KidSport Swift Current looking at different ways to raise funds
KidSport Swift Current is facing a growing challenge to raise enough funds to provide financial assistance to children to participate in sport.
The activities of KidSport in the city were highlighted during a fundraising breakfast at the Living Sky Casino, Nov. 16.
Todd Holt, the Swift Current Broncos all time leading scorer, was the guest speaker at the event. He reflected on his career as a player that started when he learned to skate and play as a young boy on dugouts. He expressed appreciation for the work done by KidSport to give children an opportunity to have fun.
Two cheque presentations were made at the event. Broncos alumnus Jeremy Rondeau presented a donation of $1,000 from the MNP Bronco Alumni Golf Classic to KidSport Swift Current Committee Chair Richard Bissonnette. Over the past four years a portion of the proceeds from this golf tournament has been donated to KidSport.
Local Tim Hortons owners Pete Fehr and Dade Getzinger presented a cheque of $13,163. This amount was raised through the annual Smile Cookie campaign, which donates a dollar to KidSport for each cookie sold. During the past 11 years the campaign has raised approximately $93,000 for KidSport Swift Current.
According to Bissonnette the support of the community has been crucial to enable KidSport Swift Current to help children to participate in various sports.
“We really appreciate all the support we get from our city, because without them we wouldn't even exist and there'll be a lot of kids on the sidelines,” he said after the breakfast.
The hosting of the breakfast was made possible through the support of presenting sponsor Crescent Point, event sponsors Cypress Ford and Living Sky Casino, while various other businesses contributed raffle and auction prize donations.
KidSport Swift Current also has an arrangement with Sports Trader Plus to equip children with the required gear for their activity.
“We'll do the occasional equipment drive and then we'll donate it to Sports Trader,” he said. “He'll give it a value, put it on our account and then we can just send kids in and they can get equipment.”
KidSport Swift Current has been active in the community since 1996, when it received 11 applications for support. In 2018 the non-profit organization processed 175 applications, representing more than $48,000. During the past 22 years it spent about $600,000 on sport registrations for over 3,800 local children.
There has been an upward trend over the years in the number of applications, but even more dramatic has been the rising registration cost for sports.
“We're looking at about $500 for the average kid just to play some sport and that's one sport a year,” he said. “We like to be able to give them $500 per kid per year and we're hoping that gets them involved in two or three sports a year, but because the costs are increasing it's getting tougher and tougher for people to find the money to be able to have their kids play in more than one sport a year.”
This was the seventh breakfast hosted by KidSport Swift Current, but they are considering other ways to raise funds.
“It's kind of nice to have a breakfast, it is a little bit different than the normal dinners and other fundraising events, but because we're competing with all of those organizations in trying to continue to get funding we're going to have to come up with some new ideas and exciting ways to get people involved to help get our account up there so that we can continue to fund these kids,” he said.
One of the ideas brought up during recent board meetings is to have contact with businesses earlier in the year to talk to them about supporting KidSport.
“This event is at the end of the year and a lot of businesses said their annual budget for fundraising donations is already spend and they need to come at the start of the year, when they will be more than happy to help out,” Bissonnette explained. “So we're looking at that, maybe just talking to businesses and saying would you be interested in sponsoring a kid, and sponsoring a kid is like a $500 donation for one kid per year.”
Local Tim Hortons owners, from left, Dade Getzinger and Pete Fehr make a cheque presentation to KidSport Swift Current Committee Chair Richard Bissonnette, Nov. 16.
Todd Holt was the guest speaker at the KidSport Swift Current breakfast, Nov. 16.