Before moving to Meadow Lake, Brian Gislason spent about 20 years coaching softball and basketball in Lashburn. As a coach, he witnessed firsthand the impact that sports had on his players.
Understanding the power of sport, Gislason helped form the KidSport chapter in Meadow Lake over 15 years ago. He said that the original members saw a real need in the community for KidSport because they believed that some children didn’t participate in sport because of the financial restrictions.
”I think sport is something that should be available to all children, no matter what their financial capacity is,” Gislason said. “Sport is expensive and some families can afford to enroll their kids and some really struggle to come up with the funds to do that. I think KidSport is just really a good program because it takes away that financial obstacle that a lot of families would face.”
Gislason admitted that the program got off to a humble start in Meadow Lake, helping a few kids in the first year. However it now has the capacity to assist nearly 150 children annually.
The Meadow Lake KidSport chapter hosts a number of fundraising events such as raffles and hamburger sales, but its biggest fundraiser is an annual charity golf tournament in May at the Meadow Lake Golf and Country Club. The event attracts 140-150 golfers and includes local NHL players and Saskatchewan Roughriders alumni.
“People look forward to the event each year and I think people have it circled on their calendars,” Gislason said. “There’s been a tremendous response from local businesses too.”
“There have been a number of kids that have started sports at a young age and a couple of girls from our community that have gone on to play college hockey who started out as KidSport kids,” he said.