Key Pen Parks receives donations from car dealership


Scott Turner, KP News

Last month, Key Pen Parks soccer players pose for a group photo after Grey Chevrolet donated funds for their program. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News


During the months of November and December, the Key Peninsula Middle School gym is packed with kids playing soccer.

The Key Pen Parks’ Pee Wee indoor soccer league has been drawing 4-to 7-year-old kids to the parquet turf Saturday mornings, since 2006.

On Nov. 3, there was a little more excitement added to the normal hustle and bustle, game fundamentals and busy picture-day activities.

There was a stop in the action for a presentation from Grey Chevrolet of Port Orchard. Whistles were blown and players grouped to an end of the gym to receive a $500 check from Brian Van Wert, company parts manager.

On behalf of Grey Chevrolet, Van Wert, a Key Peninsula resident, donated an over-sized ceremonial check as part of the company’s commitment to youth sports.

The kids were happy, but no one was more excited than Jessica Smeall, Key Pen Parks recreation coordinator.

She said Grey Chevrolet came to Key Pen Parks wanting to sponsor the popular recreation program.

“We are at a place now where we want to grow. The fees we receive for the (soccer) classes just cover the gym and the instructors, so if we want to buy more equipment or have an end-of-year party, we really rely on sponsors, donors and parents to help us do that.

“With a gift card, they ended up donating $700, and that is a big deal for us,” Smeall said.

She plans to use the funds for the soccer program next year and said the park district is grateful for the support.

Earlier this summer, the dealership donated cones, goals, jerseys, T-shirts and equipment bags to kick off the year, Smeall said.

Van Wert smiled as the mini-soccer players swarmed him and his large stunt check.

He said Grey Chevrolet has partnered with General Motors to enhance youth soccer throughout the nation.

“I live out in Lakebay, so I convinced them (Grey) and they let me run this national program on the Key Peninsula.

“There is a great group of people who have embraced me since I moved out here in 2006. It’s a wonderful close-knit community and I’m proud to be able to present this check to them,” Van Wert said.

Smeall is hopeful more area youth will get involved in recreation.

“I want people to have awareness of our Pee Wee program throughout the year and to be part of our next sport, and next year’s program. Out here, we need social interaction and skill development, teamwork and sportsmanship for these little ones as early as possible,” she added.

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