Working throughout the city with community hubs, Park Board, and School Board partners to provide all children with opportunities for recreation and leadership training for older youth. This community-initiated strategy has been formally adopted by the Park Board as a core program. Last year 6,000-7,000 Vancouver youth participated in MoreSports activities.
MoreSports was developed in Vancouver’s Eastside in response to the barriers of many local children to participate in after-school/weekend organized sport and recreation leagues, and skill development programs, due to issues such as financial constraints and language concerns. The strategy was designed with the understanding that it would need to build on existing strengths in communities, fostering social inclusion and developing the capacity to deliver a multitude of sport and skill development activities for local children and youth.
The model is simple: go where children are, provide structures and programming that fit with what children and families actually want, and build on what already exists. The approach taken is unique in two regards:
- First, barriers to participation are not only removed but are rendered invisible. All participants access activities and programs through a common, indistinguishable, pay-what-you-can entry process
- Second, programs and activities are built on and integrated within existing community and school structures and systems, thus maximizing participation and minimizing costs while effectively reflecting neighbourhood capacities and priorities
Youth Engaged Learn Lead (YELL):
The other key participants in the MoreSports system are the several hundred youth each year who register to receive training through YELL coordinated system of training that uses existing community resources to develop youth volunteers, coaches and leaders.
YELL serves multiple purposes:
- Engages community youth who are marginalized
- Provides these youth with volunteer opportunities, which are mandatory for secondary school graduation
- Builds community capacity by training individuals FROM the community FOR the community
YELL also developed a community stream engaging and training youth leaders who face systemic barriers to actively engage sports or recreation activities; focusing on these youth we are able to work with other programs and services and streamline them to become leaders and role models for other children in our community.