“Words Can't Even Begin to Explain the impact” for Grassland Grizzlies  

By: Jumpstart Staff

July 26, 2023

The high school basketball coaching team in Brooks, Alberta noticed a problem. Although basketball was a very popular sport in the community, their kids weren’t joining or excelling at the rates they would expect.

“Communities of bigger sizes have more options for youth to stay involved in sports off-season. Athletes with these types of opportunities tend to develop in a sport more and have an advantage in the next season,” said coach Darsen Dueck. 

“Most of our athletes are first generation Canadians or new to Canada. Their parents are removed from the Canadian programs and systems. They are also low-income. They all love playing basketball but can’t afford bigger club programs”. 

The coaches stepped up to create the Grassland Grizzlies club program, aiming to offer the same high-quality experience other kids have access to without burdening their community with high costs. 

“We try to offer the same experience on an affordable budget. If there is any restriction holding a kid back, we try to help so they can participate. We never turn anyone away if they are committed to our vision. 

We run practice, camp situations for kids twice a week. We are trying to offer a safe, structured space for kids to go after school. We work on basketball skills and game requirements during the practice, but we are also working on team skills, respect, listening and organization. We just want to give all kids the chance to love sports and the community that can come from sports.” 

But the coaches need a lot of help to keep costs low. Your support it key to helping them afford equipment, transportation, and gym time. 

“Without this kind of support our program could not exist. This grant allows us to continue to be a safe space for these kids. They can develop relationships that can support them outside of our program as well. 

A grant like this allows our athletes here the same experience they could get in a big city. For many, it is the first time they will travel for a basketball tournament, first time playing with kids from different schools. These are experiences we couldn't make possible without support. The Jumpstart Grant is making a huge difference, words can't even begin to explain the impact”.