Grassroots Rugby

August 06 2020

BC Grassroots Rugby Foundation

BC Grassroots Rugby Foundation Set to Make a Difference Using FIT Touch Rugby Program: 10 Staff Being Trained to Implement Program

There's a new rugby program on Vancouver Island that looks to "build community through rugby and help build resilience in youth". It's called BC Grassroots Rugby Foundation and is spearheaded by former Canada player Clay Panga. Part of their inspiration is the TIRF (Toronto Inner City Rugby Foundation), their motto is "Building Community Through Rugby and Rugby Through Community".

The BCGRF motto is "Our Team is Your Team. Today's Youth Tomorrow's Future".

They'll use Touch Rugby as their way of introducing youth to rugby. They've formed a connection with FIT, the Federation of International Touch, and are working with their Canadian representative Touch Canada. They're already putting their 10 paid staff, 4 full-time, 6 part-time, through the refereeing module of FIT Touch.

Their Board of Directors reads as a who's who of Island Rugby, Mike Holmes, David Robertson, Gary Dukelow, Shane Thompson, Tony La Carte and others.

Their staff are a combination of well known rugby players and up and coming players working their way through university. Randal Barton, brother of the Seattle Seawolves George Barton, is one of the well known names. Aaron Hersant is another name well known to the Island rugby community. UVic players like Madison Jumeau and Tayler Bailey are examples of up and coming players given a chance to grow their coaching and mentoring skills.

They've already set up a presence on the major social platforms, links are appended at the end of the article, and they have their website online.

Phase One is training their staff, the next phase is talking to local clubs to see how they can work together to grow rugby in their areas, and then finally to roll out youth programs focusing on FIT Touch Rugby. The more youth able to get their hands on the oval ball will eventually benefit clubs when a portion decide to move onto contact rugby at the club level. The initial 10 staff are stationed to cover an area between Nanaimo and Sooke.

We wish the program all the best and we'll cover their progress in future articles. You can find social media quotes, profiles and links below. For more information contact Clay Panga at


Clay Panga:

Today @BcGrassroots had its first day of training with our 10 Development Officers for Vancouver Island. Excited to get our workforce out there when the time permits. Working our way through the refereeing module of FIT Touch. With the objective to assist clubs in delivery.

Randal Barton:

Very excited to be a part of @BcGrassroots! An amazing opportunity and vehicle to grow rugby! Check us out on Instagram and Facebook as well.

Our Team is Your Team.
Today's Youth Tomorrow's Future.

Madison Jumeau (from facebook)

MJ is 18 years old and is currently studying at UVIC, majoring in Psychology. She has played rugby for 5 years now and has played for the following teams: Cowichan Piggies, BC, RCDA, UVIC, and Team Canada. When she is not on the field you can find her hanging out with friends, travelling and roller skating!

Tayler Bailey (from facebook)

Tayler is a varsity athlete on the UVIC women's rugby team. She is currently headed into her third year with hopes of entering the social work program in September 2021. Tayler has been playing rugby for five years and in that time has represented Abbotsford Rugby Club, Westshore Rugby Club, Fraser Valley, BC and the University of Victoria.

Luke Bentvelzen (from facebook)

Originally from North Queensland, Australia, Luke has been involved in rugby for close to 20 years, as a player, referee and coach. He moved to BC in 2016 and became involved with the Nanaimo Hornets!


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