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Community Matters

An Interview with the Mentor: Spotlight on KidSport Wood Buffalo with Emilie Rainville

November 1st, 2015

Ashlee Layton of KidSport at the recent Community Registration Day event

By Dawn Booth

For 27-year-old resident Emilie Rainville growing up in Fort McMurray was a game of play, as being actively involved in sports was a way of life. From starting out on the beams at Norfort Gymnastics to swimming at the – once - Centennial Pool, her longlist of athletic experiences is extensive. She has played on teams with the Fort McMurray Youth Soccer Association, Fort McMurray Minor Baseball Association, Fort McMurray Badminton Club and the Oilsands Curling Club. She even took turns practicing judo at the Nin-Ten Judo Club and skated with the Noralta Skating Club. A frequent runner in high school, she ran cross-country, participated in track and field, and also did a biathlon with the Fort McMurray Biathlon Club.

After spending four years in Canada’s capital to receive an Honours Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ottawa, Rainville came back to her hometown. She got involved with KidSport Wood Buffalo, shortly after her arrival. And today, she holds the Chairperson and Social Media Coordinator title for the local social profit, which is a national organization that provides financial assistance for registration fees for sports programs and sports equipment to kids aged 18 and under.

With years of exposure to local athletics, she understands the importance of participating in organized sports and shares, “I know firsthand what opportunities exist in Fort McMurray and know what children are getting to experience by being a part of them.”

Rainville is a mentor and takes the spotlight for this issue of Fort McMurray’s  Child Magazine to answer questions on KidSport Wood Buffalo and how the organization is helping our youth.

How does KidSport Wood Buffalo benefit the children of the Fort McMurray community?

Rainville: KidSport Wood Buffalo works exclusively in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) — its purpose is to fund children residing in the region, who face financial barriers and wish to play organized sports. This program is particularly important in the RMWB due to the high cost of living and the cost of sports registration. We cover up to $600 per child eighteen years of age and under, per year, in sports registration fees. Families can apply multiple times, for multiple sports, until the $600 is reached.

How does KidSport Wood Buffalo promote the program to our youth?

Rainville: We try to make sure all the schools and sports organizations are aware of our program. We advertise in the community, and we’re active on Twitter and Facebook.  We rely strongly on teachers, coaches, and friends to spread the word to the families who could use us.

How do you spend your time preparing the organization, as a chairperson and social media coordinator?

Rainville: In my role, I like to think I make sure things work as well as possible, without being directly involved in them. I support our application coordinator and our committee chairs in making decisions and following through with their roles. I also apply for grants, make budgets, organize meetings, volunteer at fundraising and awareness events, and answer our phone. As the social media coordinator, I post information about KidSport to Twitter and Facebook and try to support other local non-profits.

What’s the fundraising goal and how is it implemented into the KidSport program?

Rainville: Our fundraising goal is to have enough money to be able to fund every eligible child who applies to KidSport Wood Buffalo for support.  In 2014, that meant over thirty-eight thousand dollars, and so far this year we’re over forty thousand dollars. Therefore, we’re hoping to raise over fifty thousand dollars to be able to support all the children who wish to play organized sports in 2016.

What is the most rewarding feedback you have heard from the participants?

Rainville: The most consistent feedback is the fact that because of KidSport, children were able to play a sport that they love and are passionate about.  One KidSport athlete became one of their school’s athletes of the year!

What are some life skills Fort McMurray youth gain from taking part in organized sports?

Rainville: The skills children can learn from organized sports are innumerable. Beyond fundamental movement skills, they can learn teamwork, dedication, time management, reliability, sportsmanship, and responsibility. Participation in sports can also lead to an increase in self-confidence and positive self-image. Finally, being active in childhood increases the probability of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as an adult.

Why is getting children involved in organized sports important to you?

Rainville: I grew up in Fort McMurray in a lower middle class family. My parents worked hard and saved their money, but always allowed us to play any sport or activity we wanted to (provided we never missed a game or practice). So, I played a lot of different sports, and didn’t know any better, until I grew up and realized not everyone had the same opportunities. Sports were such an important part of my childhood, and I’d like to think they were responsible for some of my better qualities, so I strongly believe that financial barriers should never force a kid to stay on the sidelines and all children should have the same opportunities to participate in sports.

How do you encourage our community to take part?

Apply if you need us, donate if you can. You can find our application on our website, and can donate any time online. Most importantly, get your kids involved in sports!

What can the community’s youth look forward to in the future of KidSport?

Rainville: Hopefully, that KidSport will always be able to help the families and youth in the community to play the sports of their choice. If we can get enough donations, we’ve talked about raising the amount of money that we can fund per child, as some sports are more expensive and we’re unable to cover the full cost of registration - that would be a long term goal.

To learn more about KidSport Wood Buffalo or to apply for the program; visit, call 780-370-1170 or email Emilie Rainville at

Each issue, Dawn Booth of Media Booth talks with the pros who are in-the-know with child-focused local community programs. If you’d like your organization or program featured in an upcoming issue of Fort McMurray’s  Child Magazine or would like to share a suggestion, contact Dawn at


Tags: kids

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