FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The return of the darts league and open mic night means operations at the Royal Canadian Legion are returning to normal.
After COVID-19 restrictions made it impossible to run the meat draws or the regularly hosted events, executive member and darts league president Shannon Smith says the Legion is excited to be hosting events again.
“We’re hosting a darts tournament on the 21st of August. We usually end up with around 28 to 30 shooters for this event,” said Smith. “Sometimes, people come down from Fort Nelson and a few different places.”
Smith says the main focus of the league is to have fun and socialize.
“People enjoy it because we play music while we’re shooting, we have a few high calibre shooters, but we just let them do their thing. We have cards, and top shooters go pick their team cards first. That way, anyone who is just learning to play can team up with a skilled shooter.”
If a shooter is running away with the competition, Smith isn’t afraid to remind them why they came.
“If they get too serious, I go over and talk to them and remind them it’s a fun league. We’re not here to be serious, we’re here for fun, and we have a ball.”
What Smith found interesting about living in northern B.C. is how many people are from Atlantic Canada, where Smith is from.
“I’ve been out here 16 years, and I’m from Cape Breton. About 90 per cent of our league are Cape Bretoners and Newfoundlanders, and there are only a few that are actually from B.C.”
Smith managed to reconnect with someone she grew up with back east at darts league.
“One guy I was playing darts against, I knew I knew him. We grew up together, but we hadn’t seen each other in 20 years.”
Darts league starts September 7th at 7 p.m.
The darts tournament will be held on August 21st at 2 p.m.
The Legion posted on Facebook that open mic nights would be returning on August 28th starting at 4:30 p.m., and a meat draw will be held on the same evening.
Smith says the Legion is always looking for volunteers to help out with events.
“We’re always looking for volunteers for meat draws on Fridays and Saturdays. Anytime there’s a function we’re looking for people to come and help set up, take down and things like that.”
The provincial government made a one-time grant of $1.5 million to make up for the fact that Legions didn’t qualify for Circuit Breaker funding during the pandemic. Peace River North MLA Dan Davies made a call to action on May 28th for support.
“Legions are not just a bar. They are a community hub, they support our veterans, they support youth groups, and our legion in Fort St. John houses many other not-for-profits,” said Davies in June.
Any Canadian or citizen of an Allied nation 18 years or older can join the Royal Canadian Legion. Annual membership fees are different from branch to branch, but a year membership costs an average of $50.
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