Why We Exist
“Sports are the ultimate life coach for kids. Through sport, they learn the values of teamwork, leadership, commitment and perseverance. However, for some kids, the costs associated with organized sports are too great, and severely affect their ability to participate.
I was one of these kids, but I was also one of the kids lucky enough to receive support from KidSport Calgary. This is my story…
My family arrived in Canada in 1994, as immigrants fleeing the Yugoslav Wars. My parents arrived here without any close family and knowing little English. They came from a place where they were successful professionals, and arrived in a place where their post-secondary education was not recognized.
My parents were strong believers in the importance of sport in the development of young people, and first enrolled me in organized sports at the age of seven. They registered me in water polo, a sport that was extremely popular in the former Yugoslavia. My love of the game would come very soon after my first practice, and my experiences with water polo would influence the rest of my life.
My parents were determined to make the most of their lives in Canada, and were in the process of earning University degrees for the second time as well as working jobs to support their family. In my early years in water polo, many of the costs associated with organized sport became too much for my family. In order to afford these costs my family turned to the services of KidSport Calgary. The assistance offered by KidSport would allow me the chance to work towards and experience high-level competition, and would become crucial in my development into a high performance athlete.
As the years passed, my parents would become successful professionals and my family would no longer need the services of KidSport. However, their support allowed me to take some of my first steps in my athletic career.
I have been able to compete at the highest levels of international Water Polo. As a retired member of the Senior Men’s Canadian Water Polo Team, I have competed at three World Championships and two Pan American Games. Water polo has taken me across the world and allowed me to compete on six continents. I have also been fortunate enough to play water polo professionally in Europe for two seasons.
My success in sport, as in any success in life, can be attributed to numerous people and organizations that helped me along the way. KidSport is definitely one of the organizations that was crucial in my development as a young athlete. I am a strong believer in KidSport, and just one of the countless individuals that has had their life changed by the assistance they provide.”
–Oliver Vikalo, Retired from the Canadian Men’s Water Polo Team
Currently, works for TEKsystems as an IT Applications Recruiter
KidSport Calgary and Area exist because of testimonials like this. KidSport believes in providing all kids with the opportunity to experience the positive benefits that sport showcases, through taking away the financial barriers for vulnerable families.
Sadly, 1 in 3 kids in our city cannot afford to participate in organized sport. In 1995, KidSport Calgary opened our doors to ensure that all kids who dream to play, can do just that.
We work hard to make it ‘So ALL Kids Can Play!’