IMG_9446Since July 2013, close to 5,000 young people across Canada have been given a sporting chance thanks to “Canadian Tire Jumpstart Get in the Game!”, a pilot program launched by Jumpstart and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada that aims to remove the financial barriers keeping many kids from participating in organized sports and physical activities. From November 2014 to April 2015, our Club kids at Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area had the opportunity to get outside and zip down hill on skis thanks to this fantastic program and a partnership with Sport Chek and Snow Valley.

Ninety children and youth from our ten Clubs across Edmonton bundled up and hit the Snow Valley slopes to learn the art of skiing and snowboarding.  Since many of our youth are newcomers to Canada, they’ve never experienced skiing. For other kids, this was an awesome opportunity for them to hone their skills. Either way, a sport like skiing or snowboarding is often financially outside the reach of our families.

One boy in particular started the day on the slopes with a mix of nervousness and excitement. After he joined in with his group to get snowboarding lessons, he quickly got frustrated. But thanks to the amazing instructors and volunteers at the event, they were able to pair him up with a volunteer to work with him one on one for the entire activity.

IMG_9449Relationships are a critical part of mentoring and this was a huge relationship building opportunity for the volunteer and child. Normally, this kiddo is super energetic in the Club and it’s rare for staff or volunteers to hold his attention for long.

By the end of the day, this young boy had the confidence to go up the small lift by himself and snowboard down with a volunteer without holding onto to anyone. Each time he fell down he just got right back up and continued on. His excitement had come back full force and it wasn’t long until he was teasing the staff and volunteers as he raced down the hill ahead of them!

For another young boy, this opportunity “jump-started” a love of skiing. Our staff worked with him and his family to apply  to Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program for additional funds so he could take ongoing skiing lessons! Because of this, his parents surprised him with mittens and goggles for skiing! Our Club staff told us that he’s become so passionate about the sport that his dream is to pursue is as a competitive athlete.

1We are so grateful to Canadian Tire Jumpstart Get In the Game, Sport Chek, and Snow Valley for making this possible for our kids. We simply couldn’t provide the same quality of programs and access to caring adults without support from caring companies and individuals! Thank you!

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