $20,000, enabling local students to partake in the transformative experience of the Okanagan Hockey Camps.

Michael O’Connor, Chairman of the Okanagan Hockey Community Foundation, emphasizes, “Hockey is a powerful platform for youth to develop leadership skills, self-confidence, and a strong work ethic. Through this partnership, we are opening doors for these young individuals to not only excel in their athletic pursuits but also lay the foundation for a successful and impactful future.”

Recipients of the bursaries are thoughtfully identified by representatives of School District #67, ensuring that those who can benefit the most are given this unique opportunity. The selection criteria consider not only the student’s athletic potential but also their mental health, well-being, and overall personal growth potential.

Todd Lindsay, Principal of Parkway Elementary School says, “I have been fortunate enough to be involved with supporting the Okanagan Hockey Community Foundation summer camp bursary program since it started in 2017.   By prioritizing youth at risk in School District 67 the OHCF is making a profound impact on a number of students.   This opportunity allows students to experience an atmosphere where students get to set goals to improve their hockey skills and over the course of the week see how their dedication and hard work help them improve a skill.”

As Valley First and the Okanagan Hockey Community Foundation continue to demonstrate their dedication to the community’s well-being, the impact of this collaboration resonates far beyond the hockey rink. The bursaries provided signify an investment in the potential of local youth, fostering a generation of leaders who are primed to positively influence their communities and thrive in all aspects of life.

Todd Lindsay adds “Recipients of this bursary are also exposed to a camp experience where they can make new friendships and practice their social skills. This experience transfers perfectly to the classroom setting where goal setting and social skills practice occur daily and contribute to student success.   Students return to School in September with a renewed sense of confidence and ready to share their amazing camp experience.  I look forward to continuing to observe the positive impact this program continues to have on our students within our school district.”


Media Contact:

Sandy Bergum

Okanagan Hockey Community Foundation


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