That’s where Kidsport comes in, the Canada-wide children’s charity that helps those with financial difficulties participate in community sport. Their motto? 'So all kids can play.'
“Everything we do is local and we strongly believe that what we do is important, we’re helping kids get enrolled in organized sports in Moose Jaw where they or their family might not be able to afford it,” said Moose Jaw Kidsport committee chair John Eberl. “So it’s important not just for kids and their family, it’s important for sporting organizations too.”
That’s a factor that sometimes might get missed – sports organizations in the city are always looking for new players to fill their rosters, and Kidsport has helped immensely in that regard over the years.
“Back when I was involved in Little League and coaching my son, we’d try to get players as much playing time as possible, so we’d have 10 or 11 players on the house teams,” Eberl explained. “Well, without Kidsport putting some of those kids in there, you’re going to have a lot fewer teams and a lot less opportunities. So it’s important in that sense too.”
Kidsport Moose Jaw annually has around 250 applicants and has the capacity to serve around 200. In 2018, the organization served 193 kids, spending $43,186 on registration fees to help them play their chosen game.
“With single parents, some of the new families who don’t have a cash flow situation going properly yet, if they can’t enrol their kids in soccer they’d just be sitting around on their phones or whatever if it wasn’t for Kidsport in a lot of cases,” Eberl said. “So this gives them a chance to be active, be with their friends and enjoy themselves.
“It can be a one-week swimming lesson for $60 or some of the soccer programs are as low as $99 for a 12-week program and that’s pretty reasonable where we’re happy to help as much as we can.”
As could be expected, sending that kind of money out into the community doesn’t come without plenty of fundraising. Kidsport Saskatchewan provides a substantial amount towards the local organization, with everything above and beyond coming from donations.
“We rely on the Kidsport Saskatchewan allocation, but we raise an equal amount locally through groups like the Kinsmen who have been on board for $5,000 every year for the past seven years. That’s huge for us,” Eberl said.
Helping matters is the fact the organization works with little overhead, with donations from local businesses and the occasional roll of stamps essentially their entire costs.
“We want the money to go into Kidsport and that’s the most important thing,” Eberl said.
Anyone looking for more information or to apply for support can check out http://www.kidsportcanada.ca/saskatchewan/moose-jaw/ for application for assistance and donation links as well as other info about the local organization.