A volunteer-led BMX club for kids in Penticton was disgusted and disappointed to discover vandals had spray painted vulgar graffiti on their track hut last weekend.
Penticton BMX Club is a non-profit organization that operates a track off Munson Mountain Road, providing an opportunity to local kids of all ages to experience the sport and learn biking skills. They operate spring through fall, weather permitting, so their location is quiet this time of year.
On Friday, Jan. 27, Vanessa Gonzalez with the club said they were notified that their shed had been graffitied.
When they arrived at the Munson Mountain Road location, they found disturbing and graphic imagery, racist and hateful phrases and foul language sprayed across the shed, including references to the KKK and white power.
"So it was a little more than just tagging," Gonzalez said, adding it was very upsetting to see, especially given the inclusive mission of their group.
"We have families, we're a nonprofit organization that supports families and teachers ... kids from as young as they can get their legs around the bike. As young as two that can go around the track and then our oldest rider is 17 years old."
Kids then compete in races throughout the season, which will kick off in March.
In addition to the graffiti, parts of the club's shed were damaged.
As a volunteer-based operation, that means a lot of work to get it all back to operational shape. Luckily, they have had support.
Cleanup will start this weekend, and a contractor/painter has taken a look at the site and will be volunteering some of their time as well as supplies to give the group a head start.
While the incident was disturbing and the messages left on the shed were angry and hateful, Gonzalez said this kind of act only makes the community stronger.
"Today, hate wears many faces. Our BMX community is very tightly chained together and strong, and we will always continue to bring sports support to the youth in our community," Gonzalez said.
"And people rise up against this and time again when something like this happens. It just brings people together in greater numbers with stronger voices."
Anyone interested in the Penticton BMX Club, whether to offer a helping hand or to get their kid involved, can find out more and reach out online here or on Facebook here.