Mya McCullough, 12, of Red Deer poses with her heart mosaic, one that she made with the help of her siblings, as a part of the Ringette Alberta Social Media Provincials, a project designed to keep the community together after the season was cut short earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Kristie McCullough)

Social Media Provincials helping keep Ringette Alberta community connected

Just one game into their shot at a Ringette Alberta provincial medal, Mya McCullough and her U12A Red Deer Rush teammates had their tournament unexpectedly cancelled because of the COVID-19 crisis.

It was tough news to deal with at the time and life has been certainly different since then.

With schools closed for the foreseeable future and kids mostly stuck at home with lots of time on their hands, Ringette Alberta has tried to lend a helping hand.

The team at Ringette Alberta decided to launch a project called Social Media Provincials, rewarding teams and players medals for doing good deeds or taking time away from screens. Submit a picture or video of walking the dog, doing chores, drawing, painting, or reading a book– just a few of the many ways to earn a points towards a medal.

Ringette Alberta administration and finance coordinator Carolyn Reich along with sport development officer Robyn Gillespie came up with the idea as a way to keep the ringette community connected.

“Over the couple of days that we had to cancel our provincials, as well as our RAB Cup and Challenge, which are things we love to work on and things that are awesome for the kids… just a way to do some fun activities for the kids that we aren’t going to get to do this year,” said Gillespie.

“Being on your team, that’s your social circle and so all of a sudden they were told you can’t do the things you normally do. So this was just a good way to keep people connected.”

The project exploded after they started it on March 18 and Gillespie said her email inbox, as well as their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds have been inundated with messages. They even have updated standings on their Facebook page every Friday for teams to track their progress.

“I was quite surprised, right away when we posted it we got lots of response. Over the weekend, hundreds and hundreds of messages, I can tell everyone is very competitive. We posted standings and suddenly, I had hundreds of messages and posts to go through,” she said.

McCullough, 12, and her Rush U12A team are currently tops in their division. She’s led in a variety of ways, but one big project was helping put up a giant heart mosaic in their window, as well as a few painting a few birds.

“We had seen them all over the internet, where you make a sort of stained glass,” said McCollough of the mosaic.

“So we decided to make a heart, my sister did the tape and we all did different designs and then we painted over it. We did another one with birds, so we have a flamingo and an owl.”

She also walked a dinosaur (aka her brother in a dinosaur costume) because they don’t own a pet and they’ve been staying in shape by taking shots on each other.

Really, it’s whatever she can do to stay busy.

“I like it, they’re just fun. I like doing the different challenges, so it’s really fun,” she said, adding they’ve been going on a lot of walks to stay active.

The St. Francis Middle School student said while all the activities and family time has all been a welcome distraction, she still really misses ringette.

“Yes, I really miss ringette. I kinda just miss being on a team, even just going on the ice and playing, I just enjoyed going on the ice, I love it,” she said.

The Social Media Provincials are on until April 18, players can tag Ringette Alberta on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and be entered into the contest. You can read more about it on the Ringette Alberta Facebook page.



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