The warmer weather predicted for the weekend has many preparing for summer sports. Nathan Peto, who many will know from his work as the City Manager in Portage, started a rugby program in the city with the Wolves Junior Rugby Program. He explains what brought that about.

"It started with seeing some junior programs in Westman out of Brandon, where I formerly lived, and also seeing programs spring up in Winnipeg and smaller communities than Portage. I saw that and I thought, 'You know what? I want to give it a shot to bring rugby to Portage and give kids a shot to try a new sport.' Something new, to expand their knowledge of athletics, but also bring in a really fun option for kids to get into recreation and build a really good team spirit."

Peto had several kids speak on their experiences with the program so far. Three siblings, Charlotte, Fergus, and Harrison Semchuk along with Ivy Arendse have all been with the club for three years, and spoke quite highly of getting involved in the sport.

Charlotte notes, "My favourite part is the tackling. I love tackling because I grew up playing contact sports, and I like wrestling and tackling."

Fergus had a similar line of thought, but came from a different angle.

"I like rugby because it's a gentleman's sport and when you tackle them, you're not trying to crush them into the ground, you're being sure you don't hurt them, and making sure that they are safe."

Harrison, Fergus's twin, had a different idea of his favourite part of the sport.

"I like rugby because it's a sport that brings kids together, and I've made a lot of friends there."

Ivy Arendse loves rugby and said that she says inclusion is a strong point of the game.

"You have to include all your teammates, and you have to pass to each other to get tries and win the game. And you have to include everybody."

Peto says the season begins in May and, as youth sports go, it's a pretty condensed but relaxed schedule.

"We will start practicing into May. That's usually when we have access to the field, due to weather conditions. We practice every Thursday night at Republic Park here in Portage from 6-7 p.m. All the age groups practice at once, so if you're six or fourteen, you're there practicing at the same time. That's really beneficial for parents that have kids in different age groups, that you're there at the same time." Peto continued, "It's a pretty quick season, six or seven weeks, lots of activity, but the time commitment, as sports go, is pretty minimal. One hour a week practicing and a couple of hours on Saturday or Sunday playing in a jamboree. The goal is to make it accessible to everbody and also, it's a pretty affordable sport as well."

Registration is open for the program, and you can sign your kids up using the link on their Facebook page. For other inquiries, send an email to