Looking at the lack of support for our young athletes
If you have ever tried to enroll in a hockey team, soccer team, or even a swim team, the first thing you usually notice is the price. For the last few years, the cost of joining a junior sports team in Canada has been rising steadily due to many factors. In countries such as the U.S, athletes can become eligible for financial aid if they want to join a sports team. Many Olympic athletes who compete for the U.S are also able to receive large sums of money if they manage to win a medal. However, this is not the case for Canada, where athletes often receive little to no financial aid, and no money is awarded to any Olympic athlete who wins a medal. This is often viewed quite negatively, since it can be a contributing factor to the decrease of youth participating in sports. Not every athlete in the world is born with greatness, but rather they work towards greatness, which is why organizations in Canada should create funding programs to form great athletes who start training when they’re young.
Within all of Canada’s provinces, competitive youth clubs and teams receive very l i t t l e financial support because there are no youth funding programs in Canada. Due to this, many competitive youth clubs are forced to rely on a few sponsors and mostly on their parents. Hockey would be a prime example of this. According to a Hockey News article, more than 30 000 children will not be playing hockey come 2016 due to the high costs. Unlike Canadian junior teams, many teams in Europe have extensive corporate sponsoring. In some towns, hockey fees can be as low as $250 per season compared to thousands of dollars per season in most Canadian teams (CBS Sports). If Canadian minor hockey teams could get this amount of support from Corporate Canada, then hockey enrollment would soar across the country. However, for this to happen we need sustainable sponsorships, which can be accomplished with proper determination.
Another increasing problem with sports among youth is the lack of participation from kids in lower income families. According to a Statistics Canada report, about 68 percent of children from high income families play sports as opposed to 44 percent from low-income ones. Several factors can contribute to this, but the main reason for this is the rising costs of sports across the country. According to CBS, In B.C, the West Vancouver Minor Hockey Association partners with an organization called Athletics for Kids, which helped lowerincome families get their kids to participate in sports. While this can be a very effective method for supporting kids, it is not used everywhere in Canada. Until organizations like this one appear in other major Canadian cities, the situation will not get better. However, the possibility of organizations like Athletics for Kids appearing in other places in Canada is not very unlikely, as the greatest lack of participation in youth comes from large metropolitan areas, where low-income families are more likely to be found. A recent report in The Daily stated that, “Rates of participation in 2005 among children aged 5 to 14 were highest in Atlantic Canada (61%) and lowest in British Columbia (44%) and Quebec (48%).” At the municipal level, rates were the lowest in Canada’s three largest cities, which were Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. In each of these three cities, sports participation was found to be less than half at 47 percent, much lower than the average 58 percent in suburban areas. This means that in order to help improve these rates, corporate sponsors and organizations like Athletics for Kids should concentrate their effort on major populated areas. If this were to occur, then it would be very possible to improve the current lack of sports participation in youth.
Ultimately, the necessity for more funding in sports for youth is rising. Every young child deserves the right to play in any sport they like, but right now that is not the case in Canada. In order for this to become a reality, there should be more support from the government, corporate organizations, and non-profit organizations. If more people could work together to make Canada a better place for children, we would see countless benefits such as a healthy and active population in the close future.