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Paying tribute to the Valley's coaches


Last Wednesday evening (April 5), the Swan Valley Community Sport Alliance (SVCSA) held a Coach Appreciation Banquet, welcoming nearly 40 Valley coaches.

After a delicious meal, various Sport Manitoba (SM) leaders presented, highlighting different programs, courses, resources and in person training sessions they offer.

“We recently did a big restructuring of how we do things at SM,” said Senior Sport Development Manager Greg Guenther. “Some of the changes are as a result of the regional review we did, which included surveys, town hall sessions and feedback.”

Guenther also shared information about the Fit Kids, Healthy Kids (FKHK) program they offer.

“This program, which is fully supported and funded by Doctors Manitoba, focuses on physical literacy skills for children between ages two and 12,” he said. “FKHK has games and activities that develop activity in children. The resources online include many lesson plans, videos and different activities.

“Training for this program is offered free of charge because of our partners.”

A discussion about the current state of JumpStart (JS) and KidSport (KS) was also held.

“In 2016, 281 children were assisted across Manitoba, with only 91 of those coming from the Parkland area,” said Regional Sport Development Officer Megan Foster. “Specific to this area, two JS and 23 KS athletes were assisted.

“The funding from JS and KS can be used for registration, equipment or travel, and we do our best to assist all those who apply, whether it’s one program or a combination of both.

“We know that the application process, presenting financials, is a barrier for many applications, and there may be plans to revise that process in the future,” Foster continued.

Families who apply in the JS and KS programs must fall below the current Statistics Canada low income cutoff guidelines, which change slightly each year.

If an athlete under 18 qualifies, they can receive up to $300 to help offset costs.

“It is important to note that the Parkland region has never used all of the funds available, and we’d really like to change that,” said Foster.

To wrap up the evening, Manitoba Games Manager Pete Conway spoke about some changes to the Manitoba Summer and Winter Games (MG).

“This is one of the hot topics, because we have made changes that will affect athletes and coaches,” he said. “The old model had six rural regions and two from Winnipeg, while the new model has four rural regions and two from Winnipeg.

“The biggest reason for this change was the population base that teams could draw from, and this makes it a little more even.”

Conway added that it was important to note that these changes only affected the MG, and not the Provincial Sport Organizations.

“We also looked at the sports offered in the MG and divided them into core and non-core sports, based on their activity within each of the regions,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we would have meaningful competition in each of the sports when it came time for the MG.

“With the change in number of regions, the number of teams hasn’t changed, but two ‘wild card’ teams can be chosen from the rural regions, and the number of athletes per individual team has changed to hopefully allow as many athletes as want to participate.”

The SVCSA concluded the evening by acknowledging the coaches for all of their hard work to enhance sport and activity programs within the Valley.

Jessica Bergen