Sports and rec groups receive financial boost

The total might be a little smaller than last year, but everyone got a slice of the pie.

The total might be a little smaller than last year, but everyone got a slice of the pie.

Last week, on behalf of the Yukon Recreation Advisory Committee, Community Services Minister Archie Lang granted $907,250 to Yukon sport and recreation groups, down $9,950 from last year.

Again, Cross Country Yukon topped the list of recipients. It got $89,500, up from $88,500 last year.

“They have very good established programs, they have big numbers, they have developmental programs as well—grassroots as well as elites,” said Karen Thompson, director of sport and recreation with the Yukon government. “Their assessment is based on their whole program.”

With about 72 minor soccer games taking place each week in Whitehorse alone, it is no surprise that the second largest dispensation went to the Yukon Soccer Association with $88,500, the same as last year.

Although iceless for much of the year, with no year-round rink in the territory, the Yukon Amateur Hockey Association took the third largest bundle with $68,500, up $1,500 from last year.

Taking in the bulk of funds for the special recreation groups were both the Recreation and Parks Association of Yukon and the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre, each getting $61,000.

In addition, $130,000 has been allocated for Yukon Sport. And the High Performance Athlete and Official Program will receive $70,000.

To qualify for grants, the groups must meet a list of criteria, such as acting as a governing body for the sport in the territory and hosting a Yukon championship for their sport.

“They have the sole responsibility for that sport in the territory, it can’t be a club,” said Thompson. “For example, Softball Yukon applies but not the Whitehorse Softball Club.

“It’s the same on the Special Recreation Group side—each is like an umbrella organization.”

After each group has applied separately, the YRAC, a ministerial appointed body, examines the requests and assesses how they were spent in the past.

“It’s very prescribed,” said Thompson. “A lot of it is based on history, because they come to the table every year. Each year when they come with their application, YRAC is looking at what they did last year with their money. So they have to provide accountability as to, ‘You got $5,000 for coaching development, what did you did with that?’

“So the sport consultant works with all the applications when they come in, puts them together in a readable format, goes through them and makes sure all the numbers add up and makes recommendations to YRAC as to the funding level.

“That funding level is based on (participant) numbers to a certain extent, but not solely.”

Aside from the volume of participants and the “depth” of skill level within the program, groups are judged on whether they are sending athletes to the Canada Summer Games, North American Indigenous Games, Arctic Winter Games or any national championships.

Despite the six-figure infusion into the sport and special recreation groups, the organizations still require funding from other sources, such as Whitehorse, said Thompson.

“It is not an easy decision process because every group has good stuff happening,” said Thompson. “And the budget they submit is much larger than what YRAC gives them. YRAC is a small percentage of the money they spend over a year. If you look at the applications that are coming in, we’re not even getting to 50 per cent of their costs.”

The annual YRAC grant money comes from a revenue agreement between the Yukon Government and the Yukon Lottery Commission.

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