The number of families plagued by the growing cost of signing their children up for sports and recreational activities is on the rise.

Some families start saving to cover the cost of selected childrens activities at the start of the year, but not everybody can afford it. For them, there is help.

Invermeres Canadian Tire associate dealer, Craig Knapp, is working toward helping needy families cover the cost of enrolment and membership fees for sports programming by hosting the annual JumpStart fundraiser on Saturday, May 30th.

JumpStart Day is a time for us to highlight the Canadian Tire JumpStart Charity and try to earn some (donations) to help out the community, said Mr. Knapp, noting 100 per cent of financial contributions will remain with Columbia Valley-based families. It all stays local. In fact, all of the administrative costs for the program are paid for by our organization so nothing comes out of the funds that we build through fundraising.

Families who are struggling financially are eligible to apply for funding through the Canadian Tire JumpStart Charity.

The program is extremely flexible, said Mr. Knapp. In fact, its designed to be adapted to whatever the needs are for the individual child, as long as its a sport or a physical activity.

Canadian Tire JumpStart Charity chapter member Matthew Chapman has been busy trying to recruit students from the school system to help them make the most of the opportunity to have funding that helps cover the cost of sports.

Its a really positive program for youth of all ages to be able to participate in positive, non-violent and supervised activities that will curb them from getting into trouble with drugs, alcohol and vandalism, said Mr. Chapman. I work at all three schools in town and I promote it at each one of the schools. The kids are relieved. Families always appear relieved and happy that their child is able to participate in the sports that are offered in our community.

In addition, Family Resource Centre director of program management Michele Neider has been helping families look at the big picture that comes from participating in receiving funding from JumpStart.

Study after study proves that kids who are involved in physical activities have good self-esteem, said Ms. Neider. Theyre healthier and it builds their self-confidence. It creates a positive outlet in their life so theyre less likely to fall trap into risky behaviours and it keeps obesity away.

Mr. Knapp began hosting the JumpStart initiative in the valley during 2013 and is eager to see the community embrace it with open arms once again.

We gave out a little over $15,000 to kids in need in the Columbia Valley last year, said Mr. Knapp. In and around Invermere I think there was about some 69 kids that were helped, so that was a tremendous amount of support that was given out to kids.

While there is no cost to attend the event, financial contributions are strongly encouraged. Mr. Knapp is optimistic there will be a community barbecue in store if the health board approves his request.

Im not sure what were going to do yet, he said with a chuckle. Theres probably going to be a barbecue and were going to be asking for donations, but right now its all tentatively scheduled while were waiting for the health board to approve us.

For more information about the initiative, visit