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WECAN boosting sports, also West End community projects

FRED STURRUP
Nassau Guardian Columnist & Sales Executive
sturrup1504@gmail.com

Published: Sep 18, 2013

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WECAN is the acronym for West End Community Action Network. This initiative, headed by area stalwart James Culmer, is a major heartbeat of the slow paced community of West End, once a key element to the ‘Magic City’ aura of Grand Bahama.

Today, with sports and youth development as foundational planks, WECAN does a lot to keep the society stabilized. Spokesperson Nakira Wilchcombe, who also chairs the WECAN Back To School Program, spoke to the many responsibilities of the organization during a recent interview.

“WECAN started out as, and remains community-based. We are concerned with the environmental needs of West End, highlighting and promoting the area as well as the sporting concept. Annually, we stage the Easter basketball and softball tournaments. There is a heavy focus on community spirit in sports for the young and the older. We encourage as many as possible to come out, even if they are no longer competing, to help with the development process.

“WECAN is also very much about education. In the sporting programs, we try to reach all of the children in particular, starting from age three, keeping them mindful of academics,” informed Wilchcombe.

‘Sports’ is a huge part of the WECAN program. Actually, with Culmer as the coordinator, WECAN has the nucleus of a mini sports academy. The entire community of West End was filled with excitement recently because of a visit by former National Basketball Association (NBA) standout Rick Fox. Fox, who has deep Bahamian roots (because of father Ulric), captivated children and adults alike when he was on hand for ceremonies that coincided with the beginning of the new school term. Arrangement for his presence was made by WECAN.

“It was dynamic and quite a spark in the community for Rick to be a part of the events,” said Wilchcombe.

The appearance of Fox was a pleasant development for the entire community, but WECAN furthered its networking by connecting with the Nebo’s Chapter No. 8. Worthy Matron Lorraine Williams represented the lodge and assisted in handing out school items to the young students of West End. Seatra Russell, a spokesperson for Nebo’s Chapter No. 8, emphasized the importance of “partnering with WECAN on behalf of the young boys and girls of West End.”

She said: “It’s all about providing that motivating factor for the students. We were pleased to be able to partner with WECAN by making available school supplies. We provided everything they would need, with the exception of backpacks.

“We intend to make this kind of a gesture every year and the intention is to expand what we do,” promised Russell.

Getting Fox and Nebo’s No. 8 into the mix is a demonstration of WECAN’s tremendous outreach efforts. In Fox, WECAN set a high standard. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1991 and remained there until 1997 when he joined the Los Angeles Lakers. Along with future NBA Hall of Fame teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and others, Fox won three consecutive NBA Championships (2000-2002). After his retirement, he concentrated on an acting career. Fox has appeared in several movies and is a mainstay in reality television. He will be a hard act to follow for WECAN.

One thing that is known to the West End community however, is WECAN knows how to deliver on its commitment to continue to enhance the area and its residents, through sports and otherwise.

(To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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