Weyburn’s KidSport committee is continuing to be active in the city, helping out many area families with the costs of registration for children to be involved with organized sports.
The Weyburn Rotary Club heard a presentation from committee chair Brenda Croft about their ongoing work on Thursday, as she shared how many families they have helped and how they raise their funds.
KidSport is a national organization that assists families with the costs of registering for sports, for children aged five up to 18 years, and in Weyburn they have been going since 1996 when it was set up by Leslie Walliser. The organization began at the national level in 1993.
Applications for funding go through a confidential process as the committee considers what team or sport the assistance would be going towards. Most organized sports are covered, except for dance, and high-performance teams are not eligible for funding.
“KidSport believes that no kid should be left on the sidelines,” said Croft. “There are many benefits to playing sports. We provide opportunities to play organized sports, which improves self-esteem and self-confidence. They make new friends and contribute to a stronger healthy community.”
She noted that Saskatchewan has the most KidSport chapters in Canada, with around 50 throughout the province, followed by Alberta, with SaskSport as the organization that delivers the program in this province.
Some funding comes through Sask Lotteries, but a lot of the funding in each community is done locally, and through donations. Other sponsors of KidSport include SaskTel, Great West Life, Ritchie Bros. Auctions, SaskEnergy, and the SJHL junior A hockey league.
Each of the teams holds a fundraising night, including the Red Wings, where on a particular game night, the local KidSport committee receives $40 for every goal scored by the home team. Throughout the season, they also get $20 a goal, up to a maximum of $1,000.
Locally, in Weyburn, some of the sponsors have included the Rotary Club, the Richardson Pioneer Gold Wings, 306 Creamery, and recently, a Junior Achievement class taught by teacher Margot Arnold at the Weyburn Comp.
They have also been providing intermission water and snacks at the Weyburn Concert Series, and as it happened, that evening KidSport was at the first Concert Series event of the season at the Cugnet Centre.
“One hundred per cent of all the money that is generated for the Weyburn area stays in Weyburn, and is paid to help kids in the Weyburn area,” said Croft.
“There are strict guidelines that we need to follow, and they do watch. We have to send in reports about who we’re paying registrations for,” said Croft.
Giving the amounts they have paid for registrations in the last number of years, Croft noted the amounts have increased in recent years, in part because registration fees are high for some sports, in particular minor hockey.
In 2013, they assisted 52 children for a total cost of $7,000; in 2014, they helped 55 children, with the costs jumping to $17,000; in 2015, they helped 78 children for a cost of $18,000; in 2016 they helped 54 children at a cost of $15,000, and last year they helped 72 children at a cost of $22,300.
The committee will pay out a maximum of $750 per child for eligible sports, she noted.
There was one year, in 2013, when they ran out of money, but after making a plea to the public, including through the Weyburn Review, they were able to raise enough funds.
“We have to step up to the plate more and do more fundraising,” said Croft.
Club member Mal Barber noted that before KidSport came along, businessman Jim Rose used to do much the same sort of thing, as he helped many children be able to play sports.
“It changes their lives in so many ways. It gets children away from things they shouldn’t be doing,” said Croft.