Worried About Summer Sports and Entertainment Cost? You Need to Know About Sports Central

As a single parent, or low income family, summer can actually be an extremely stressful time. It’s expensive to keep our kids busy! Spring sports, the equipment that goes with them, a new bike for the kid that never stops growing, and don’t forget the helmet. These things add up quickly, and can, for some families, be unattainable.

This spring, I knew that both girls needed new bikes, and one was registered for baseball but had no cleats or glove. No matter how many times I crunched the numbers, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it all work, so I decided to see if there were any resources available to help me cut costs a little bit.

Enter Sport Central.

This incredible organization saved my bacon. My girls are members of the Boys and Girls Club, and in conversation with their facilitator, I learned that she could refer them each to Sport Central, where they would have access to any sport/fitness gear they needed for the season, FOR FREE. There are many referring agencies, or, if your family has an Alberta Works Health Benefits card, AISH card, or Leisure Access Program card, you can simply call Sport Central directly to make an appointment. They will require proof of the benefit(s) you hold. The list of sports they provide equipment for is a mile and a half long, and there is no limit to how many sports your child can be outfitted for, or to how many times they can size up each season.

At our appointment, the girls were measured, and outfitted with the proper sized equipment. They each received a quality, refurbished mountain bike (these are nice Raleigh bikes, no rust, completely tuned up.) My younger daughter was thoroughly outfitted for baseball; bat, glove, cleats, batting gloves, balls, and our family also received four badminton racquets and enough birdies to last the summer.

The staff were nothing short of incredible, asking us several times if there was anything else we could use, reminding us to come back in the fall for skates and hockey sticks – which we will be sure to do, and even taking the time to teach my daughter how to hold and throw a baseball correctly.

Our entire experience with Sport Central was wonderful, and I would encourage any family who qualifies to make use of this program, as well as anyone with the means, to donate to it.



Julie Farrell lives with her two daughters, wife, and dog in a downtown Edmonton condo. She coordinates the Downtown Edmonton Community League’s Urban Kids program and is an advocate for community enhancement and mental health. Julie also blogs about urban family life, sustainability, and minimalism at www.fourinthecore.com.