KidSport, the Canadian non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to kids who want to play organized sports, wants to open a chapter here in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.
Despite not having a local chapter, kids from Parksville Qualicum Beach have benefitted significantly from KidSport. The number of children applying for grants is increasing annually, according to KidSport BC. So far this year, KidSport has already helped 194 kids. And that’s the main reason why KidSport wants to form a chapter here.
“The demands from the region continues to grow each year,” said Pete Quevillon, director of KidSport BC. “Every year we do our year-end statistics. We look and see where there is heavy demand. Wherever we don’t have a community chapter, we manage those applications centrally from our provincial office. But when we get a significant uptake and demand from, sort of, a larger area, we start beating the bush and seeing if we can generate a community chapter. Since 2014, we’ve had an increase in application from Parksville Qualicum Beach, Errington, Coombs and general area. We just thought, maybe it’s time to see if we can get a chapter going there.”
In 2014, KidSport provided funding of $45,000 to help 167 kids in the area. In 2015, it went up to $59,000 for 199 kids, in 2016 it was 203 kids which required $75,000 and at present, with two more months to go, $70,000 have already been allocated for 194 kids.
Quevillon said they are looking for individuals willing to commit to KidSport. They have reached out to the chamber of commerce and Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell for help.
“The hardest part is finding the right leader, so to speak,” said Quevillon. “A community champion who is passionate about kids and sport, who is well connected and can drag a bunch of their network out and do some volunteering, connect with the business community and get some donations coming in. That’s basically our first step. To reach out as best as we can to the broader community just to see if we can find that champion or champions and then sort of rely on them to help bring out some more bodies.”
KidSport has 42 chapters across the province that are operated by self-sufficient volunteer groups. Quevillon said that once he has a critical mass of people that is willing to do the volunteer work, he would come over to hold a general information meeting that would include the work the chapter will undertake.
“We provide that backend guidance, direction and support until such time as they’re ready to get up and start funding kids on their own,” said Quevillon.
Every year, Quevillon said, they are always concerned when high demands goes up 12 to 15 per cent annually across the province.
“I am always worried that we’re going to have a hard time meeting the demands raising funds but, touch wood, we seemed to have pretty good success every year being able to keep pace with the number of applications that we get,” said Quevillon.
KidSport receives a lot of support from the provincial government, corporate partners, individual donors, local governments and professional sports teams.
Anyone interested in starting a KidSport chapter here can call Pete Quevillon at 604-333-3430 or email at Pete.Quevillon@sportbc.com