KidSport Hits the $1 Million Milestone

Jeff LeDrew, Director of Marketing and Events

I feel fortunate. My career in the old Sovereign building has been very rewarding.  As time passes and I reflect on the years, I often think about my first day at 5516 Spring Garden.  Arriving in my new suit and polished shoes, I quickly realized that I was way over dressed for Sport Nova Scotia’s casual work environment.  I remember how busy it was. People coming and going.  Staff and volunteers from many provincial sport organizations crossing paths in the main reception area.  I noticed a few people that day holding a yellow piece of paper.  I learned that yellow piece of paper was an application form for KidSport, a program dedicated to providing financial support for children to participate in sport.  Families were required to submit that yellow piece of paper along with two letters of endorsement to support their need for funding.  Still in its infancy, the maximum grant was $200 and the program was allocating in the neighbourhood of $10,000 per year to help families with sport equipment costs and registration fees.

With the goal to help more families, efforts increased to attract more donors and partners.  Revenue grew and so did demand.  Eventually, demand out grew resources and applications were suspended.  Those were the dark days of KidSport Nova Scotia.  Keeping up with demand continued to be challenging until 2005 when the Province of Nova Scotia and the Office of Health Promotion made a commitment to KidSport.  In combination with the support from sponsors and donors, the program took a significant step forward in the years that followed. A coordinator was hired, 12 regional chapters were established across Nova Scotia to further promote the program and encourage applications at the community level. The KidSport grant increased to $300 per year, the application process moved online and a new equipment program provided easier access to new equipment for applicants.

Fast forward to 2021.  Excitement looms with the return to sport following the COVID-19 shut down.  The Province of Nova Scotia steps up with a major announcement for amateur sport.  $5 million in new funding aimed at making sport more inclusive and accessible. Increasing access to facilities, improving the availability of accessible sport equipment, improving equity in coaching and addressing the financial barriers of participating in sport were all areas supported with the new funding.  A momentous announcement for sport in Nova Scotia.  The impact for KidSport was significant.   The KidSport grant increased to $500 and our efforts expanded to find families who needed support.  Since then, the numbers have continued to grow. In 2023, KidSport surpassed the one million dollar milestone, setting a record for both dollars allocated and kids helped.  The program has come a long way since I first saw that yellow piece of paper.

We all know the benefits that sport provides for our youth.  In addition to the obvious health benefits, many life skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership are acquired through participation in sport.  Research shows that kids who participate in sport do better in school and are less likely to get in trouble with the law.  The list of benefits is extensive.  We are proud that we’ve helped so many families but there is still lots to be done and many more families to help. Our goal is to ensure ALL young Nova Scotians who want the opportunity to participate in sport will get it.  KidSport’s slogan is “So ALL Kids Can Play.” One day this slogan will become a reality.  For now, we will keep progressing, one child at a time.  

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