KidSport Cares For Community Children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com

According to Boston-based WinterGreen Research, Canada’s youth sports economy – including travel, tournaments, equipment, coaching, sports medicine and smartphone apps – become an $8.7-billion industry in 2018.

The research company reported that Canadian families spend an average of $1,000 per child on youth sports each year – the most, per capita, of any country.

It’s no surprise that Statistics Canada reports that sports participation is most prevalent among children from high-income households at 68 per cent, versus just 44 per cent among kids from low-income families.

And according to Bill Smith, executive director of the London Sports Council (LSC), it is estimated that one in four local families cannot afford to involve their kids in sports.

Thankfully, there are groups like KidSport Canada who champion youth sports. The national not-for-profit group (est. 1993), through its grants and sport introduction programs, has helped more than 750,000 Canadian children aged 18 and under participate in sports on playgrounds, pitches, fields and diamonds from coast to coast.

The KidSport London chapter is one of 166 across Canada. It has adopted the national mission statement that “no kid should be left on the sidelines, and all should be given the opportunity to experience the positive benefits of organized sports.”

London Sports Council executive director Bill Smith

Smith said from 2015 through May 2019, KidSport London has assisted 1,075 kids through $236,000 in grants. He said 100-per-cent of the chapter’s fundraising efforts goes directly to families who, in many cases, cannot even afford to purchase new clothing.

“The majority of the applications we receive fit into one or two categories,” Smith explained. “They’re either single-parent families, or new Canadians. Quite often, they are immigrants who try to assimilate, and get their children into sports in the community. They’re struggling to establish themselves in their new country.”

Families in need can download the KidSport application form at the chapter website, http://www.kidsportcanada.ca/ontario/london/. Smith said the chapter will ask for a financial statement, in order to ensure that the families who need financial assistance are the ones who receive help.

KidSport believes that by assisting children in accessing athletics, they will become physically active, improve self-esteem and self-confidence, learn life-long skills, improve academic grades, make friends, share and celebrate their culture and in turn contribute to a strong, healthy community.

In this age of screens, it can be difficult to pitch sports as an alternative to the Internet. Even as early as 2003, Statistics Canada reported that 34 per cent of Canadian children said lack of time, and 30 per cent said lack of interest, saw them live a life without sports.

A recent study conducted by charitable foundation True Sport reported that 70 per cent of Canadian youth are leaving team sports by the time they enter high school, with many of those kids abandoning sports for good. Among the reasons is, they’re not having fun.

KidSport does its part in introducing sports to kids, and allowing them to experience the aforementioned benefits of sports participation. And like any not-for-profit group, KidSport competes with numerous local charities for the almighty dollar.

Last December, KidSport London launched its Champion an Athlete initiative which aims to secure 100 donations of $1,000 to secure a $100,000 fund for distributing its $250 per child grants.

A staple of KidSport London fundraising is the annual Jim Allen Memorial Golf Tournament, this year staged for June 19 at The Oaks Golf and Country Club in Delaware. Allen, who died in 2014, was London Sports Council’s executive director and a well-known teacher, coach, athlete and mentor.

It’s no exaggeration to state that tens of thousands of Londoners have learned life’s lessons through involvement in sports. And that’s what makes KidSport a pillar of our community.

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Jeffrey Reed has been a member of the London sports media since 1980, and is publisher/editor of LondonOntarioSports.com, and LondonOntarioGolf.com. Have a story idea for Jeffrey? Reach him at jeff@londonontariosports.com.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office http://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com.

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