Sport for Life Empowers Three National Sports Organizations to Engage Underserved Communities

Sport for Life expanded its collaborations with Squash Canada, Canada Soccer, and Table Tennis Canada. By providing innovative tools and resources, Sport for Life equipped these National Sport Organizations (NSOs) to foster more inclusive and welcoming environments that catered to participants from all backgrounds, with a special focus on underserved communities.

Sport for Life worked closely with Table Tennis Canada, its Technical Director Marles Martins, and President Adam Sharara, to develop a range of instructional and awareness tools specifically tailored for table tennis. These included updating their LTD pathway with a focus on engaging underserved communities, developing lesson plans for PLAYBuilder, and conducting workshops and eLearnings. These efforts aim to build the capacity of their Learning Facilitators across the country to meaningfully engage underserved communities. Additionally, they created a Table Tennis-specific workshop designed to empower the membership by understanding Equity, Inclusion, Diversity, and Accessibility in a table tennis context.

Marles Martins expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership: “Working with Sport for Life was a game-changer for Table Tennis Canada. Their expertise and resources allowed us to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all participants, especially those New to Canada. We were excited to see these tools’ positive impact on our communities.” McConaghy, Director Director of Community and Fund Development at Canada Soccer, collaborated with Sport for Life to adapt two eLearning modules—Cultural Awareness in Youth Sport and Engaging Those New to Canada via Sport and Physical Activity—along with two workshops. These workshops, “Intro to Belonging” and “Engaging Those Who Are New,” were tailored to guide the coaches and learning facilitators of Canada Soccer to meaningfully engage underserved communities. Available in both English and French, these workshops aim to build capacity among soccer clubs to welcome underrepresented groups and create a more inclusive soccer community.

“Our partnership with Sport for Life was instrumental in helping us bridge the gap between community and school soccer,” said Sara McConaghy. “By equipping our clubs with the tools and knowledge to engage underrepresented groups, we took significant steps towards creating a more diverse and inclusive soccer landscape in Canada.”

Emily Hall, Programs and Communications Coordinator at Squash Canada, worked closely with Sport for Life to develop squash-specific resources for newcomers and persons with diverse abilities. These included the ‘CANSquash’ initiative, which focused on engaging newcomers to the sport, and the development of Squash Canada Manuals for ‘New to Canada Participants’ and ‘No Accidental Champions.’ In addition to those manuals, each Provincial & Territorial Sport Organization was supported in creating and developing their Action Plans to Engage Newcomers in their provinces.

“Our collaboration was essential in helping us remove barriers and increase squash participation across the country,” said Emily Hall. “The resources and support they provided allowed us to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all participants, regardless of their background or abilities.”

Another initiative was the creation of squash lesson plans in PLAYBuilder, which were made available for free to all participants. These lesson plans were designed to engage and support underserved communities, ensuring everyone had access to quality squash programming.

Sport for Life’s commitment to promoting inclusivity and participation in sport was evident in its strategic initiatives, quality sport delivery, knowledge mobilization, communications, and quality control. They worked closely with each NSO to ensure that the tools and resources developed aligned with Sport for Life’s principles and the specific needs of each sport.

As Kabir Hosein, Director of Strategic Initiatives of Sport for Life, explained, “Our goal is to create a sport system where everyone has access to quality programming, regardless of their background or abilities. By working closely with National Sports Organizations like Table Tennis Canada, Canada Soccer, and Squash Canada, we developed tailored resources and tools that addressed the specific needs of each sport and the communities they serve. This initiative intends to meaningfully engage these communities.”

Looking ahead, Sport for Life remained committed to expanding its partnerships with NSOs and other sport organizations to further its mission of creating a more inclusive and welcoming sport environment for all Canadians. With their expertise, resources, and dedication to quality sport delivery and physical literacy development, Sport for Life will continue significantly impacting the Canadian sport landscape for years to come.

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