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SportWORKS Program To Work with YMCA Hamilton On New Pilot Initiative 

August 22, 2020 – OTTAWA – A key part of Commonwealth Sport Canada’s (CSC) Mission is to “enhance the lives of youth across the Commonwealth”. CSC is proud to have been one of the world’s pioneers of international sport for development for over a quarter-century, leading over 125 local sport projects impacting more than two million youth in over 30 nations and territories. 

In celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the first Commonwealth Games, the 1930 British Empire Games held in Hamilton, Ontario, Commonwealth Sport Canada is proud to announce the continuation of its development through sport program SportWORKS via the “Sport for Newcomers Initiative”. Designed to reduce or eliminate select barriers to newcomer youth sport participation and enhance the capacity of Newcomer Support Service Organizations (NSSOs) in Canada, this new pilot project will be delivered in partnership with the YMCA Hamilton Burlington Brantford (HBB).  

“A key component of feeling Canadian is by playing and watching sports together. This is especially true for newcomer youth. This partnership will give the newcomer youth of Hamilton an opportunity to not only improve their skills and knowledge of sport but increase their social networks. I’m excited to embark on such a positive initiative that will have tremendous impact on our youth”, said Lily Lumsden, Senior Regional Manager, YMCA HBB Employment & Immigrant Services. 

This project will align with the overarching goals and the intended target audiences of CSC’s Sport for Newcomers Initiative across Canada. Specific activities included in the Hamilton project will be needs-based and identified by the YMCA in conjunction with participating newcomer youth. Activities will generally include creating more sport opportunities for newcomer youth, staff development on delivering successful sport programs and developing partnerships with other local sport organizations.   

“We are proud of the success of our first two “Sport for Newcomers” pilot projects held last year in Edmonton and Toronto,” said Richard Powers, CSC President. “We are thrilled that the world leading development through sport model we have used successfully for a quarter-century is being applied in Canada and believe in the power of sport and its ability to transform lives. We look forward to working with the YMCA HBB on this latest pilot, and are confident that newcomer youth will benefit from the social and health impacts of participating in sport.” 

A short video about CSC’s Sport For Newcomers Initiative can be found here

The Hamilton pilot project will be led by a CSC SportWORKS Officer (SO) who will volunteer full-time with the YMCA for eight months to increase opportunities and accessibility to sport programs for newcomer youth, especially girls. The SO will develop and execute a sport program that recognizes the unique cultural needs of newcomer youth while reducing/eliminating barriers by providing skill-appropriate sport participation and learning opportunities. Furthermore, a formalized referral process for newcomer youth to access existing local sport opportunities and capacity building via the development of a variety of new “train the trainer” programs and communication resources for use by NSO staff will be delivered. 

The host organization of this pilot project, the YMCA HBB is integral to the sport history of its city. In 1889, its building at James and Jackson streets made history as the first building on the continent built specifically for YMCA work. And as the Commonwealth celebrates the 90th anniversary of the first Games held in Hamilton in 1930, it is interesting that the first medal of those 1930 Games was won by a YMCA member, George “Spike” Smallacombe, who was based out of the West End YMCA and won gold for a 48.5 foot leap in triple jump. 

Safety of participants in any CSC project continues to be a top priority and as such, there will be Covid protocols incorporated when the pilot begins in Hamilton, based on the most current Return to Sport and Government and Health Authority information. 

For more information: 

Commonwealth Sport Canada
Ryan Pelley
SportWORKS Program Manager
613.244.6868 x228
ryan.pelley@commonwealthgames.ca

ABOUT SPORTWORKS 

The Sport for Newcomers Initiative is part of CSC’s SportWORKS Program, which sends Canadian sport leaders to host organizations in Canada and throughout the Commonwealth to deliver sustainable sport programs and build sport system capacity. SportWORKS prides itself on “Making a Difference and Becoming Different.” The Sport for Newcomers Initiative aims to not only assist the host organizations and newcomer youth, but also to make a difference in the lives and careers of SportWORKS Officers. 

ABOUT COMMONWEALTH SPORT CANADA 

Commonwealth Sport Canada (CSC) is the franchise holder for the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth sport movement in Canada. CSC supports Canada’s athletes to achieve excellence at Olympic and Paralympic Games and world championships, enriches the lives of youth across the Commonwealth and hosts the Commonwealth Games. For additional information go to: www.commonwealthsport.ca