UXBRIDGE: More than 600 local kids were able to get off the sidelines and get involved in recreation activities last year, as the local Canadian Tire Jumpstart program continued to make a tremendous impact in the community in 2014.
Since the program launched in Uxbridge in 2005, more than $180,000 in funding has assisted more than 1,700 local youths by removing financial barriers associated with recreation through the charity. Last year, more than $53,000 was raised locally, aiding almost 650 young people to be involved in sports and recreation.
“This sort of success is a double edged sword, and shows just how many kids are in need in Uxbridge Township,” Uxbridge Canadian Tire owner Pat Higgins explained to members of Council at a meeting in January, also noting that 100 per cent of money raised locally to support Jumpstart stays in the community. Mr. Higgins also added that almost 10 per cent of players registered to Uxbridge Minor Hockey this season are at least partially funded through Jumpstart.
Uxbridge’s Jumpstart program aids recreation in two ways. An individual child submission program, which provides financial assistance for children involved in sports and recreation such as karate, hockey, soccer and lacrosse. As well, there are community developments programs, which typically last 8 to 10 weeks, and are either free or low-cost, and include basketball, floor hockey and dance.
“The impact recreation has in our community is a ripple effect,” said Rebecca Harman, Uxbridge’s Jumpstart ambassador. “We get amazing feedback from parents with kids that are involved in our after-school programs.”
Ms. Harman also noted that families can get involved through the Take Time family program, which makes activities such as free bowling at Parish Lanes and free family swims at Uxpool.
“The Take Time family program is about getting families involved with their kids,” said Ms. Harman, adding that 186 people registered for a free family swimming membership, far exceeding the 50 people organizers expected.
One of the primary sources of funding for the local Jumpstart chapter since 2010 has been the Gary Roberts and Friends Charity Golf Tournament, held every August at Wooden Sticks. The event draws numerous NHL stars to Uxbridge, and has raised more than $130,000 for the Jumpstart chapters in Uxbridge and Scugog since its inception.
“We’re honoured to have Gary Roberts as part of our team and really appreciate that Jumpstart was chosen as the recipient,” said Amanda Ferraro, the Township’s Manager of Recreation, Culture and Tourism.
In addition, last year, the local Jumpstart chapter benefitted from donations of $20,000 from Canadian Tire Uxbridge, $5,000 from the Christopher Skinner Foundation, $3,500 from Mudnewton, $1,000 from Bodyfit, and a further $5,000 from other community initiatives.
“There’s nothing better than kids who are involved in sports and recreation,” said Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor. “Those are going to be our future leaders and it’s great to learn that we have one of the best chapters in Canada, right here in Uxbridge.”
For more information about Uxbridge’s Canadian Tire Jumpstart program, please visit: