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Assiniboia’s Better Together program inspires with new designs

T-shirt designs depicted a number of aspects that are considered to be ‘better when together’.
Archive Photo: A Better Together barbecue was held at the Swimming Pool Concession, hosted by Town of Assiniboia. From left are Tina Dijkstra; MLA David Marit; Stephanie VanDeSype, Recreation and Community Wellness Coordinator; and Mayor Sharon Schauenberg.

ASSINIBOIA -  Started in 2021 to reinforce the importance of unification and that a community really functions better when everyone works together, the Better Together initiative began.

Two new designs were unveiled for 2024 and the first option got people excited as it was another option for Father’s Day gifts and ball enthusiasts. The 2024 designs are an ode to local organizations. 

The shirt emblazoned with a baseball, softball and sunflower seeds depicts the great love of ball in Assiniboia, right from the beginners through to senior men’s baseball and slo-pitch, as Assiniboia boasts over 300 ball players registered.

“This is a great way to be better together, enjoying a baseball game, visiting, connecting, and of course enjoying some sunflower seeds,” said Better Together program organizers.

The second design, released on May 20, includes popcorn, butter and salt.  VanDeSype said this is an ode to Olympia Theatre, located in the community’s Prince of Wales Complex.  The facility holds 150 people and offers great entertainment for all ages and moviegoers will attest there is nothing better together than watching a movie while enjoying popcorn, loaded with butter and salt.

Steph VanDeSype, Recreation and Community Wellness Manager for Assiniboia, says, “We initially purchased shirts from Better Together Canada in North Battleford and had a mission to provide a shirt to every student, when we started. In a short amount of time, we had multiple businesses and individuals donate and we were able to purchase more than 1,500 shirts! We pulled together as a community, and found a way to find conversation and connection during a very lonely time.”

T-shirt designs depicted a number of aspects that are considered to be ‘better when together’ like bacon and eggs, milk and cookies, salt and pepper, to name a few.

VanDeSype added, “The purpose is to wear the shirts every Tuesday, and if you see someone else wearing a better together shirt, to strike up a conversation. It has been incredible to walk around Assiniboia on a Tuesday and see all of the different better together shirts, and in our fourth year to still see so much support for this growing program.”

While Assiniboia has adapted the concept of the program, they have also customized it for their community. Organizers say the initiative has been fundamental in getting community members back out after COVID restrictions, and also reminding residents that the community overall is better together.

VanDeSype says they have sourced local businesses for their Assiniboia Better Together style clothing to keep the program truly local.

Another part of the initiative includes barbecues at the aquatic centre concession every Tuesday starting in July and running for the summer.

“Local businesses sponsor a Tuesday barbecue and provide volunteer workers to serve lunch. We enjoy the interaction with our sponsors and also the residents who come to have lunch with us. A $5 lunch is available for purchase and is an inexpensive way to enjoy a meal with friends and neighbours while making new connections and enjoy the summer sunshine.”

Better Together barbecues monies raised goes back into supporting recreation and wellness programs such as movies in the park nights, Canada Day festivities, pickleball and a fiesta party at the pool, as well as other options.

“Our adaptation has become a summer time favourite with our residents and we are truly proud of how it’s evolved.”

All of the shirts including the previous years designs, coffee and donuts, campfire and smores, pie and ice cream and more will be available to purchase at the pool concession beginning June 8 for only $25 a shirt, available in a large variety of sizes from baby to 3XL.

In the spirit of which the Better Together campaign was initiated, eight business and organization sponsor the program’s Tuesday lunches, proving that Assiniboia truly is better together.

Residents can follow updates on the Town of Assiniboia website and the Town’s and Town Recreation’s Facebook pages.