It’s now about three and a half months into the Sport for Newcomers pilot here in Toronto and the halfway mark is quickly approaching. This last month has been especially exciting as we have started on some of our Newcomer Youth Sport Programming! As I mentioned in my last post, we had our Newcomer Tennis Community Day upcoming and now that it has completed I am happy to say that the whole experience was a great success. In addition to that event, which I will go into more detail about, we now have a community indoor soccer/futsal program up and running weekly (Mondays and Thursdays) with a plan to further diversify and add basketball to the schedule in the coming weeks. We are excited about the potential for both of these programs as now, just two weeks into the soccer program, we have a base of over 30 newcomer youth participating with the room to accommodate many more. At this point in time the program will focus solely on getting newcomers involved in sport, but down the line we have the objective to tie in a learning goal to the program. It is our hope that we can morph what we have created from a sport development program into a sport for development program. Once we have a concrete plan in place and an active base of participants attending, we will take the next step down this road. The work that we are doing now will set a solid foundation and will allow for the Jane/Finch Community Centre to deliver not only high quality soccer and basketball programming to the youth of the community, but will play a role in developing the next generation of Canadians for many years to come!
Our Newcomer Tennis Community day has now come and gone. On November 3rd the event was held at the Aviva Centre in conjunction with the Jane/Finch Community Tennis Organization. We had close to 40 newcomer and new Canadian youth, along with their parents, out and learning the basics of the sport. Up to the time of the event the majority of the participants had never played tennis before. In speaking to the parents during and after the event I was able to gain some insight into their thoughts about what we had planned and the overwhelming consensus among them was that the opportunity that we had provided was very well received. At the end of the event parents had the opportunity to sign their children up for the Winter Term of tennis programming offered by the Jane/Finch Community Tennis Organization at a subsidized cost. This opportunity was met with disbelief as many of the parents could not believe that such a high quality sport opportunity was available to them and that it would come at the cost of only a small nominal fee. Registration is now currently open for the programming and we hope to see the majority of the community day attendees continue on and learn to love the sport of tennis over the upcoming months! By connecting the newcomer service organization and local sport organizations, we anticipate that this will assist in increasing participation rates of the youth we are working with. Our goal is to continue to monitor newcomer youth registration in subsequent sport opportunities with the anticipation that the youth we have worked will continue to participate.
Going forward we still have a lot of work to do, but at this point I am very happy with the progress that we have made and I am very excited for what the next four months have in store!