Episode 12: A return to sport under the new normal: A conversation with Jill Shaw of KidSport Greater Victoria
By mid-March 2020, all organized sporting activities for kids came to a sudden stop. KidSport Greater Victoria, a local not-for-profit organization that provides grants to help cover the costs of registration fees, paused funding.
In this episode, Paul and Dave chat with Jill Shaw, executive director of KidSport Greater Victoria. She explains how her role and her organization’s mission has shifted over the past months. Fast forward to September 2020 and some local sport organizations have started up again, funding has resumed, and some children are returning to sport. Reflecting on the pandemic, Jill shares her renewed belief in just how critical their mission is for children’s well-being.
Check out their upcoming annual (now virtual) fundraising event Play it Forward at: https://www.jonmontgomerypizzapigout.com/
We’ve always said that sport offers this amazing opportunity to learn about leadership, work ethic and to gain physical health and balance mental health…But on top of that, it just is such a symbol of normalcy that’s been totally lacking for five months now, and so for kids to be able to get back into that and reconnect with peers and positive adult role models. There are kids out there who just really need this more than many kids do, who just maybe don’t have the greatest of situations going on at home and haven’t been in school, and so for them to have opportunity in a positive way to just see more people again, I just think it is critically important now. I’ve always believed in it and never more so.
Click for full transcript
Paul: And welcome back to another episode of Island Thrive. My name is Paul Holmes, and I’m your co-host today with Dave Monahan, the President of Smart Dolphins IT solutions. How are you doing, Dave?
Dave: Very good, very good.
Paul: Another week and other podcast. I’m very excited to have with us today, Jill Shaw, who is the Executive Director of Kidsport of Greater Victoria. Welcome to the show, Jill.
Jill: Thank you, thank you both for having me. It’s nice to be here.
Paul: Well, we know that you have a very important role here in Victoria involved with helping kids, certainly with accessing sports programs and the like maybe I’ll let you tell our audience, maybe for people who haven’t heard of Kidsport exactly what it is your organization does.
Jill: Sure, thanks, Paul. I feel like every conversation these days begins with like in a normal year as opposed to in 2020, everything for all of us is so different over the last five months. In a typical year, what Kidsport does is raise funds all year long and all year long, accept applications from local families in financial need to fund those kids into seasons of organized sport in and around Victoria. So we reach kids from Sooke up to Sidney and all through the Gulf Islands too. We’ve been doing that work in Victoria for the last 20 years, actually, if this were a normal year, we would have had a big birthday party in June, but obviously we had to shelve that, and in those 20 years, we’ve reached almost 13,000 local kids with over 3 million in season of sport registration fees. So this year has been different, but that is at the core of what Kidsport does and will continue to do.
Paul: That’s quite an accomplishment. And Jill, you’ve been with the organization for a fair amount of that time?
Jill: Yeah, I would say seven or eight years. And so our organization, like I say, was founded in 2000 by three co-founders who are all still connected with our local chapter in some way, and so I think that really speaks to our mission and our organization, it’s really nice to still have those people in the fold. And annually, it’s about 1400 kids a year that we would reach if things were normal, which makes us the biggest Kidsport chapter across the province. There are Kidsport chapters across all of Canada, and we’re right there as one of the biggest in the nation as well, actually.
Dave: How does that relationship work with Kidsport Canada as a chapter? What do you get from them? What do you give to them?
Jill: Yeah, you know Kidsport for years has really had a philosophy of each individual local chapter really knows its community best, which I think is absolutely true, there’s so much that’s unique about Victoria as compared to other communities around the province and across the country, and so we are quite independent. But Kidsport Canada is the holder of that charitable tax number and spot, and so that’s what enables us to issue tax receipts, for example. And we certainly get significant support from Kidsport Canada as well as Kidsport BC when it comes to big overarching projects like websites and online databases that all of our applications run through. But I think one important feature of the model is that all funds raised locally are spent locally, so any dollars that come into us from our Victoria area donors and supporters and businesses and so on, go right back out to support kids in this community.
Dave: Great, yeah.
Paul: So I guess the 30 million question than is, what are your kids doing this year around sports? I know a lot of programs have been sort of shelved or highly modified is there things that are still happening that you can tell us about, or are things starting to restart?
Jill: Yeah, I think the answer to all of those is yes. Okay, so when about mid-March rolled around, we all saw just about everything stop, and certainly that included organized sport, and so we literally had our monthly stack of checks in hand that we were about to put in the mailbox when we kind of went, “oh wait, like everything is going to be way different. And we don’t know for how long.”
And so at that point, across the country, Kidsport put a pause on funding kids into organized sport, because ultimately, one of the big reasons was we didn’t want to create more work for these mostly volunteer-led sport organizations who would then have to figure out who that funding and who didn’t and who needed to be refunded and so on. So we held on to those and we opened up communication with all of the relevant sport organizations and just really kept in close contact for this first couple of months, there wasn’t a lot to see because there wasn’t much that could go on.
However, I’m really happy to report that we’re now beginning to fund kids again, as of next week, we’ll have a healthy size round of grants going out to support local kids once again, and that’s the first big round that we’ve done since March. And then in the interim we didn’t want to stop helping local families and local kids, traditionally, that’s always been in the form of season of sport registration grants. We knew that that wasn’t possible, and so our Board of Directors convened for a couple of special Zoom meetings and quickly got onboard with some alternate ways of funding the community. So one of our early ones, for example, was to make a contribution to the Victoria Foundations Rapid Relief Fund, and we just felt really fortunate that we were in a position to do that. Our cost had dipped quickly because sport had stopped and so that put us in a position to make a contribution into time it with one of those generous matching opportunities that was made available by another donor.
So that felt great. And then we’ve also done an equipment project through Kirby Source for Sports in the last couple of months, where we’re just trying…usually the equipment side of things is not one that kids in greater Victoria is able to get into, we just have to be more careful about how we spend our time and financial resources, but these are special times, and so we took a look at all of those spring seasons of ball and football and gymnastics and things like that that just were lost to Covid and we offered equipment, a special offer for the cure resource or sports to Kidsport eligible kids who lost their seasons during those times, and so we opened the door for them somewhat so that they could make choices from Kirbys and get into a different sport or just have opportunity to play the sport that they love in their own backyard or at the local park or whatever. So that was nice too just as an alternate way of reaching families at this time.
Dave: Is there any opportunity to help with the protective extra protective gear or work that needs to be done infrastructural to get some sports back and running or that, or not really in your realm of things? That just occurred to me but…
Jill: Totally, it is for sure, and it’s definitely not in our normal realm, but our board has talked about that, has reached out to some sport organizations to begin that conversation. We annually do, sort of a modest amount of board supported community funds type projects, and we have wondered if exactly that kind of thing Dave might be appropriate at this time. Just whether an extra $500 here or like $500 there might help some of our local, whatever it is…hockey, gymnastics, soccer, etcetera, organizations to get back on her feet because they’ve been hard hit, many of them are volunteer-led and those that aren’t are struggling local businesses typically, and they’ve got a lot of extra costs related to whatever cleaning supplies and Plexi glass and all kinds of different protocols and things that need to be handled. So that’s not something that we have dived into yet, but that may come for sure. It’s on our radar.
Dave: Very good. Any particular sports that are coming back sooner, others that might not come back for years kind of thing, can you give us some visibility into that, sort of personally curious.
Jill: Yeah, it’s interesting and complicated. The sport system is rather complicated, and there’s about 200 sport organizations that we would work with here locally who fortunately, in many circumstances, have come together to talk about how they can work together to make this easier for everybody. I think none of us would wish the last few months on anybody, but I do feel like that’s one positive that’s come out of it, is just is this sort of teamwork aspect, which really ultimately is what sport should be all about. Sourcing lots of different things for example, we saw many seasons of ball for really little kids were canceled all together for a few different reasons, it’s a short season, and for younger kids, it’s more difficult, and also probably some of them weren’t as desperate to get back to the sport as the older kids who are real diehards for baseball and softball and so on. So then we were able to see some of those higher level teams and teams of older kids get back to shortened and shifted all seasons through the summer, so that was some of the first. We’re starting to see quite a bit of registration for hockey, so I would say that those are planning to proceed…I mean, I couldn’t say normally, but they are looking for sure looking at having a season ahead though, obviously that won’t start for the next month or so for most cases. Soccer is still kind of a little bit finding their way, we’re having more soccer inquiries happen, but there’s a lot of conversation still happening, among local soccer clubs around what will best suit those clubs going forward and what’s the safest way to deliver, and whether it’s an eight-month season or shortened, etcetera. Starting to see some gymnastics and figure skating and karate comeback. So yeah, there aren’t too many that I’ve heard that nothing at all will happen for the long term. I think that just based on whether they’re indoors or outdoors and the shape of the sport and whether tools are required and all of that just really enters into the conversation. Everybody’s in a pretty unique situation.
Paul: You would think that the outdoor sports like soccer would have a more potential because apparently the virus doesn’t spread as rapidly when people are outside and as long as everyone keeps their social distance. Although I imagine it’s also very hard in a contact sport….
Paul: …trying to get the ball away. I guess that’s probably the fundamental where gymnastics is not a contact sport, even if it’s held indoors. Is that some of the challenges, are you hearing about some of those challenges around social distancing and sport. Is that kind of the nature of a lot of the confusion?
Jill: Yeah, for sure. If you think about a gymnastics facility, it’s not team sports in the same sense as hockey or soccer, but there’s a lot of contact points in a gymnastics facility for sure, a ton of cleaning required even under regular circumstances. And I can’t even imagine how much more that would be now. Whereas soccer yeah, for sure outside helps a lot. The fact that kids can do physically distanced drills and stuff like that. I know that there’s some soccer camps that are running through the area even this summer, so I think soccer is coming back and typically we see about 40% of our kidsport kids are applying to us for soccer help, so I have no doubt that that will come back strongly. I think that as we speak right now in early August, everybody’s just actively figuring out what those plans will look like, and we’ll probably hit go on their registration systems quite shortly, and then the Kidsport requests will follow really quick after that, I suspect. We know that need is high out there.
Paul: Well, I was going to say and the need is probably going to be more so, of course, with the way the economy is going to be impacted from this, and so maybe there’s people listening to this podcast who maybe have kids or know of people that have kids that they really want to get into sports, but the costs are prohibitive, so what would you say to a parent or a grandparent in that situation?
Jill: Yeah, so true. So what we know for sure is that need in our community and everywhere has never been as high as it is right now, and I anticipate for sure that demand for our support is just going to continue to rise, we just don’t know how dramatically or how steeply yet.
Yeah, there are a lot of families who might not have been eligible for kidsport support six months ago, very likely could be now. So we’re trying to be really smart in our planning and do our very best to prepare for what may come, we just… It’s so hard to know what that would look like, but yeah, our mission continues to be to get kids in financial need off the sidelines and onto the playing fields of their choices. And so whether families have tapped into Kidsport before or are unfamiliar with what we offer I would certainly advise and to check it out because we want to help as many kids as we can, for obvious reasons, we have to put a cap on the where we can limit our help, so there is a financial eligibility component. But as I say, there are many, many local clubs in town that we can fund kids into, our support is available for kids age 18 years and under, and historically, we’ve always looked at funding full seasons of sport, so at least eight weeks in duration. However, I think that flexibility and adaptability is one of the things that we’ve all taken away from this, and so we don’t fund one week camps, for example, but certainly we would take a look at, for example, if soccer were to come out with a revised plan and do a bunch of six-week seasons as opposed to a six or eight month-long one, we would definitely look at that carefully and in all likelihood with fund. So our website would be the best resource for people who want more information about Kidsport to visit. It’s at kidsportvictoria.ca. And there’s a lot more information there about how to apply, typically we accept applications online, but where that doesn’t work for families, they can certainly print off and mail in an application to us as well. And usually it’s a notice of assessment that would accompany that document. So that we can see that financial eligibility piece, but again, we’ve got flexibility there, if that’s not possible, or if families are in unique scenarios.
Dave: And so at a time when you’re in big demand, you’re probably also struggling or maybe struggling a lot of non-profits are to maintain the same level of funding and fundraising, so could you speak to what your experience has been so far, and maybe some of the unique things that you’re doing moving forward to, again, keep the fundraising going and keep your operations going?
Jill: Yeah, so I feel like we were fortunate and there were in kind of a unique position for a couple of reasons, we’re a really small organization, so we have a few administrative costs, which helped us both to control cost as fundraising began to fall, and also to just be really kind of mobile and easily able to adopt, and then the other pieces, because sport came to this very sudden halt, so too did a lot of the money that we would usually be putting out there. However, like I said, I feel like all of that is changing as of this month, I think it’s just going to continue to go up from here, and we just don’t know how fast and how far. So yes, in addition to sport, taking a quick pause. So did fundraising for sure.
And part of that, we had some fundraising plans in place for the spring and summer period, and for lots of reasons, it wasn’t appropriate, including because of control measures in place around Covid. Also though, we just felt like those early months of the pandemic were the most appropriate time for Kidsport were to go asking for dollars, we knew that there were some real important crisis serving charities and organizations at work in Victoria who needed desperate help right then and there. And so that rapid really fund, I think, I think was one of several amazing tools locally to help those organizations get over that first really large hurtle, and we’re excited now because for a couple of reasons, including the fact that we are now sending out dollars again, we’re able to kick off some fundraisers, and so we’ve got a couple of things going on, all of them were looking really carefully at what’s safe to do and distance and so on, so there’s a high online component, which is brand new to us for sure, and we’re also trying to be really mindful of the reality of the business climate for a lot of the folks who have donated to us in the past. So you guys, I think, and others who are listening to the call might be familiar with our single biggest fundraiser of the last three years called the Jon Montgomery pizza pigout. It’s as fun as it sounds. For the last three years, it’s been 450 people at the District nightclub under the Sticky Wicket eating pizza and visiting with each other and bidding on silent auction items, and it’s been amazing, and it’s also just not at all appropriate for…we don’t know how long.
Jill: And so, so one other piece that did come out of that though was amazing relationships with our pizza pigout planning committee, and just that real sense of generosity and community and so on, that that event really kind of brought together. It was big and it was unique and really fun and exciting and an amazing fundraiser for us. And so we’ve tried to sort of take that community vibe and generosity and spin it into something new (as we’re all doing in 2020) and we piggy-backed on our Jon Montgomery pizzapigout.com website and just re-created it for a fall 2020 event that we’ve dubbed “play it forward,” and the gist of the project is that we’ve dedicated 50% of all corporate sponsorship raised to the purchase of goods and gift cards from local sort of more hospitality service businesses who have supported us in the past.
So these are tons of restaurants and hotels and so on, who generously supported us over the years, all of these times that we’ve gone to them and said like, “hey, can you contribute something for a silent option?” And those are the things that people tend to be interested in on silent auction tables, but we know that those businesses have been really hard hit and it didn’t feel right just to ask them for something at this time. So play-it forward was born, and so I will have a few other components to it, for example, the Beach House restaurant is offering Kidsport 50% of takeout pizza sales for a week in September, and the Canoe Club and the Sticky Wicket are looking at doing some similar things, so it will have aspects of stuff that’s like that, that we’ll use our website and social media to share through. But the biggest piece is that we’ve landed some really nice corporate support to support play it forward, and we’re using those dollars to purchase upwards of $6000 worth of silent auction items, and those will make up a really large silent auction that will happen September 14-24 online, and I know the Smart Dolphins are game to help us out a that project.
Jill:…which we’re always appreciative of you guys have all done so much of that kind of stuff for us for several years. So I really…I can’t say enough about your generosity, and you’re a match in terms of both your IT know-how and your community generosity, you rate very highly in Kidsport’s minds.
Dave: Thank you.
Paul: Since we are an IT company and we have you on the line, I always sort of ask people anyway, around the transition with the technology, obviously, you guys are a small organization, but I also know, Jill, that we did a modern office transition just prior to the pandemic completely unrelated just sort of to bring things up to the modern standard which in theory should have allowed you to just sort of pick up your computer and go home and get to work. Was that experience for you guys pretty seamless when things struck? I know a lot of times there’s not a lot of people in the office anyway, but I imagine that that was a fairly straightforward process, just you could continue to do your work without interruption?
Jill: Yeah, very much as we said our office is small, and so that was to our benefit, I feel like, but yeah, the timing really couldn’t have been better to have the Dolphins, let us know that you had this new idea for us in terms of where we should go as we approach the end of 2019, was so great. And it made it absolutely seamless for me to just sort of pick up everything and be able to work from home almost entirely for the last five months. And so my typical has been… I go into the office once a week to just make sure everything secure and to take some files home and drop some other ones off and check the mail and that kind of thing, but yeah, having you get us on board with Office 365 and Teams and all of that and the timing. Well, it was just coincidental really couldn’t have been better than it was, it meant that we were all set to go when we had to go that route, as opposed to just a nice to-have…
Paul: Well, I’m glad that was your answer because we didn’t set that question up ahead of time.
Jill: Yes, that was my answer.
Paul: And I guess the other piece, Dave, you wanted to ask about the perspective in the industry…
Dave: Yeah, I’m industry-specific, interested. Everybody I talk to, I like to get their insight on their own industry, and I kind of see because there’s some industries that are doing very well and some that are hit very hard and they have a sense, the non-profits are probably more on that side, so I’m not sure how much you know of your own industry locally, but yeah, I think it’d be interesting to know how things are going and also maybe some innovative ideas that you see from other organizations. I think people listening that might be running a non-profit or involved in a non-profit, maybe there’s something they can take away from something you’ve seen either from your own, from Kidsport or elsewhere, that’s kind of what it’s looking for.
Jill: Yeah, absolutely. I think that your sense is bang on, Dave, I think that absolutely the non-profit and charitable sector in Victoria and everywhere, I imagine has been hit very hard. I get on calls sometimes with a group of Executive Directors and yeah, it’s a slog for so many between dramatic declines to fundraising and in many cases having to layoff staff and in many cases also having to ramp up the kind of work they do or the way that they support the target groups that they do locally, it’s a really tough time for charitable organizations, for sure.
I think that we’re really fortunate in Victoria that we’ve got a lot of really community-minded people and businesses who are willing to give, if they can give, there’s just fewer that are able too I feel like right now. And so there are good news stories that I hear for sure, we’ve mentioned the Rapid Relief Fund through Victoria Foundation a couple of times, and their leadership around that was amazing, but I also couldn’t have been what it was without just so many organizations and individuals stepping up and contributing so generously and putting matching funds in place and that sort of thing. I think that the response was so fast by donors and also by the Victoria Foundation in dispersing that money out to where it was needed the most that. I sort of can’t say enough about how that all came to be, and I know the Jawl family had a lot to do with getting that off the ground too. Yeah, I’ve seen innovative pieces from a variety of charitable organizations often including switching events over to online kind of platforms, taking silent auctions online, seems to have been a common early response to how we’re all dealing with this, and I think it’s so hard to know sort of what will happen next? As I’ve said, we generate projections for Kidsport and we’ve in not a lot more in 2020 than ever before, and we continue to do it monthly because just more information becomes available about how both our expenses and especially our revenue might be impacted.
Kidsport is entirely driven on donated funds, so we don’t have a base budget that come from any one place that we rely heavily on events, but also on organizational donations and foundation donations, and in a lot of cases those corporate foundation types have probably had to divert money into more crisis-serving organizations, and so we’re kind of trying to keep all of that in mind and embrace ourselves for what might lie ahead and also knowing that events as we knew them are probably a fair ways into the future still before we can do that. I’ve seen some really cool things come up through matching campaigns, including the Penninsula Co-op has been a longtime supporter of Kidsport Greater Victoria and really has stepped up. We haven’t launched it formally yet, but come October, we’ll be doing a matching campaign through them, which is the first time we’ve ever kind of gone that root before, and so they’ve offered up to $15000 if we can secure that much through individual and other donations. So that’s an amazing opportunity.
And kudos to them, it was them that brought that concept to us which I think is just really outstanding from a community partner, and I’ve also seen lots of like small, Covid friendly community fundraisers take shape. I think that people are just really thinking outside the box about how they can contribute and what their own resources and skill sets and all that are, so obviously I can speak mostly from the kidsport for perspective, but we had a group of firefighters from Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Victoria get together and walk around the Oak Bay Track in all of their gear for 24 hours in June in the heat, which is incredible and raised several thousand dollars for Kidsport and also for other organizations. We just had a couple of guys ride up and down Bear Mountain in Langford, I think it was 68 times, two weeks ago. They did the equivalent of sumitting Everest on their mountain bikes in a day, which is just…It continues to blow my mind.
Paul: Yeah, that was me, Dave, by the way.
Dave: I assumed that.
Jill: I didn’t recognize your name when it came up actually but thank you.
Now, these two guys, Jackson and Ethan just… We’d never worked with them before. What really resonated with them was making an effort to reach indigenous and Newcomer youth in Victoria in particular, and so I just think that their vision and then their physical efforts on the day of were just outstanding and raised upwards of $4000 for Kidsport. So all of those are different kind of stuff from what we’ve ever seen before, but they’re really helping. To raise money is always top of mind for us, but to also raise awareness about our organization among others who might be able to give, but especially as you alluded to earlier Paul among families who need help and may or may not have used Kidsport before. So all of those kind of awareness projects are really valuable for a couple of reasons.
Dave: Being part of a chapter of a bigger national organization, do you get ideas that flow back and forth between the chapters and between the parent organization is that sort of there?
Jill: Yeah, we do some of that information sharing for sure. And in an ordinary year, all of the local chapters in the province would have gathered in May in Vancouver and shared ideas and well, Kidsport greater Victoria is the biggest in the Province, it just, it’s so valuable to be part of this bigger network, there’s always lessons to be learned, there’s many, just very small chapters around the province who are doing amazing things and whose model is just different enough from ours that some of the ideas that they have might be applicable to us, and we’ve just never thought of them before. And so we missed that forum this year and continue to try to stay in touch with those chapters where and when we can, and then I also fairly regularly connect with the other two biggest chapters in the country, which are Edmonton and Calgary, because our chapters have a lot in common and sometimes it’s really helpful to see what those other kind of big ones are doing too because information sharing, I just feel like always information sharing among partners and sharing resources and so on is valuable, and I feel like it’s never been more so than it is right now.
Dave: That’s part of why we want to have this podcast to do more that locally. So thank you for that part of it.
Paul: And for a lot of people I think most people who are probably listening this really understand the importance of the non-profit sector in Greater Victoria. Every community you have to have a healthy economy so that you have healthy businesses and people and organizations that can contribute to non-profits and charities and in their community, but in Greater Victoria, it’s even more so like. I remember looking a few years ago at the statistics and the, the percentage of the local economy that resides in the non-profit sector is enormous, and so we really need people to step up the way that they have, which is fantastic, but continue to do so and supporting local businesses, ultimately, a local business supports their ball team or their league or various kids teams and that sort of thing, and you need all of that infrastructure needs to be there in order to have sport and obviously the great work you guys do as well. So I think it all kind of fits together right? And let’s hope that there’s no question in there Dave, but let’s hope there’s a brighter future ahead with what’s happening, and we can only hope that things are going to change. I guess to that, Dave do you want to jump in with the…
Dave: …the crystal ball question? Yeah, you kind of already spoke to the difficulty of looking ahead and who knows right, nobody has a crystal ball, but do you have a sense of what things look like in three months or a year, both from a sport perspective and your organization, and even just a local…economic regional perspective. It’s a big broad question, so I’m not sure if there’s much there you can be too, but to…
Jill: Yeah, I mean, it is so hard to say. If in March, anybody had said, “hey, what’s life going to look like in June?”
We would have been so wrong, so I think we’ve all learned how quickly things can just totally flip, but yeah, I think that the picture is starting to become a little bit more clear, I think that we’re seeing sport reopen and its cautious and it’s careful, and so I hope that many of the things that are being put in place now will mean that we don’t have to experience the same severity of shut down as what we did in March, but who knows, we all know that that time may come and we’ll do what we need to, if that’s the case. As we’ve said, families are going to be in greater need now than they’ve ever been before and more families too. Just to piggy back on what you were just saying, Paul, one of the things that sometimes comes up when I’m speaking to people about how many kids we’ve supported in Victoria and how much that has cost in seasonal sports registration fees is people are surprised. They think of Victoria as such an affluent place, and clearly there are affluent people in and around Greater Victoria, but there’s also a lot of low-income families that are really in need of substantial support and will continue to be even more so now, and so I think that our ability to have put 3 million dollars back into the community is a reflection, both of the need in the community and also the generosity of our community. We just couldn’t have done that in twenty years, if we didn’t have the support of the people, who were able to jump in and help. So our goal has always been and will continue to be over the next three months and beyond, to be able to support every eligible kid who applies to Kidsport for help. We’re really proud that we’ve never had to turn a child away because of lack of funds to support them. And so that is our biggest goal is to continue to manage our organization in a way that we can continue to do that for the longterm, and so that means making careful decisions, and it also means being strategic about fundraising and organizational growth and where we put our effort and all of that kind of stuff, because I think that for the longterm, more and more kids will get back into sport and that they will need Kidsport more than ever before.
Paul: Do you think anything has permanently changed in the longterm, or do you see a day where this just becomes part of history and things mostly get back to the way they were?
Jill: Yeah, gosh, just personally, I think it’s a long way off where this is a moment in history, it’s hard to imagine that even in five years, things will be just like they were in 2019, but maybe…I certainly hope so. I do think we’ll get there, I just don’t think it’s particularly soon, but I think that we’re creative and resourceful people in this province and in this country, and I think that we’ll get closer and closer to things feeling just as good as they did in 2019. I think that that work is already under way where we can all start to have some careful, measured fun again and be reconnecting with people because that’s so important to me, it’s important to all of us, no matter what our interests are. But it is one of the big things that we say about sport. We’ve always said that sport offers this amazing opportunity to learn about leadership and work ethic and to gain physical health and balance mental health and all of that kind of stuff. But on top of that, it just is such a symbol of normalcy that’s been totally lacking for five months now, and so for kids to be able to get back into that and reconnect with peers and positive adult role models, I just…There are kids out there who just really need this more than many kids do, who just maybe don’t have the greatest of situations going on at home and haven’t been in school, and so for them to have opportunity in a positive way to just see more people again, I just think it is critically important now. I’ve always believed in it and never more so.
Dave: I’m really glad you emphasize that. We know there’s tons of need out there of all kinds right but what period in our life is more foundational than when were kids, and sport can be so foundational to the adults we become. We learn so much from it. And again, that’s why I’m such a strong believer in what Kidsport Victoria does for us the community. So thank you for that.
Jill: My pleasure, and like I said, you are so amazing at what you do from an IT point of view and also from a community giving, including these podcasts, I just think it really speaks to your generosity and community-mindedness, so our pleasure feels like an awesome partnership to us, for sure.
Paul: So we’re in this weird time and there is an option for people to pay it forward, play it forward. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
Jill: Yeah, sure, exactly. You got it exactly right. It’s a pay it forward concept. But then we wanted to sportify it, so we’re playing it forward, so at… And so two things I would say essentially, is that if you are listening and you happen to be an organization that is interested in a sponsorship kind of role, we’d be grateful to have you onboard, that’s where our commitments of this 50% give back to local service and hospitality type businesses comes in. And in the spirit of just all that has changed, we for the first time introduced a sliding scale sponsorship grid, so our brackets of sort of bronze, silver gold sponsors are very broad and start at $100. So it doesn’t have to be a big give by any stretch, and we’re very happy to recognize sponsors of any level through our website and social media, and some Times Colonist ads that we’re going to run in September and so on. And then for the general community out there, my big message is to follow us on social media, please, and to visit our website, and in particular from September 14th to 24th, to go online and get your bids in on all of the silent auction stuff that we’ve mostly purchased, but some has been really generously donated, including by the Smart Dolphins and so the easiest way to link to that is through https://www.jonmontgomerypizzapigout.com/, and then there’s a tab there that people would click on to see the silent auction details and also some of those extra things that will go on around that same time frame that will just help us to raise more funds for Kidsport Victoria.
Paul: So can we sit at home and eat our pizza while we’re bidding online then, is that encouraged?
Jill: I think that’s totally perfect, it’s an entirely online auction. If you were to get takeout pizza for the Beach House, that it’s really a win-win because they’re giving back. Well, the pizza pigout website seems like a random spot to house this concept it really was born out of the energy and the fundraising stuff in the community vibe that came out of that event for the last three years, and we had developed kind of a reputation, hopefully all good, and people were getting to know that event, and so that’s why we wanted to just repurpose that website for this new event for 2020, that we think it’ll be a one-time thing, but that’s where my crystal ball really doesn’t work. Yes, so hard to say what 2021 might bring in terms of event potential.
Dave: Well 2020 is really about experimenting, right? I think if there’s ever a silver lining in all this let’s all try a bunch of stuff and we’ll learn and see what works and see what doesn’t, and that’ll help us improve things.
Jill: 100%. And this is very much an experiment, but you work with the tools that you have available to you, and actually one thing I forgot to mention to encourage people to bid is that the more times you bid, the more entries you get for a big screen TV from an atlas AV. So really big early bid lots, you may or may not get your bids, but you could get a TV.
It’s relatively, it’s a small example, but I don’t feel like it’s one of our strategies is just sort of take the available opportunities that exist and think about how we can shape those and develop win-win situations in this case for local businesses and for Kidsport too. I feel like that’s so important at this time, it’s just really thinking about who the partners are that you have in your corner, because I feel like almost always there’s some way that everybody can win.
Dave: Love it.
Paul: That’s great. Well, yeah, we don’t know what 2021 holds, but let’s hope we’ll have a big spectacular 21st anniversary party for Kidsport then. I think there’s a lot of that going on this year. Of course, it was Smart Dolphins 20th anniversary it was this year as well.
Jill: I remember that.
Paul: We did not have a great big party because everything that was going on, but there’s lots of pent-up demand for that, so although we can kind of look at it and go it’s unfortunate that we can’t celebrate those big milestones the way we wanted to but we can always do that once this passes us.
Jill: Absolutely, it’ll be great when it happens.
Paul: Right on. Well, thank you very much for being with this, Jill. We’ve been speaking with Jill Shaw, the executive director of Kidsport, Greater Victoria. And it’s been a fascinating insightful conversation, and we really appreciate you taking the time, and for those who have not yet discovered Kidsport in our community, please go check them out. And if you’re listening as well, you should know that you can now hear us on Google podcast as well as Apple Podcast, and you can subscribe there and be the very first to get the new episodes of Island Thrive. So thanks again, Jill.
Jill: Thank you very much. Nice to be here. Nice to chat with you both
Paul: Awesome, and I have a great rest of the day, Dave.
Dave: Same to you.
Paul: Thanks everybody.