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    Categories: Entertainment

KidSport makes lap around the calendar

Students at St. Albert Catholic High School held a round robin hockey tournament on Thursday and Friday. The event served as a fundraiser and rally call for the local chapter of KidSport that just marked its first anniversary in the city.

It’s been an overwhelmingly positive year and KidSport is now gearing up for its long game.

The local chapter of the nationwide organization just celebrated its first anniversary after a stretch of tough times getting things off the ground. Organizer Klayton Deputan said that the group is taking the opportunity to remind the community about how it serves the greater need by making it easier for youth to get into sports.

“It’s working really well,” he said, noting that more than 80 kids benefited by receiving approximately $18,800 in financial aid.

“We’ve got some good partnerships in the community and we’re certainly creating some awareness. There’s some people contacting us saying, ‘we’d like to support your organization.’ ”

Those people he was talking are notable too. The St. Albert chapter of the Canadian Progress Club hosted its recent pond hockey tournament earlier this month with some proceeds going to support KidSport. Three youths named Ben, Luke and Connor held a triple birthday party and accepted $830 in KidSport donations instead of presents.

St. Albert Catholic High School also held a round robin hockey tournament earlier this week, and it also served as a fundraiser for the cause.

“Hopefully, it’ll be cold enough and the ice is still good,” Deputan said, a few days before the tournament started. It was approximately -30 C with the windchill on Thursday morning as the players took to the ice.

The Tyler Bunz Slo-Pitch Tournament will also return to local diamonds in the summer in support.

But KidSport doesn’t necessarily want to slow down. It’s kind of a double-edged sword, he suggested, because there are still many children out there who could play sports with the organization’s help. It’s all a matter of maximizing the benefits and balancing out the costs.

“We want to increase the numbers. You want to increase if you can but at the same time you don’t want to go too crazy. Hopefully, not everybody needs your help.”

The key, he continued, is to create the awareness in order to make sure that people do know about KidSport and what it does for the community.

“You don’t want to break the bank after the first year. We’re saying 20 per cent growth. Maybe that’s a lofty goal but ultimately, with the awareness campaign that we’ve got out there, obviously we’re going to be able to help more kids.”

The Canada-wide organization offers to help children to get active in sports programs by providing financial assistance. Families can apply for grants to help offset registration fees, equipment, sport camps and other costs. Nationwide, it has helped more than 450,000 kids to get involved in sports since 1993.

People can apply online to the organization for assistance. KidSport St. Albert allows for financial aid up to $300 per child per year. In comparison, the chapter in Edmonton funds only $250 per child per year, he stated, but they have a wider client base and a stronger base of support as well since it’s more established and serves a larger city.

People can visit www.kidsportcanada.ca/alberta/st-albert for more information. You can apply for assistance or make a donation through features on the page.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.