A member of the Sylvan Lake Seniors Association stopped by Canadian Tire Jan. 17 to present a cheque of $3,288 to franchise owner Randy Patton for the corporation’s Jumpstart program. Patton will match this donation to help expand sports and recreation facilities for area children.
“We have always been mindful of the contribution of young people in the community and we just wanted to help out. We have been doing it annually since 2013,” said Peter Hamers, the Sylvan Lake Seniors Association President.
The seniors’ group has donated over $12,800 to the cause in the past nine years. Each group member makes a personal monetary donation, hoping to see more children gain access to sports and recreation.
“Contributions are made by individuals at the Sylvan Lake Seniors Association and it is something we do usually in December of each year and is just a one-time yearly contribution that we gather from our members for the program,” said Hamers.
The Jumpstart program came into existence in 2005 and has since reached over 14,500 Sylvan Lake children, distributing over $1.4 million towards sports and recreational advancements in the area. The program assisted 3368 children in 2021 alone.
“I do not want a child in this area that can’t play sports, and if that barrier is financial, this is what Jumpstart is all about,” said Patton. “Sports helps mental health, self-esteem, and team building. It helps with school work, because it gives children that out, that much-required exercise,” he added.
The Jumpstart program consists of parental resources, Individual Child Grants, Community Development Grants, Sports Relief Fund and Para Sport Jumpstart Fund, among other initiatives.
“This is for families and kids that are financially challenged. This is to get kids active in sports. It’s phenomenal we’ve helped that many kids. 100 percent of the money stays in the area. It’s great that organizations like this see the benefit and see the need because there is a need for sure. Our mandate is there should not be any children in this area that cannot play sports,” said Patton.
Patton conducts frequent fundraiser events and initiatives for the continued support of the program.
“Any child or any family can apply by going on the Jumpstart website. It’s 100 percent confidential. They do the enrolment, which is very quick and easy and then they are involved in the sport right away and the money gets forwarded to the organization and the child is playing sports, it’s that easy,” said Patton.
Anyone interested to contribute to the program can visit the Sylvan Lake Canadian Tire and meet with Randy Patton. He aims to offer equal sports and recreation opportunities to every child in the area of Sylvan Lake.
“There definitely are a couple of challenges going on right now. One is some things have been postponed because of the restrictions and you can’t go and use certain equipment or do certain activities. So, it’s important to get back to normal, whatever that normal would be, and make sure there is no child sitting on the sidelines. Lets’s get them back and playing,” said Patton. “I want Sylvan Lake to thrive and part of that is to make sure the young kids are active and they are having fun and having that opportunity,” he added.
While COVID has affected membership numbers, the Sylvan Lake Seniors Association continues strong with approximately 400 individuals currently enrolled. The group offers several activities catering to seniors such as weekly luncheons, games, line dancing, singing groups, and yoga among others. Anyone over the age of 55 can sign-up by calling (403) 887-5428, or emailing at email@example.com. Detailed information about the seniors’ group can be found on www.sylvanlake.ca/seniorscentre.