Good Neighbours program helps grow football in Fort McMurray

It was 22 years ago when football was introduced to Fort McMurray thanks to members of the community such as Syncrude Maintenance Advisor Larry Warren.

Although he didn’t have any experience with the game at the time, Larry understood the value of kids playing sports and quickly sought out sponsors, such as Syncrude, to bring the sport to town.

It all started in 1996 with one high school team, the Father Mercredi Trappers, and now includes pee-wee, junior and high school teams across most schools in Fort McMurray. Syncrude’s Good Neighbours program played a part in helping football grow to what it is today.

“Good Neighbours is a great program that makes it affordable to play football,” says Larry. “I have always wanted every kid to be treated fairly and the grants we receive from the program offsets the cost of equipment and reduces our registration costs.”

The Employee Volunteer Grant provides $750 to employees who volunteer a minimum of 40 hours within the calendar year. Volunteering can be as simple as chaperoning your child’s sports team, transporting equipment, or helping at events. Volunteers can also apply for the program’s Employee Busing Grant of $2,500.

“Syncrude’s busing grants are a massive help,” says Larry.

The location of our community means we have to travel to play other teams – the grants help us do that. It’s been an instrumental part of growing our football club to be able to play outside our town.

Larry warren

Football provides many benefits on and off the field such as physical and mental toughness, strong work ethic, accountability, discipline, and team work. Also, the relationships with teammates and coaches transcend the sport itself and provide a lifelong network of friends and mentors.

“The coaches not only love the sport, but they have a lot of pride in watching the kids grow up and succeed,” says Larry. “There is excitement when players get drafted, but also a lot of joy in just seeing kids grow up to be good people. Whether they continue to play football or not – it’s still very rewarding to be part of their growth and development.”

Syncrude is proud of the many employees, like Larry Warren, who make our communities a better place to live, work and play. 

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