It's that time of the month again! Our March KidSport Volunteer of the Month is co-founder and chairperson of KidSport Vancouver, David Nichols.
David recently turned a life experience for himself into a KidSport fundraiser, climbing one of the world’s biggest mountains. He tells us more about his KidSport story here, after taking the time to answer a few questions we had for him.
Q1: Tell us about you and how you are involved in sports?
A: I am married and have two wonderful active boys, ages 10 & 13. My boys have been actively involved in sports since they were old enough to run, but their main sports right now are baseball, soccer, skiing, and Taekwondo. I coach them in soccer and baseball and try to be as involved as I can in every sport with them, even if it is simply cheering from the sidelines.
As a kid I played many sports, and my entire childhood revolved around playing sports. My parents did everything to encourage participation. Eventually I excelled at Water Polo, later playing at the National level and through University at SFU.
Now, when I am not coaching, I also stay very active cycling, skiing, hiking and running. Sports continue to be a huge part of my life, and that of my family.
Q2: How did you learn about KidSport?
A: I Initially heard about KidSport though other volunteer work I was doing with the Canadian Olympic Committee and I was asked to help KidSport Canada with sponsorship at a national level. I originally was a member of the KidSport Canada Marketing Committee form 2005-2009 before being asked to take on the leadership and founding of KidSport Vancouver.
Q3: In your own words, describe what KidSport does?
A: KidSport provides financial grants to families to get their kids into a season of organized sports. These families would otherwise not be able to afford to put their kids into sports. I have met with many families over the past 6+ years that have received grants and it is amazing what an impact it can have on a kid’s life, and what a relief it can provide to their parents. I also love that KidSport will fund almost any sport which gives families so many options to get their kids into a huge variety of sports.
Q4: What is something about KidSport that you think others might not know?
A: I am most proud of the fact that KidSport Vancouver is run by a dedicated group of volunteers and that over 95% of every dollar that an individual donates to KidSport Vancouver will go directly to help support a family get their kids into sports.
Also, it is important for people to know that the grants are actually given to the sport organization directly to pay for the season of sport and therefore strong partnership are made with the sport organization and it takes out any potential the grants not being used for the intended purpose.
The main inspiration for me being passionate and dedicated to KidSport is because of my experiences as a kid. My parents had three children; myself, my twin brother Brent, and my sister Andrea. We all played many different sports and we all believe that sports helped to define who we are as adults. Now, we are all volunteers with KidSport: My sister volunteers with KidSport Tri-Cities, and my brother is an active member of the KidSport Vancouver team.
It was not until we were well into University that we found out how much financial burden all three of us playing sports put on my parents, and once we realized that, we looked for ways to give back to other families in similar situations.
Today, seeing some of the 450 families we support a year in Vancouver keeps the passion high, and knowing that some of these kids are staying out of trouble and finding their own passion for life through sport.
Q6: Why should others get involved with KidSport?
A: KidSport has an amazing group of volunteers across the country I have been amazed at the passion and dedication other volunteers have at getting kids into sports across Canada. Because of the grassroots nature of KidSport Canada, I want other Canadians to know that such a large percentage of any donation will go directly to help kids play sports. Kids staying physically active encourages healthy habits and commitment throughout their whole lives.
Q7: Do you have a recent fundraiser or event to tell us about that you initiated?
A: In January, I choose to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – Africa’s tallest mountain at 5895m – all to raise awareness and funds for KidSport. I wanted to use a life experience for myself to help others and raise awareness for KidSport.
To date I have raised about $3300 through KidSport - Kilimanjaro Climb for Kids! Donations are still graciously being accepted here.
The highlight of the event was of course making it to the summit, 5895m at sunrise. It was also a highlight to meet some amazing people in Tanzania, like the guide of our event and realizing how great a country we have in Canada – to have support networks like that of KidSport Vancouver.
Thank you David for sharing your inspiring story with us and for all your support for KidSport in your community. We congratulate you on your mountain feat, climbing Kilimanjaro, in support of KidSport.
If you know a KidSport volunteer in your community that you feel is deserving of being recognized as KidSport's Volunteer of the Month, please email their story to Bryan at email@example.com