THE BLOG

What I Would Change About Sport in Canada

06/26/2013 08:50 EDT | Updated 08/26/2013 05:12 EDT

Leading up to Canada Day, the Huffington Post blog team asked prominent Canadians what they would change about one aspect of our country. We are publishing their answers in our series "What I'd Change About Canada" leading up to July 1. You can find the full series here.

I'm the youngest of four kids and some of my favourite Canada Day memories were made at the family cottage. My Grammy and Gramps created an activity chart and would insist that we all try a new sport, skill or activity each day. I would have to prove that I could do an activity three times before I could get a sticker on the chart. It was all fun and games but it helped kickstart an active lifestyle that led me to a lifelong love of sports and recreational activities.

With such positive childhood memories in sport and being active, you might be wondering why I would want to change sport in Canada. Sport has taken me from the playground to the Olympic podium, and now, because of it, I hope to help make a difference in the lives of Canadian children.

I want to change sport in this country to make it more accessible to our kids. I see too many Canadian kids not able to participate in sport; not afforded the chance to be a part of a team, be active or learn new skills. One of the biggest barriers is due to the rising costs of participating in sport. One in three Canadian families can't afford to enrol their kids in organized sports or recreational activities -- there needs to be a way to get these kids active and involved!

That's why I'm proud to work for a company like Canadian Tire, and act as an ambassador for Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. My role helps me share my love of sport in an entirely new way, and I hope I can help get more Canadian kids into the game. Across Canada, Jumpstart helps financially disadvantaged kids get off the sidelines and into organized sports and recreation. Through Jumpstart, I'm proud to say that more than 600,000 Canadian kids over the past eight years have benefitted from the pride, team-work and respect that is taught through sport -- that they otherwise couldn't afford.

Even with such a big impact, there is still more work to do. We need to make it a priority to keep children across our country active and healthy, and I truly believe changing sport in Canada to make it more accessible to our kids is the answer. If you want to apply for funding, learn more or help, I encourage you to check out jumpstart.canadiantire.ca or call 1-877-616-6600.

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