The primary objective of the Canada Games is national and provincial sport development of Canadian youth. The Games provide the stimulus for Canadian youth to reach their athletic potential, pursue personal excellence and develop socially and culturally within the context of ethical competition.
The character of the Games has changed little over the years, although the 1990’s saw an increased importance on sport development. National and provincial sport organizations are mandated to put emphasis on building a comprehensive Canadian sport system, and host communities are challenged with creating facilities and programs that will serve sport needs long after the Games have left.
Building on the success of the Games, the Canada Games Council has broadened its focus to also include ‘between Games’ initiatives. This new focus on resources, programs, activities, tools and events for Canada’s youth between the Games, 52 weeks a year, is called Dreams and Champions.
The first goal of Dreams and Champions is to Inspire Dreams in Canada’s youth and encourage them to participate in sport and physical activity. One initiative that does just this is Canada Games Days, an event that offers young people, 4 to 14 years of age, a sport and educational experience that mirrors the excitement and spirit of the Canada Games.
The second goal is to Build Champions by providing the programs, tools and support young athletes need to reach and succeed at higher levels. For example, the Canada Games Council and the Foundation for Athletes Sport Training (FAST) have partnered to build the Canada Games FAST Track athlete grant. The program will provide direct financial assistance to Canada’s next generation national team athletes to support their training and competition needs.
Over the next several years, the Canada Games Council will work with other partners in Canada’s sport system to build the inventory of programs within Dreams and Champions so that more young Canadians have access to what they need to get involved and stay involved in sport and physical activity.