Thousands of children and youth will have the opportunity to be physically active through sport, thanks to the B.C. government’s historic investment in Sport BC.
“We know far too many young people missed out on game time due to COVID-19, and the health orders that were put in place to protect us over the past 18 months,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “I’m thrilled to see that children and youth are returning to the playing field to enjoy the physical and mental benefits sport has to offer. Our government believes strongly in creating winning conditions that reduce financial barriers and open doors so that children across British Columbia have the opportunity to thrive.”
Mark highlighted the work of KidSport BC at a BC Rugby event held to commemorate and raise awareness of KidSport BC Week that took place Sept. 13-18, 2021. This annual provincial recognition highlights the work of KidSport BC and coincides with the beginning of the school year when many kids’ sports teams kick off their season.
In spring 2019, the B.C. government invested $2.5 million to Sport BC to expand access to amateur and recreational sport programs for children through KidSport BC. From this investment to date, Sport BC has directed $1 million for BC Kidsport chapters to offset the financial impacts of COVID-19 and to ensure service levels remained consistent with previous years. In addition, Sport BC has supported 19 projects, totalling more than $300,000. These programs include:
- Hazleton Hockey Initiative – Grow The Game
- Golf BC – Youth Indigenous Golf Program
- BC Wheelchair Association – Bridging the Gap
- Tennis BC – Kids Team Tennis
- Volleyball BC – New Canadians in Volleyball
“Sport helps kids set and achieve goals, lead active lives and make new friends, factors that are especially important for kids who face disadvantages growing up,” said Rob Newman, president and CEO, Sport BC. “Through KidSport BC and the exciting programs and initiatives being offered by our members, we are focused on getting more kids off the sidelines and into the game. All kids deserve the chance to be involved in sport and experience its benefits. Sport BC welcomes this opportunity to partner with the Province to further enhance sport programming for under-represented children and youth.”
The work of KidSport BC is aimed at increasing participation by children who are often under-represented in sport, including children from lower-income families, Indigenous children, children and youth with disabilities, girls and newcomers to Canada.
- Established in 1993 by Sport BC, the KidSport BC program is a not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance for registration fees to kids 18 and younger who face financial barriers to sport participation.
- In 2019-20, KidSport chapters around B.C. distributed more than $3.25 million to help 10,755 kids in 150 communities.
- This included 39% of the sport programming for girls and 45% for Indigenous groups in 2020.
- Currently, the Province invests $400,000 annually in Sport BC to fund KidSport BC.
Learn more about KidSport BC: https://kidsportcanada.ca/british-columbia/
A backgrounder follows.