By Colin Burrowes
Mason Ruthven is very comfortable in the Tiverton arena; it has become like a second home to him. He started playing with the Tiverton Thunder when he was three and his mother Anne Marie Ruthven volunteers at the arena. “My little brother, he’s eight, he took his very first steps in this arena,” he said. Mason, who has been tagging along to help for the past three or four years, he is now ten years old. He runs the clock during hockey games, works at the concession booth, fills out game sheets – whatever needs to be done, he’ll do. He also helps out at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine. One of the ways Mason said he volunteers in Tiverton is by keeping an eye on younger children who might get bored at the arena. He takes them to an area where a small hockey net and play area is set up. “You’re in a really good arena,” he said. “It’s full of love and stuff
like that. It might be small but there is a lot of good stuff in a small arena. It’s like a small heart but it’s filled with love.” “It’s become kind of typical,” said Anne Marie. “We spend a lot of time at the arena.” When Mason is not at the arena, he finds other ways to give back to the community. For the past three years, on Christmas Day, Mason and his mother have delivered festive meals to people in the community who still have to work. They deliver meals to the police station, paramedics, and nurses who still have to provide services for the community. “Some people in the ambulance station and the fire station don’t get to see their families and stuff like that,” he said. “It was Christmas and they didn’t even get to see their family.” Mason came up with the idea to deliver the meals himself. “We have lots of friends who are police officers and firefighters,” said Anne Marie. “Maybe that’s part of it.”
Mason keeps himself busy even when he is not volunteering. He already has a job delivering flyers door-to-door. “If he’s not playing hockey, he’s always doing something,” said Anne Marie. “Quite often if there is something happening at school, he’ll volunteer for it.” Currently Mason and Anne Marie are working on getting the name of the concession booth at the Tiverton arena changed to honour Debbie Simmons. “There was a girl, Debbie, who used to run the booth,” said Mason. “she was really good friends with my mother.” Anne Marie told Mason changing the sign and renaming the booth will cost money. He replied that he would donate the money he makes refereeing soccer. Around his tenth birthday, Anne Marie asked him if he’d like to referee soccer. “I was like, yes, I’d love to,” he said. “I have always wanted to teach people how to do stuff.” “I pitched in a little bit,” said Anne Marie.
“But he raised the majority of the money.” They were planning to do a formal presentation at the Wade Simmons hockey tournament in December, but found out that there is formality and administration issues that will have to be dealt with before it can be officially done. Mason said it has been more than just him and his family stepping up to fill in after Simmons passed away; it has been a community effort. When he gets older, he hopes to become a hockey referee. Right now, he’s taking a babysitting course. Mason attends Ms. Blackburn’s Grade 5 class at St. Anthony’s Catholic School. “I like it,” he said. “I really like my teacher. She’s really nice.” Spotlight on Youth appears monthly. If you know of a local youth you would like to see featured in this column, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.