The Luc Côté Sports Camp for children aged 5 to 13 was created in the spring of 2000 by Luc Côté, the physical education teacher at Rapides-Deschênes school. The small school budget forced the principal to make choices. Physical education and the music suffered. The equipment deteriorated without being renewed.

I went to the principal and told him that the equipment was good for waste and that the budget was inadequate. His response surprised me: “You didn’t ask me.” This response suggested that he was open to correcting the situation. The next day, I presented him with a $65,000 order and told him that this was just the beginning.

I knew he couldn’t meet the need. So with my order, I gave him two solutions: organize fundraisers with parents and do after-school activities in the summer.

The fundraisers organized by me (Luc) and Sylvain, my colleague in physical education, were a great success. In three years we have raised approximately $16,000 which we have invested directly into the purchase of physical education equipment by setting aside $5,000 for the purchase of 30 guitars, several music stands, and music sheets.

For the extracurricular, it was not easy. The school supported me in implementing this initiative. I had to hire monitors to run the extracurricular activities, but it was not possible to add them to the school board’s payroll. Rather than give up, I started a company.

In the year 2000, the Rapides-Deschênes school lent its facilities free of charge to groups that requested them. I asked to use the school’s facilities for the summer, six weeks and offered to pay $1000 per week on the condition that I spend the money myself on physical education equipment. The $6000 from extracurricular activities added to the $5000 from the annual fundraisers swelled the budget to $11,000 per year.

In addition, in the year 2000, there was an incomprehensible anomaly at the school. The custodial staff could not use the physical education equipment and the physical education teachers did not touch the custodial equipment. I put an end to this insane system. Now all the physical education equipment would be available to the childcare staff. “We all work for the same children.”

The childcare staff was thrilled. We pooled our resources. The daycare added another $4,000 and the amount available went from $11,000 to $15,000 a year. So, in three years, we have purchased $45,000 worth of equipment for your children.

The “Luc Côté Sports Camp” is still a fundraiser for the school’s physical education. Without the camp, there would not be 70 pairs of Nordic skis and 130 pairs of boots. There wouldn’t be 60 pairs of snowshoes, two archery vests, and 50 bows of various calibers.

There would be no top-quality volleyballs, javelins, foam balls of any kind, or gym mats. There would be no climbing wall or trampoline. There would be no 30 unicycles and 6 giraffes (high unicycles). Most importantly, there would be no swinging frame for the kindergarteners to climb in the Rainbow Building.

Finally, since the physical education equipment is funded by the sports camp, it allows the school director to allocate more budget for music.

This initiative serves your children well.

Luc Côté