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Giving kids the jump on sports

Baseball is just one of the many sports more Cowichan kids are able to participate in thanks to the Jumpstart program. - Andrew Leong/file
Baseball is just one of the many sports more Cowichan kids are able to participate in thanks to the Jumpstart program.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Staff at Cowichan’s Canadian Tire headquarters will be celebrating May 31.

They will be marking their success in helping more than 1,000 Cowichan kids play a sport last year as part of their participation in the Jumpstart national fundraising program, and working hard to help more.

They’ll be out and about, spreading the word about their May promotion, —which has already raised $900 — and other fundraising initiatives during the Jumpstart Day event at the store’s parking lot between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“It’s getting stronger and strong every year,” store employee and program organizer Doralee Wratten said. “I think more parents are wanting their kids to be active and the community is seeing that and helping out as much as they can, knowing too the prices of sports are going up as well.”

Canadian Tire Jumpstart and its network of 332 local chapters is dedicated to removing barriers so children can participate on sport’s teams and events.

Each chapter, including Cowichan’s, is volunteer-based and includes representatives from Canadian Tire stores, Canadian Tire dealers and petroleum agents, a variety of non-profit organizations and charities, and community leaders.

Collectively, they work with over 2,500 organizations across Canada (including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Canadian Parks and Recreation Association and YMCA-YWCA) to discreetly identify financially disadvantaged children that might benefit from the program.

Other store partners locally include Mark’s and Sport Chek.

Last year, Cowichanians chipped in $29,526 towards Jumpstart’s tally, that saw $65,135 dispersed in the valley including corporate sponsorships and money rolled over from previous years.

May saw participating stores including Canadian Tire, Mark’s and Sport Chek, collecting for its $2 Red Ball campaign.

The details of the May 31 event/fundraiser at Canadian Tire are still in the works, but Wratten confirmed they’ll have a radar gun on hand for measuring how fast participants can slap a puck or pitch a baseball.

“It’s open to everyone, all ages, and it’s a great way for us to also explain to people how the program works,” she said.

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