JCIs opt out of Sam Steele ball tournament

Cranbrook festival event needs a new organizer after Junior Chamber pulls out

The Sam Steele ball tournament is always well attended by spectators and players.

The future of June’s Sam Steele ball tournament is uncertain after the group that organizes the event announced it would no longer hold the reins.

Junior Chamber International (JCI) Kootenay said on Friday, August 31, that 2012 was the final year it would organize the successful ball tournament, held to commemorate Cranbrook’s biggest festival, Sam Steele Days, each June.

“It was a difficult decision for us and not one that we made lightly. Our membership is constantly changing. We really want to give all members the chance to come up with new event ideas and run with them and we needed to give something up to let that happen” said Elizabeth Ahlgren, 2012 JCI Kootenay President.

According to the JCI media release, the group decided to pull out of the tournament to free up time for new projects, and because the broader JCI organization recommends a chapter only run an every for five years because after that period, learning opportunities are reduced.

“It has been an amazing seven years of growing and improving the ball tournament. Community support by local businesses and players has been incredible and definitely allowed us to make the tournament better each year,” said Joey Hoechsmann, a JCI member who has been involved since JCI Kootenay took over running the tournament.

JCI has already informed the Sam Steele Society of its decision to pull out of the event.

“The Sam Steele Society was really supportive and understanding of our decision and the reasons why,” said Ahlgren, adding that JCI is confident another group will step forward to take over.

“We’ve learned a lot in our seven years, and we’re willing to share the lessons we’ve learned” said Ahlgren.

JCI Kootenay also runs a successful bocce tournament during Sam Steele Days.

“We hope to still work with the Sam Steele Society to run a bocce tournament,” said Ahlgren.

JCI Kootenay is part of an international organization of young people aged between 19 and 40, which strives to provide development opportunities for young adults to create positive change.

“Running the Sam Steele Ball Tournament since 2004 has provided our members with great opportunities to develop themselves with hands-on experience while running a quality event for the community. The proceeds from the tournament are utilized to run our chapter’s programming and also allowed us to build a playground at Cranbrook’s Moir Park in 2011,” said Hoechsmann.

If you are interested in running the 2013 Sam Steele Ball Tournament, please contact Laura Kennedy with the Sam Steele Society at 250-426-5914.