The Province of British Columbia's After School Sport
Initiative provides children who typically face barriers with opportunities to have
fun, learn and play sport.
The initiative provides funding to programs in
selected schools during the 3 - 6 p.m. time period - a critical time when
kids are often unsupervised and physically inactive.
The initiative, tailored to communities' unique needs and
resources, is funded through the 2010 Sports and Arts Legacy and delivered through
a variety of partnerships in selected schools in Haida Gwaii, Prince George,
Surrey, Victoria and Vancouver. In the next two years, it will be expanded to
up to 12 more communities. An arts and culture component will be added.
Through sport, children learn how to be healthier,
develop valuable physical and social skills, and make friends.
“Through the After School Initiative, we can help
students, who might be prevented from participating because of barriers such as
transportation costs or fees, play and become passionate about sport,"
said Ida Chong, minister of community, sport and cultural development.
The Province recently hosted a community forum for After
School Sports programmers so they could share their successes and lessons
learned with others involved in this initiative.
"It's just great to see the children's excitement
and see them racing to the gym," says Andie Pask, physical literacy
coordinator with the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence. "It's amazing
to see their confidence blossom."
It's definitely filling a service gap.
"Without this funding, we would not be able to be
offering the after-school opportunities four days a week for our kids,"
says Lori Burley, who is the principal at Tillicum Elementary school. Through this
funding, her school services more than one hundred children after school.
The programming differs from place to place, custom-made
to the students' needs.
"We tailor our program to address the unique needs
of the children mainly by listening to them rather than pre-designing a program
and implementing it whole scale," explains Lucy Neville, supervisor of the
After School Sport initiative in Haida Gwaii. "We ask for their feedback
as we're actually creating and developing the programming."
"We want every kid in B.C. to have positive self-esteem,
a supportive network of friends and a safe place to develop their physical
skills," says Minister Chong. "Sport helps them accomplish that.”
“Participation in sport and physical activity is valued and embraced as a way of life in British Columbia, sustained by a province-wide, balanced commitment to healthy, active lifestyles and the ethical pursuit of excellence.” -- BC's Policy on Sport and Physical Activity