BANFF – An increase in financial need for kids in organized sport prompted the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation to action this summer, with the foundation donating $40,000 to KidSport Bow Valley.
According to a press release from the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation, the number of funding applications KidSports receives annually have been steadily increasing. But for 2019, KidSport Bow Valley received three times more funding applications than it expected.
“In 2019, we don’t know what the final numbers are going to look like, but we definitely know that in the first quarter of the year, the increase in applications were up … and so anticipating that demand would increase as the year progresses, [KidSport] was definitely anticipating not being able to meet all the demands,” said Cathy Geisler, executive director of the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation.
One of the obstacles families face when it comes to keeping children in sports, is the affordability aspect. Sports and recreations come with a lot of expenses including transportation, accommodation, registration fees and equipment.
“If you take swimming as an example, you know the cost of attending swim meets, travelling to the swim meets, the cost of staying in a hotel, eating out,” said Simmi Latulippe wth KidSport Bow Valley.
“That goes for any sport because as you know, even though a child is registered here in Canmore, they frequently – and no matter which level they’re at for sports – have to go outside [the valley] to continue the sport in terms of competition.”
With the high cost of living in the Bow Valley, balancing expenses can be challenging for families.
“Everybody is spreading the pot a bit thinner I guess when you’re competing with the different expenses that it cost to put a family together and to keep a family moving,” said Geisler.
However, with the support of KidSport Bow Valley and the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation, children are given more opportunities to participate in sports without their families having to worry about the financial burden.
The Wim and Nancy Pauw foundation’s mandate, according to its website, is to build an “active, vibrant and happy community" in Banff. Supporting sports and active lifestyles for children and their families is a step closer to that goal.
“We don’t want anybody – like KidSport – to not be able to participate in activities because of financial barriers. So when KidSport made the call to us, it was an easy decision to support their initiative,” she added.