YMCA cancels Get Active program in schools due to funding shortfall

By Charles Lefebvre
June 24, 2019 - 5:40pm Updated: June 24, 2019 - 7:36pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB — A YMCA program that helped students get moving in Medicine Hat and Redcliff will not be returning this fall.

The YMCA’s Get Active program ran its final session in May, and will not be returning due to a loss of grant funding and a shortfall of donations.

“One of the things that we face in the non-profit world is that funding is sometimes a challenge, especially securing stable funding, and it always hits the people we serve hardest when the funding doesn't come through,” said Sharon Hayward, CEO of the YMCA in Medicine Hat.

“So we share the community's disappointment with this news.”

Hayward says the program was solely funded through community donations and grants, and for the past three years, a grant from an anonymous donor helped keep it running, though the funding has come to an end.

“We have the ability to renew it, but it requires a significant matching amount, but we have not been able to secure that funding,” she said.

Hayward says if they find stable funding, they would consider bringing the program back.

The program launched as a pilot in 2013, and aimed to give students at schools in lower socioeconomic areas an opportunity to improve their physical literacy.

The program operated at Elm Street School, St. Louis School and Southview School in Medicine Hat, along with I.F. Cox School in Redcliff. The school year would begin with physical literacy testing to assess students’ fundamental movements, and find the areas they need to work on, before testing again in the spring.

“In the first few years, we had a 40 per cent improvement rate, and then we had am even higher improvement rate from the year before,” said Hayward. “We just finished the results from this year, and saw it was between a 20 and 30 per cent improvement rate.”

Approximately 400 students were served by the program each year.


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