Vikes for Tykes

Augustana Vikings athletes Nicole Brockman (right back) and Brett Ponich (centre right) are once again spearheading the Vikes for Tykes toy drive this year. The first collection date will be Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Augustana gymnasium for the volleyball games and at the hockey rink.
Augustana Vikings athletes Nicole Brockman (right back) and Brett Ponich (centre right) are once again spearheading the Vikes for Tykes toy drive this year. The first collection date will be Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Augustana gymnasium for the volleyball games and at the hockey rink.

The University of Alberta Augustana Campus "Vikes for Tykes Toy Drive" is a student led initiative spearheaded by the Augustana campus athletes. The goal of this drive is to give back to the community while creating a sense of unity within the Augustana campus and build on the university's stellar reputation in the Camrose community. 

For this program we ask each Augustana athlete, coach, and trainer to donate one toy to the drive. Additionally in hopes of involving all the community, collection boxes will be placed at the home basketball, volleyball and hockey games for community members and fans to participate. As well, collection boxes will be placed throughout the school for students, staff, faculty and community members to also contribute to the drive for those that cannot make it to games.

Last year, the drive ran for the month of November and into the first week of December. Our goal was to collect 200 toys, but the effort  far exceeded this goal. In total, Vikes for Tykes collected over 450 items with an estimated value of approximately $6000 worth of toys.  

The toys collected during the 2016 Vikes for Tykes campaign were distributed to many children through two outstanding organizations. Locally, toys collected were donated to the Kinette Club of Camrose Silent Santa program, which provided families in need in the Camrose area with gift boxes full of toys for Christmas. As well, half of the collected toys were taken to the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton. A group of Augustana athletes ran a "Hockey Day in Canada" celebration at the hospital, where patients of the Children's Hospital were able to select a few toys of their choosing, as well as take part in numerous games and activities with the patients led by the athletes.  

This year we are looking to grow the program, and have set a goal of collecting 750 toys from the students, faculty, and fans. In addition to donating to the Kinette Club of Camrose Silent Santa program and the Stollery Children's hospital, we will also be partnering with the Camrose Habitat for Humanity this year to set up a fund through Vikes for Tykes.

Camrose community members can donate toys by coming to a home Vikings basketball, volleyball or home game in the last two weeks of November and first week of December where there will be a drop box at the admission table collecting toys. In addition, drop boxes will be set up in the Augustana library for students, faculty or community members to drop off toys. The organizations we donate to ask for toys to be new and in their original packaging, so we are unable to accept used toys. 

Brett Ponich, one of the Vikes for Tykes co-founders and a member of the Augustana men's hockey team, said that he's found that being a part of athletics has always been a good gateway for giving back to the community. 

"Having previously played hockey in the WHL and professionally after that, I have taken part and thoroughly enjoyed many "teddy bear toss" games and the subsequent children's hospital visits where we distributed the teddy bears to patients," said Ponich. "Last year, having retired from hockey, I found myself missing this opportunity of community service. Vikes for Tykes provides this opportunity for the athletes and student body of the U of A Augustana campus."

Co-founder Nicole Brockman of the women's volleyball team said that helping start the campaign last year was a "great example of how giving a little can go a long way. By each athlete/student/faculty member/fan donating just one toy, we can put a smile on hundred's of children's faces in the Camrose area and those going through a difficult time at the Stollery Children's Hospital," she said. "It provides the athletes and students with an avenue to give back to the community in a way that benefits the children receiving toys, as well as the bridges the gap between Augustana students and the Camrose community."

Those who bring donatios to the games will also have the opportunity to collect 50 extra points when they check in to their Vikings Village app! Ask toy collectors at the games for more information. 

 

Schedule for the games where drop boxes will be:

Saturday, November 18th:

  • Home Volleyball (6 & 8 p.m.) at Augustana gymnasium
  • Home Hockey @ 6 p.m. at Encana arena

Friday, November 24th:

  • Home Volleyball (6 & 8 p.m.) at Augustana gymnasium
  • Home Hockey @ 7:30 p.m. at Encana arena

Saturday, November 25th:

  • Home Basketball (6 & 8 p.m.) at Augustana gymnasium

Friday, December 1st:

  • Home Basketball (6 & 8 p.m.) at Augustana gymnasium

Saturday, December 2nd

  • Home Volleyball (6 & 8 p.m.) at Augustana gymnasium