The Impact of Sport on 1,000,000 Canadian Children

Jumpstart – Giving kids a sporting chance.

Canadian Tire set out with a mission to remove the barriers from organized sport for those 1 in 3 Canadian families who are unable to afford it. This message was clearly presented to Canadians through this Jumpstart commercial from 2007:

The Jumpstart foundation has been a huge success since its launch by Canadian Tire in 2005; this September it celebrated its 10th anniversary and announced that they have enabled 1,000,000 Canadian children to enrol in an organized sport of their choosing.


In my opinion, a large reason that the numbers for Jumpstart are so astonishing compared to that of Hyundai Hockey Helpers is the sheer size of the organization and the brand ambassadors they utilize in their campaigns. One of the better known ambassadors is Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks captain and Winnipeg, Manitoba native. Toews can be seen in a commercial from 2014 supporting the work of the Jumpstart initiative and calling Canadians to action.

The interesting thing about Jumpstart is the breadth of their campaigns. At first glance, it is easy to view their commercials and assume that the sole focus is on hockey, but that is not the case. One look at their Twitter and it is very clear that they support a wide array of activities. They also utilize a variety of program ambassadors including Christine Sinclair, Canadian Women’s Soccer; Kaillie Humphries, Canadian Olympic Bobsleigh team member; and Charles Hamlin, Canadian Olympic Speed Skating team member. Their campaigns include Canadians from coast to coast in a variety of ways. Each and every Christmas season stores across the Canadian Tire banner, including SportCheck and National Sport, sell gift boxes to raise money for Jumpstart. Additionally, Canadian Tire stores have donation boxes in which customers can deposit the Canadian Tire money they just earned to help underprivileged children enrol in organized sports.

I believe that Jumpstart is so successful because it allows each and every Canadian to connect themselves to the campaign and recognizes the impact donations have on local communities. Similarly, Tim Horton’s tries to drive home the importance of childhood sport through their Timbits Hockey ads with Sidney Crosby; however, they do not seem to have the same effect. Mainly because there is no call to action or the “feel good effect” of contributing to child enrolment rates. Customer engagement with Tim Horton’s initiatives can be better seen through their Camp Day campaigns in which the customer knows their business is leaving a lasting impact on the life of a child.

The mayor of Dauphin, Manitoba, Eric Erwin, drove home this point when speaking about the excellent citizens children given the opportunity to participate in sport and group activities such as camps become later in life. He spoke to the sense of belonging a child experiences, while celebrating Dauphin being the top fundraiser for Jumpstart’s “Red Ball Campaign” in 2013 when the town was visited by Jonathan Toews. When it comes down to it that’s what everyone committed to programs like Jumpstart wants; we want to see children participate in sport and enjoy the experience.

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