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VICTORIA, BC – KidSport Greater Victoria is proudly recognizing KidSport Week along with KidSport chapters from Coast to Coast. Across the country, 166 local KidSport chapters are celebrating in a variety of ways, with an aim to raise awareness among those who can benefit from, and those who can support, KidSport’s work.

Why KidSport? KidSport is driven by the conviction that the power of organized sport enables kids and communities to come together and thrive. Never has a sense of connection, a need for positive, healthy and social outlets, or the sense of normalcy sport can offer been more important. Across Canada, KidSport chapters are hard at work raising funds to ensure kids and youth within our communities are not left on the sidelines due to financial need.

KidSport Greater Victoria is the largest KidSport chapter in British Columbia. Locally, the chapter has now reached over 13,300 kids in need with access to organized sport, with season-of-sport registration fees amounting to over $3,166,000.

An early 2021 survey sent to Victoria-area KidSport-funded families and Local Sport Organizations demonstrated the pressure and challenges faced by both individuals and our sport system. Parents point to a substantial decrease in physical activity, an increase in screen time, and an accompanying increase in anxiety and stress among their children since the onset of the pandemic. At the same time, local sport organizations report substantial losses in registration revenue, participation rates, and an urgent need for relief funding to ensure ongoing operations. For many reasons, our community is keen to see an ongoing return to “regular” sport as soon as it is safe. While 94% of parents indicated that participation in sport is either “very” or “extremely” important to their children, just 52% of kids who regularly participate were able to do so through 2020.

Jill Shaw, Executive Director of KidSport Greater Victoria, shares “the impact of the pandemic on our community, and beyond, has been profound. We know families are facing greater financial challenges than ever, and that getting kids safely back to sport offers much needed physical, social and mental health benefits to children and their families. KidSport Greater Victoria is committed to doing all we can to support children and our community with return-to-sport plans. We continue to dedicate our efforts to ensuring all kids have opportunity to play, and we are actively working to remove financial and other barriers that threaten to keep children and youth sidelined.”

In response to survey results, KidSport Greater Victoria has recently invested in three innovations to support the community:

• a fund to support all local schools with equipment, to provide more physical activity opportunities within the school environment.

• a program to fund local sport organizations directly to enable ongoing operations so kids will have places to play post-pandemic.

• in recognition that many families who rely on KidSport funds to support their kids’ participation in sport are among of the hardest hit through the pandemic, an increase in the amount of funds available annually to each individual child.

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For the infographic summarizing pandemic impact on local kids, families and sport organizations, please click here.