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New elementary school program funds equipment and provides training

More youth in Canada will be able to participate in the sought-after game of cricket, thanks to the new RBC Wicket Cricket program designed to help schools and communities easily introduce the sport to their physical education programs.

"RBC's investment in Canadian cricket is aimed at elevating awareness of the sport on all levels with a view to reaching cricket-enthusiasts of all generations," said Mark Whitmell, director, Cultural Markets. "We want to help build this sport in Canada so that cricket fans can feel proud of their association with it, and families from cricket-loving countries can pass on this cherished tradition to their children. We feel that the best way to do that is from the ground up, by helping schools and communities respond to kids and their families who are passionate about the game."

Geared to students from grades two to six, the RBC Wicket Cricket program gives physical education teachers and community recreation leaders the means to introduce kids to the basics of the game, while providing a fun and exciting physical activity that develops interpersonal skills, enhances self confidence and instills the value of fair play.

"Our support of cricket in Canada is part of our ongoing efforts to build deeper connections with people in ways that are relevant and which reinforce our commitment to multicultural communities," Mr. Whitmell added.

Even before today's launch, program advisors Melvin John, an avid cricket supporter, and Tim Stone, an elementary school teacher in Scarborough, Ontario - had engaged more than 100 schools in the Greater Toronto Area alone. Through word of mouth alone, close to 400 schools from across the country have already registered online for the program.

"Many schools do not have the budget to make large investments in cricket equipment or the resources to meet the demand for the game," said Mr. Stone. "Through the RBC Wicket Cricket program, teachers will be able to easily access the resources they need to confidently begin or continue to develop the sport of cricket in their schools and communities."

Interested school teachers, community recreation leaders and coaches can obtain more information and register for the RBC Wicket Cricket program at By registering, they will receive a free kit that includes equipment such as youth-sized bats, balls and wickets, (while quantities last) and a teacher's resource guide on DVD, outlining the rules of the game and practice drills.

Later in the spring, RBC will launch a new interactive cricket website where students and teachers participating in the RBC Wicket Cricket program can download training videos, watch cricket drills, and post related community events and photos. It will also include more advanced coaching information and tips for establishing a house league and tournament play.

SOURCE: RBC Royal Bank
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