Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities hosted its first Jumpstart Games in Prince Edward Island. The charity helps youth whose families face financial difficulties in getting their children involved in sport.
“We want to get the kids in the game,” said Canadian Tire dealer Cameron Beach. “We don't want the financial barriers to inhibit kids from getting out and getting active.”
Go!PEI, Recreation P.E.I. and Boys and Girls Clubs in Wellington, Summerside, Charlottetown and Montague identified the youth, who participated in six stations including floor hockey, basketball, curling and parachute activities at and near Simmons Sports Centre.
“For me, it’s like being back in camp,” Beach said. “The kids are out here having a good time. That's all it’s about – getting active.”
Brett Gallant, a Brier and world curling champion, attended the event and shared a bit of his experience with the youth.
“Sports allowed me to travel all across Canada, all across the world,” he said. “I have met a ton of new friends through sport, got to work with great teammates and have a lot of fun.”
The Charlottetown native said it was fun watching the kids play various sports outside Colonel Gray High School and Queen Elizabeth Intermediate School, two schools he attended.
“I played a lot out on these grounds,” he said.
While he has excelled at curling, Gallant also played golf, baseball and soccer growing up.
“(When) I can share my experiences with the future athletes that are going to represent this province and country, it’s kind of a thrill for me,” he said. “We still have a ton of kids that want to be active and want to participate and we just don't want any of them to be left on the sidelines.”
The event helps kids build skills in sports while also building teamwork skills and giving them an opportunity to interact with their peers.
“Who knows where our next Brett Gallant is coming from,” Beach said. “Is that he or she here today?”
He said there are programs out there to assist families in need. With registration and equipment costs, on top of back-to-school expenses, it can be a tough time of the year for some families.
“We’re here to help,” Beach said. “We just want to get kids active.”
Did you know?
• Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities disbursed $90,854 in 2016 to help 873 kids in Prince Edward Island to play sports.
• 100 per cent of all customer donations made to Jumpstart stay within the community in which they are donated.
• Families can call 1-844-YES-PLAY or visit www.jumpstart.canadiantire.ca to apply for funding.