Community work nets Bagg citywide honour

Women’s hockey veteran receives Kingston’s Mayor’s Youth Award

Alison Bagg, right, says despite her busy schedule she’s involved with the Boys and Girls Club during the school year.
Alison Bagg, right, says despite her busy schedule she’s involved with the Boys and Girls Club during the school year.
Journal File Photo

Queen’s women’s hockey player Alison Bagg received a diplomatic tip of the hat from Kingston mayor Harvey Rosen last month for her extensive volunteer work in the Kingston community. Bagg was one of four recipients of the annual Mayor’s Youth Award, recognizing her contribution to both the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston.

The fifth-year player was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in 1997 and has since raised $460,000 for a cure. The fundraising efforts Bagg and her family have organized started as a single event following her diagnosis and have grown to three major functions per year.

Bagg said she was initially compelled to get involved in fundraising by the possibility of a cure.

“We’d heard a cure was in the near future,” she said. “We said we’d keep doing the fundraisers until a cure was found.”

The Kingston native hasn’t limited her efforts to diabetes fundraising. She’s spent last four summers working at the Boys and Girls Club. The organization provides recreational and social activities to more than 1,800 local youth each year, facilitating positive relationships between adult mentors and the children they support. Queen’s women’s hockey coach Harold Parsons is the executive director of the club.

“[Parsons] encourages all of his players to get involved,” Bagg said. “When I was in high school I was talking to him about playing hockey with Queen’s and he notified me about a position.”

Bagg said she’s involved with the organization throughout the school year to stay in touch with the kids she bonds with during the summer. She helps organize an annual Halloween program and a weekly hockey league operated out of Wally Elmer youth centre using equipment donated by the NHL Players’ Association. She said getting involved with the hockey program was a no-brainer.

“I love hockey and I love volunteering. It’s a natural fit,” she said. “My time at the Boys and Girls Club showed me that not all people share the same comfortable life that I enjoy.”

Bagg’s motivation to help the less fortunate led her overseas last summer to volunteer at an orphanage in Ghana with her younger brother. She said balancing her long list of charity-related activities with school and hockey is an easy task.

“You just make time for it,” she said.

Parsons said his players’ strong academic accomplishments give the children something to emulate.

“My belief is there should be something you attach your team to that benefits the community,” he said. “Many of these children come from homes with no post-secondary education. We want the players to inspire ... achievement in our children.”

He said Bagg’s commitment to the children is something many of them don’t experience outside the Club.

“Ally does what she says she’s going to do,” he said. “Some of the kids don’t have that type of stability at home. I don’t think the players understand how much of an impact they have on our kids.”

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