Bill Harding, who is currently the Chair of the Brantford Sports Council (BSC), has been a key figure in promoting the benefits of sports within the Brantford community for many years.
Harding, who was an accountant by trade before retiring a number of years ago, explained what the BSC does.
“We are a collaboration of sports organizations—providing the collective voice for ongoing [the] development of educational promotion of sport and [its] benefits [to] our community…. It’s a huge community engagement initiative…there’s a lot of people that make this a reality including our community partners,” said Harding.
Harding continued. “The community is important [and] we try to help everyone the best we can with the resources that we have to promote sport and sports development at all levels.”
However, one of the key reasons for the BSC’s success has been its volunteers and founding members including various sports organizations in the community.
“I can’t speak enough to the volunteers and at all levels. And those that [are] engaged like the hotels, the restaurants, all those suppliers and the sponsors that make the difference,” said Harding.
Harding also noted the impact of one particular individual on the continued success of sports education and promotion in Brantford. Harding recalled Walter Gretzky’s impact on the community.
“Walter Gretzky has been [a] cornerstone—who supported sports in the local areas, and tourism in our community on all levels, not to mention in Ontario, but also throughout Canada. I’ve had the opportunity to be with Walter on a number of occasions and traveled with him. And he is, has been, and will remain a legacy in our community,” said Harding.
Furthermore, Harding and the BSC have focused on continually building support for sports education and promotion in Brantford, as well as across Ontario, especially related to youth.
Harding noted. “We try to keep our focus on what’s important about youth sport and youth sports development at the grassroots level in particular. I’m also a director of the Community Sport Councils Ontario (CSCO) and I work with our director in Southwestern Ontario which includes Burlington, Hamilton, Cambridge, and London…putting programs together and trying to get a better understanding of how we can make this better for everyone that’s engaged in sports.”
However, with Brantford growing, Harding and the BSC have been driven to develop, as well as, maintain a host of local programs.
“We have a number of initiatives that we have worked on including the awards celebrations…[and] we have put some great programs together with the City of Brantford [like] undertaking a rink board program…that [will be] a nice revenue program for our members [and] for the BSC, to continue to develop and promote the development of youth sport in our community,” said Harding.