The Calgary Adapted Hub
One of the greatest challenges in Calgary (and likely elsewhere) for persons with a disability and participation in sport, recreation and leisure is knowing who to call and what programs are available. For insiders there would seem to be a plethora of options that are, for the most part, well organized, fun and affordable. The siloed nature, however, of the organizations whether it be by disability category, sport, age or model of inclusion makes it difficult, if not impossible, for those outside of the inner circle to know where to start.
This issue prompted a number of collaborators to create the Calgary Adapted Hub – Powered by Jumpstart. The Hub represents a first of its kind in Canada where a consortium of academic institutions, municipal recreation and sport programming stakeholders work together to ensure excellence in adapted physical activity that includes, programming, advocacy and scholarship.
Jumpstart is a national charity whose largest benefactor is Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) – one of Canada’s leading retailers with over 1,800 locations across Canada operating in the automotive, hardware, sports, leisure and housewares sectors. Since 2013 CTC has been a highly engaged sponsor of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and in 2017 it fully pledged to back Jumpstart’s Inclusive Play Project – a $40M commitment to inclusive recreational infrastructure, programming and coaching education.
The seven collaborators that formed the Calgary Adapted Hub comprised two umbrella organizations including Sport Calgary, which represents all of the amateur sport organizations in the City, and the City of Calgary Recreation department. The two Universities with Faculty leads from the Kinesiology / Health and Physical Education Departments were also included, as were three large multi-sport recreation centres (Winsport, VIVO and Repsol Sports Centre). The two Universities and three facility partners had already set out to independently organize adapted programs, but these were relatively small, often improvised pursuits and executed in the siloed nature noted earlier.
The Hub concept will revolutionize adapted program design and delivery in several ways. For example, the human resource infrastructure to intentionally facilitate collaboration is built into the design of the hub. This includes a program manager who can now work with each partner to coordinate programming and explore program innovation, and a part-time Research and Knowledge Translation coordinator to assess existing programs and ensure evidence-based program designs and modifications.
All 7 partners also worked with the Abilities Centre to work through the LEAD (Leading Equitable and Accessible Delivery) process, which is designed to identify capacity gaps that could prevent Hub partners from embedding inclusion and accessibility into strategic planning, daily operations, program environments, and organizational culture.
The Hub concept is still in its earliest days and we will likely encounter many obstacles, but we are optimistic that this will enable persons with disabilities and their families to access more and better programs. We still don’t have an official program website but stay tuned and please let us know how we can perhaps support the creation of your own Hub!
David Legg is a Professor at Mount Royal University in the Department pf Health and Physical Education and Chair of the Calgary Adapted Hub – Powered by Jumpstart.
Marco Di Buono is AVP, Programs & Operations at Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.