By Erika Mathieu
Eligible Alberta families are now able to apply for grants through KidSport Alberta, for up to $350 per child in grants to help offset registration for sports and recreation programming.
Minister of Tourism and Sport, and MLA for Cardston-Siksika, Joseph Schow announced on July 18 that the application period for the “Every Kid Can Play” (EKCP) initiative is officially open.
As part of the EKCP program which was announced in April 2023, eligible Albertan families can apply for up to $350 in support to help offset registration fees for sports programming. A $3 million commitment from the Province will be directed to and administered by KidSport Alberta and provide direct financial supports to Albertan families.
To overcome financial limitations, the EKCP program aims to improve affordability and access to sport, physical activity, and recreation (SPAR) programs for children across Alberta.
Schow said during the July 18 announcement, “sport and physical activity and recreation are (an) important part of every kid’s life. They teach teamwork, develop confidence and promote healthy lifestyles that can last, as well, into adulthood,” and said the goal of the funding is to, “keep sports and recreation activities affordable for families.
Schow said the EKCP program will “make it easier for parents to get kids involved in sports and recreation, and empower organizations to provide quality and affordable sports programming for kids and teams.”
“Thousands of kids and teens will be able to make sports and physical activity a regular part of their lives because of this program.”
During the July 18 announcement, Alberta’s Minister of Children and Family Services, Searle Turton, noted the program will make, “a meaningful difference on children, youth, and families,” and help create a critical access point for many families who are unable to afford the registration fees of SPAR programming.
He said the impact of the program will have positive influence on young people’s mental and physical well-being and provide a greater social value for families across Alberta, “who want to feel more connected to their communities.”
“I know how important this initiative is to vulnerable kids who may not have access to community programs, and families who are dealing with inflation and financial barriers that continue to make it more difficult to cover the cost of organized sports for their kids,” he said, and added he is looking forward to the initiative’s overall impact in supporting community organizations as more opportunities emerge for youth.
Executive Director of KidSport Alberta, Kelly Oehlerking called the funding commitment from the Provincial Government a, “significant milestone,” for the organization’s mission to lessen barriers of access for children in the realm of sport and recreation and will make a “tangible” difference in the lives of many Albertan families.
“We believe that every child should have the chance to experience the transformative power of sports and the lifelong benefits that come with it,” added Oehlerking.
Along with the $3 million in grants to be administered through KidSport Alberta, the Province has committed an additional $3 million for grants to provincial scope non-profit organizations, and $2 million for grants to community-level non-profit organizations. Schow announced that these grant applications have officially opened for local and provincial non-profit organizations providing sport and recreation programs for their communities.
The EKCP grant program will provide grants of up to $100,000 per year for up to two years for selected eligible non-profit organizations with a provincial scope, and up to $25,000 for one year for eligible community-level non-profit organizations. The EKCP funding is expected to bring financial support to over 8,500 young people and up to 200 child and youth-focused community-level programs throughout Alberta.
Applications for grants for families are currently open and can be accessed through KidSport, at https://kidsportcanada.ca/. Applications for community and provincial non-profit organizations are also open and will be made available to select eligible organizations delivering existing SPAR programs either at a community level or provincially at https://albertasport.smapply.ca/.