That journey has been made easier by the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, a not-for-profit organization created in 2001 as a legacy to the three-time world curling champion and Olympic gold medalist.
For the second year in a row, the 21-year-old Stephenville native has been named one of the six Spirit of Sandra Scholars. It marks the fifth year that the Sandra Schmirler Foundation has awarded these scholarships to junior curlers pursuing competitive curling dreams while forging ahead with their post-secondary education.
“When I was awarded it last year it was just unbelievable, but to get it two years in a row I honestly couldn’t believe it when I got the call from Cathy (Overton-Clapham) this year,” Barron said. “I’m very honoured and I was honestly speechless when I found out.”
The money will come in handy as half of it will be used to offset curling expenses like equipment and travel to major events and the other portion will go towards tuition and books.
As one of the scholars, Barron is responsible for organizing a fundraising venture in his community with one half of the money going to the foundation and the rest going to Curling Canada.
Last year, he raised just over $15,000 when he held a crowd sweep fundraiser at the 2017 Brier held in St. John’s. This year he’s planning to hold a funspiel and silent auction at a St. John’s curling rink but hasn’t made any plans just yet.
At the end of the year, the six scholars will have an opportunity to award a $10,000 grant to a hospital of their choice to purchase life-saving equipment for the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. They will be given a few options for them to choose from when it comes to who will be the recipient of this year’s grant.
While he’s happy to be able to do his part to help with raising money for the foundation, Barron is also excited about going to Winnipeg next month for a curling camp hosted by five-time national women’s champion Cathy Overton-Clapham and Saskatchewan’s two-time Brier champion Pat Simmons of Moose Jaw.
Barron’s goal for this season is to punch his ticket to the national junior men’s curling championship with Newfoundland and Labrador’s defending junior champion Greg Blyde of St. John’s with fellow Stephenville curler Craig Laing also on board for the journey.