By Justin Seward
Kidsport Medicine Hat/Redcliff has been a longstanding organization in the local area and helps kids 18 and under with their registration costs of $300 per year in the sport of their choice.
KidSport provides grants to kids in families facing financial barriers and allows them to participate in registered sports programs and experience the benefits of a full season of sports.
“In 2021, we did support 163 kids in the Medicine Hat and Redcliff area and with that we had over 167 applications. In total for the year, we provided $44,376.58 in grants to help cover the financial costs of sports and sports registration fees,” said Hannah Minor, Kidsport Medicine Hat/Redcliff board member.
Minor says 10 to 15 per cent of the applications came from Redcliff.
“I think it’s important just because all kids deserve to play and you shouldn’t have to live in a larger community just to have that assistance to cover sports registrations cost and it’s very important that Redcliff is represented,” said Minor.
Minor said the number of applications and figures given out were higher in 2021 compared to 2020, but still below pre-pandemic levels.
“I think for next year, we’re really just trying to focus on supporting as many kids as we can as we get back to (sports) and we get back to a normal season of (sports) as well,” said Minor.
Minor says the pandemic has been a unique situation for Kidsport Medicine Hat/Redcliff because sports seasons were either cancelled or postponed.
“We did see a decrease in the number of applications we received,” said Minor.
“But we still received over 167 applications in 2021. So there’s still obviously a need for these sports registration fees to be covered … We want to help as many kids as we can and so as those numbers start to increase, kids (getting) back to (sports), we are happier than ever to help kids get off the sidelines.”
To meet the criteria, the sport has to be six weeks in duration and has to be taught by a qualified instructor.
Sports can include archery, badminton, basketball, bobsled, body building, kickboxing, dance, Special Olympics, adaptive sports and school sports to name a few.
“The technical answer is it has to be a sustained sports experience,” she said.
Kidsport uses the StatsCanada annual low income cut off for eligibility.
The local Kidsport chapter started in 1992 and since then have granted over $830,000 and supported over4,300 kids.
All of the funds raised will stay in the local area.