Toronto Dragons — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The youth program at TDRFC started in the spring of 2014 with around 20 participants signing up. They are looking to expand and continue spreading the game of rugby throughout Toronto. They believe they are in a great area that has many youth with the potential and desire to play rugby, but are not aware of rugby programs.

The event will include two days of various rugby related drills and activities. One day will take place on an indoor field and the other on an outdoor field. During this event, kids will learn basic rugby skills to help them improve, and draw new players into the sport. After the event, participants will be given a t-shirt and information on how to sign up. The plan for the event is to make it free of charge to draw even more interest.

Ottawa Indians — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The Ottawa Indians started their youth rugby program in 2008 with 7 kids. They have continued to develop exponentially and are now one of the largest programs in Eastern Ontario with between 100-120 kids in their U6-U14 programs. They have a multitude of volunteers including 15 coaches. Their youth rugby members are moving up throughout th junior programs – this year, they will have their first U18 boys team after many years.

Their event will be a youth rugby tournament on June 7, 2015 — they are co-organizing with the Ottawa Irish rugby club and expect to have 5-7 clubs participate from Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. This event will take place at Twin Elm Rugby Park.

Nor’Westers — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

For the past eight years the Nor’Westers, with the support of the Edmonton Rugby Union, provided rugby introduction sessions to elementary, junior and senior high schools through the ERU Youth Development Program. In 2014, they provided these sessions to over 2,200 students in 10 schools between March and June. They believe in order to grow the sport of rugby it is critical to provide opportunities for youth to be exposed to the sport at an early age. After completing their 5 year development plan last year, they identified a number one goal which was to grow their Youth Program. They have identified 10 elementary & junior high schools within their catchment area to focus their efforts. They also continue to provide coaching to high schools within and outer regions of the Edmonton area. Over the past few years they have enhanced the delivery of their youth program and are seeing the dividends in both numbers and quality. The Nor’Westers are proud to have one of the largest junior programs in Edmonton and one of the best programs in Alberta. They hope to continue their success and expand their numbers.

Their Plan includes:

  1. Concentrate efforts on 10 elementary and junior high schools in catchment area as well as expanding into Beaumont and Morinville. This will entail multiple visits to the same school in a given year. Further, to visit the same schools each year in order to establish relationships between Club Youth Development Officer and the students and schools.
  2. To provide the schools with some basic equipment (balls & flags) so that they can continue on with the program as part of their curriculum.
  3. To hold a tournament each spring and invite the schools that they visit to participate. This year they will be hosting a mini’s tournament at the NWAA club on July 25th and inviting all Edmonton regional teams as well out some from southern Alberta and further afield.

Velox Valhallians (Westshore RFC) — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

For over 30 years the Velox Valhallians have called Victoria, and their facility at Gordon Head Road, home. This summer the club is moving to the Westshore region. The Westshore consists of several municipalities including Sooke, Colwood and Langford (home of Rugby Canada’s Centre of Excellence). The Westshore region is the fastest growing region on the lower island. In contrast to many other regions in BC, new high schools are being built in the Westshore. In concert with the move to the Westshore the club is changing its name and brand to Westshore RFC.

The club is planning a series of initiatives in the Westshore. These include a range of summer camps, the delivery of Rotary Rugby for youth and a comprehensive development plan for school rugby. For the last 15+ years the club has run junior and youth rugby programs. These include teams at the U18 and U16 levels, mini rugby and summer camps. The club is active in the local schools providing coaching and acting as a training venue for a variety of tournaments.

The Westshore RFC requests funding to support a family rugby festival with varying rugby games for youth including touch/flag, drills, stations, free play. Adult club members and special guest coaches from Rugby Canada would work and mix with youth from all ages. Events include adult tug of war with Police/Fire and an all-day BBQ.

Comox Valley Kickers — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The Comox Valley Kickers began its youth program in 2009, and mini program the following year. The program began to grow and soon was fielding U8, U10 and U12 team playing in the VIRU Jamborees. In 2013 the club was able to field a successful U16/U18 Mens team and for the first time a U16/U18 Womens team.

The Comox Valley launched Rugby Canada’s Rookie Rugby program beginning of February 2015 within the Comox Valley School District. Rookie Rugby is a non-contact form of rugby using flag belts for children of all ages. The program introduces children to rugby by using fun generic games that are adapted to the sport. Six elementary schools in the area decided to pilot this project- Brooklyn, Huband Park, Queenish, Valley View, Ecole Puntledge Park and Courtenay Elementary. They went into the pilot schools and delivered Rookie Rugby PE classes to over 800 children from kindergarten to grade seven in three days.

With a good startup base of instructors, the Comox Valley Kickers will be offering in-school support for PE classes and PLC after-school Rookie Rugby day camps at all the pilot schools beginning March 25th and April 22nd. The local recreation centers will be approached about the Rookie Rugby volunteers running a couple camps throughout the summer to keep rugby available and the community interested. In late August 2015 after meeting with the SD71’s Elementary School Athletic Board, Aimee Burley and Tony La Carte will be training and refreshing the teachers on the Rookie Rugby Curriculum to be able to deliver it in PE classes again once school begins. At the same time the Comox Valley Kickers will launch a 6-8 week in-house league leading into the Vancouver Island Rugby Union Mini and Youth Rugby seasons and again in January 2016. Three regions of the Comox Valley (Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland) will have their own ‘club’ name and colour open to children ages 5-13. Children will be placed onto each team and given their team shirt when they register based on school district breakdowns or other delineations and will have sufficient coaches assigned to each of the age categories. The teams will have sessions once a week in each of the areas and then all come together Sundays for games. The final Sunday will be a big bbq for the families which the Kickers are seeking out sponsorship for. After the league is complete, children wishing to play more continue into the mini/youth fall season with the Comox Valley Rugby Club.

Beaconsfield RFC — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

Beaconsfield RFC’s junior rugby programs was founded in 2008. In the past seven years, the program has grown from 35 players to approximately 200. This growth is attributed to BRFC’s emphasis on running professional programs and following their motto of Respect, Integrity, Acceptance and Commitment. Its strength lies in a collective effort: 15 dedicated coaches, a group of parent volunteers, and the addition of a paid Junior Coordinator position.

The local Youth Jamboree event invites teams from the Greater Montreal-area to play in a one-day 7s tournament held in Beaconsfield, Quebec. It is a day to showcase local teams and to provide their junior (U8, U10, U12, U14) girls and boys the opportunity to play against a variety of teams. The round-robin tournament sytle encourages sportsmanship in youth and playing for the love of the game.

Bridge the Gap 2014 Grants Announced

June 11th, 2014

The Canadian Rugby Foundation announced the successful applicants for the 2014 Bridge the Gap youth rugby grants. The Foundation awards grants to clubs that implement local or regional projects and or events that diminish barriers and make rugby more accessible to youth. The deadline for 2014 applications was April 30th, the application process is explained on the CRF website at: reading

Bridge the Gap 2014 Profiles: Bytown Blues RFC

The Bytown Blues from Ottawa have several projects planned for 2014 including a U12-U14 contact and mini flag festival in June, an expansion of the co-ed U12 program during the winter months and a mini program during the winter months.

A big part of the cost for winter programs is facility rental and some of the funds will be used to offset the costs of field rental under the Dome to make the program affordable for low-income families.

We wish the Bytown Blues success in their efforts to provide youth rugby programs all year round.