210,000 New Sport Participants in B.C. A Legacy of the 2010 Winter Games

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Three sport grants from 2010 Legacies Now and the Province of British Columbia have funded the creation of new sport opportunities for people who are inspired by the 2010 Winter Games and want to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. The BC Sport Participation Program (BCSP Program), the Local Sport Program Development Fund (LSDF) and the Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund (AYSLF) have invested more than $4.2 million in grants to date and impacted more than 210,000 people across B.C.

These grants were directed to community clubs and organizations, provincial sport organizations, Aboriginal communities and municipalities that used the funds to make sport more accessible to people of all abilities throughout B.C. A sample of programs delivered by these organizations include:

  • The Steve Nash Youth Basketball Program coaching initiative from Basketball BC has trained people in 52 B.C. communities to coach youth aged 6-13 in basketball development. The emphasis is on creating a fun atmosphere that develops self-esteem, skills and a positive lifestyle. 
  • K'wak'walat'si Child and Family Services, together with the 'Namgis First Nation, created a community ball hockey league in Alert Bay by purchasing needed equipment and providing training for coaches and first aid volunteers. 
  • The Kamloops Long Blades Speed Skating Club is introducing at-risk youth from elementary schools to speed skating lessons in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops. 
  • The Queen Charlotte Islands Regional Recreation Commission is offering two coaching clinics for parents who want to provide sport leadership and training to local youth in basketball, volleyball, soccer and baseball. 
  • Arion Therapeutic Riding has introduced children with disabilities to therapeutic horseback riding, which is recognized as a recreational activity that improves posture, muscle tone, mobility, body awareness and core strength.
  • The BCSP Program is funded equally by Sport Canada and the Province of BC through 2010 Legacies Now and is now in its second three-year funding phase. Since inception in 2004, it has invested more than $4 million in B.C. sport organizations to extend their community reach and improve the quality of sport and recreation delivery. The program has captured more than 200,000 new sport participants in over 110 communities province-wide, creating new opportunities for children and youth, people with disabilities, seniors, Aboriginal youth, and girls and women.

    The LSDF was established in 2008 and invests new or expanding sport programs led by B.C. municipalities, community organizations and clubs and Aboriginal communities. It is funded by 2010 Legacies Now and the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport and provides grants of up to $2,000. So far, it has invested in 79 community sport projects.

    Created in 2002, AYSLF has two grants: one supports Aboriginal athletes, and the other supports community programs which encourage Aboriginal youth to participate in sport and physical activity. To date, 155 community grants of $1,000 have been distributed and the next application is spring 2010. AYSLF was created by the Province of BC, Squamish Nation, Lil'wat Nation and the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation and is administered by 2010 Legacies Now.

    "Joining organized sports provides many benefits: physical activity and healthy lifestyle, belonging to a club, life skills, sportsmanship skills and fun," said Trish Archibald, President of the Kamloops Long Blades Speed Skating Club and a LSDF recipient. "These funds will allow youth to participate in speed skating programs who otherwise would not be able to afford to participate."

    In addition to improved health, there are other benefits to joining sports: 96 per cent of adults believe that sport brings together people in a way that strengthens communities and 94 per cent of children felt sport helps them make friends in their community, said an NRG study (2007). Other studies have shown a link between regular physical activity and improved grades.

    Physical inactivity costs Canadians $1.6 billion and $3.7 billion annually in direct and indirect costs according to a True Sport report called What Sport Can Do: The True Sport Report (2008). Increasing sport participation is a cost-effective way to improve health and reduce health care costs.

    "We are achieving our goal to give people throughout B.C. a chance to play today and in the future," said Bruce Dewar, CEO of 2010 Legacies Now. "The outcome will be better health, creating a positive social network in communities, and many intangible and tangible benefits to society, such as lower health care costs."

    The investments in sport and healthy living made by 2010 Legacies Now since 2004 will impact the next generation of youth in B.C. and help others discover the benefits of healthy living.