A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE
Sport for Life exists to build physical literacy and improve the quality of sport based on Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD). Starting in 2005 as a project to support Long-Term Athlete Development planning by Canada’s national sport organizations (NSOs), we evolved into a movement led by a network of experts and champions working across sport, recreation, education and health, from community to national levels. To sustain our growth, in 2014 Sport for Life Society incorporated as a nationally registered not for profit organization. Today Sport for Life is a knowledge-based social enterprise working in a variety of ways:
- Awareness – providing Long-Term Athlete Development and physical literacy information to practitioners, and supporting partners to broaden awareness.
- Education – designing and delivering Long-Term Athlete Development and physical literacy knowledge through a variety education media.
- Resources – creating and publishing a variety of resources as well as providing subject matter experts to assist partner organizations.
- Engagement and Programming – facilitating engagement with stakeholders and creating programs delivery by partner organizations. We do not deliver programs directly.
- Policy and Strategy – acting as subject matter experts to enable policy development by governments, institutions and organizations.
- Research – acting as a catalyst to support research within other organizations, which we can then use in our Education, Resources and Program Design.
- Assessment – collecting and analyzing information, and facilitating other organizations to engage in assessment and the development of assessment tools.
What is different about the Sport for Life philosophy? We believe that high performance is built upon, and must co-exist with, recreation and participation. We see a continuum of stages of human and athletic development, not a division between “the best” and “the rest”. We also believe everyone has the right to quality participation, whether in competitive sport or general physical activity. We work to eliminate barriers to participation, build a stronger foundation of physical literacy, and to support excellence through a rational developmental framework. In some cases, that ability is expressed in a way that achieves Olympic medals, and in other ways it's expressed as an individual's personal best.
To create a sustainable healthy organization, we aim for a balance of revenue from governments, foundations, and self generated project revenue. Sport for Life Society has a long-standing relationship with Sport Canada but also works with provincial and territorial government within Canada, municipal government, as well as a number of governments and Olympic committees internationally.
From our early days we created strong relationships with charitable Foundations, including the Ontario Trillium Foundation, McConnell Family Foundation and RBC Foundation. This has allowed us to work with numerous communities to improve the quality of sport and develop physical literacy.
The Sport for Life Society has always provided educational opportunities to increase awareness and support practitioners. The non-profit society does this through generating revenue that is reinvested allowing the scaling of knowledge to more people, in more place. We host a major annual conference and many smaller workshops. Now as we strive to scale our knowledge, we are moving into the e-learning and online environments with digital campuses and program authoring tools. These compliment a robust website which provides free information and resources.
We are somewhat unique in that we have an array of staff and contractors distributed throughout Canada, and in some cases, the world. To be a world leading knowledge organization we contract with the world's best, depending on the revenue availability of individual projects. This diverse group of experts, some with a long relationship with Long-Term Athlete Development and others who are new to our organization, but rich in knowledge, allow us to broaden our impact.
Since inception our work internationally has grown tremendously. This has been critical to the goal of creating a sustainable organization. As an organization that is project-based, we have a limited ability to generate funds that can be directed towards building our infrastructure. The international division has served that purpose by generating revenue that can be invested in the general operations of our fledgeling organization.
Now, by expanding our range of online offerings, we hope generate revenue to reinvest into education and provide greater access to the knowledge that we generate. By reaching more leaders, we will continue to increase the quality of sport and develop physical literacy.
Sport for Life is recognized by Sport Canada as a Multi-Sport Service Organization. Our Long-Term Athlete Development Division aims to serve the Canadian Sport System with a major focus on support to National Sport Organizations (NSOs). A recent tool we developed through NSO interviews, the NSO Long-Term Athlete Development Progress Tracker, gives us a better sense of NSO progress on their Long-Term Athlete Development initiatives. While it is still in an early phase of deployment, we expect to be able to increase, improve, and focus services to NSOs.
Sport for Life is always examining how to best serve individual NSOs. With the data collected by the Long-Term Athlete Development Progress Tracker we plan to:
- Guide planning of future Long-Term Athlete Development initiatives with NSO LTAD Leads;
- Provide Expert Long-Term Athlete Development guidance based on NSO capacity and needs;
- Set up waves of sports at a similar point in their Long-Term Athlete Development progress, and match Long-Term Athlete Development Experts if needed.
While the NSO Long-Term Athlete Development Progress Tracker is still in its early days, we are optimistic that this will help guide investment of resources to better service National Sport Organizations.
The Physical Literacy (PL) division of Sport for Life strives to increase and enhance access to PL programming in Canada. As leaders in this space, we offer coaches, recreation professionals and health practitioners access to a wide range of resources that can help populations become physically literate, including the development or adaptations of programs and services to be inclusive of disabilities and indigenous populations.
Resources of the nature include a biennial International Physical Literacy Conference, Physical Literacy Instructor courses, physical literacy workshops and webinars as well as various physical literacy assessment, tracking and monitoring tools for on the ground implementation.
The Special Projects division consists of the development of new and innovative resources, with an emphasis on inclusion, that will be activated across the other divisions. Currently, Sport for Life has partnered with the Aboriginal Sport Circle and consulted with more than 260 Aboriginal leaders across Canada to develop an Aboriginal Long-Term Participant Development Pathway, Sport Organization Guide, Competition Guide and Aboriginal Communities: Active for Life. In addition, Sport for Life is working on a project to integrate and involve new citizens into sport, and also creating a resource to address physical literacy for older adults.
Is Sport for Life a for profit organization? No, the Sport for Life Society was formally established in 2014 as a nationally registered not for profit.
Is Sport for Life a Multi Sport Service Organization? Yes, it is and has met all the eligibility criteria for Sport Canada funding.
How does Sport for Life get their money? The Society gets funds by providing programs and services.