City of Calgary’s Multisport Program for Youth with Disabilities a hit!

Canadian Paralympic Committee

February 28, 2020

‘’The impact has been tremendous’’

City of Calgary Jumpstart

For Gennie Liu, the most exciting aspect of the City of Calgary’s Multisport Program for Youth with Disabilities is the amount of kids who return after their initial experience and the potential for them to join a specific sport for further development.

Liu, who is the Recreation Program Specialist – Access and Inclusion, PLAY for the City of Calgary, says their six-week program is more popular than ever thanks in part to the grant they received from the Para Sport Jumpstart Fund in 2019. 

‘’The impact has been tremendous,’’ said Liu, who has worked in recreation her entire career including the past 17 years with youth and adults with a disability for the City of Calgary. ‘’We’ve had a full participation of 24 kids and even had a wait list. In the past we struggled a little bit but we were able to run a bigger program this past season.’’

The youth program is specifically geared towards children aged 10-17. There are three six-week sessions and different Paralympic sports are offered each time. For example, in this current winter’s session that runs once a week from February 1 to March 14, the kids will travel to Canada Olympic Park to try out Para alpine skiing.

Thanks to the Para Sport Jumpstart Fund, registration costs are reduced, accessible transportation is provided, as well as facilities and equipment in partnership with local sports organizations. In addition, funding will support staff and facility rentals.

“Some families don’t have an adapted vehicle or work on weekend, so to have the transport to pick them up at their homes is tremendous.’’

A unique feature for this program is that each participant is also allowed to bring a sibling or close friend for the sessions.

‘’It’s a great motivator to come with someone you are comfortable with,’’ said Liu. ‘’The families really appreciate this because the partner that doesn’t have a disability experiences the other’s world and appreciates their abilities for the sports they can participate in.

‘’Having a safe fun environment has been great. You can definitely see the progress from the first day to the end. Most want to come back, in fact we had about a 75 per cent return rate this season, because they’ve built friendships through sport.’’

One of the best rewards for Liu would be to see a participant pursue a sport even further.

“It will be really interesting to see if they continue in a sport,’’ she said.  ‘’The idea of the program is to introduce them to various sports in hopes they can try it and find a passion for at least one sport so they can continue it. After each session, we always give them a contact for that specific sport in the area.’’

Perhaps one day, one or more of the participants will represent Canada at the Paralympic Games. 

Applications for the 2020 Para Sport Jumpstart Fund are now open. Please visit for more information. 

Can Crew Newsletter

Receive the latest news, athlete stories, and behind-the-scenes access directly to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields