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A collaborative approach to building positive youth development in sport, physical activity and recreation.

Our Goal

To build on the commitment and dedication within the SPAR sector to take a province-wide approach that results in a cultural shift in Alberta towards intentional positive youth development through sport.

Our Vision

All children and youth in Alberta have access to a grassroots recreational sport environment that fosters equity, diversity, inclusion, and builds positive youth development.

Our Mission

A provincial collaborative strengthening and building the capacity of organizations and communities to deliver quality, sports-based positive youth development programs to all children and youth in Alberta through engagement opportunities and resources.

Theory of Change

We believe that through multi-stakeholder collaboration and a system-wide approach we can reduce barriers to participation and support an environment of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Active Alberta Coalition

Guiding Principles

SPARC Alberta believes sport, physical activity and active recreation:

  • are a positive outlet for children and youth to enjoy.
  • are a fun way to learn valuable life lessons, and build important transferable skills.
  • provide the opportunity for high quality, positive experiences for everyone involved – participants, athletes, coaches, trainers, parents/guardians, spectators, officials, etc.
  • are important for all people to have access to, so they can connect with others and feel welcomed, included, respected, valued, and supported.
  • are a great way for children and youth to develop and stay healthy for life: physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, socially, creatively, culturally, and spiritually.
  • provide the opportunity for people to give back to their community.

About SPARC Alberta

Supported by the Makadiff Sports organization and the Government of Alberta, SPARC Alberta is a multi-stakeholder collaborative of partners in sport, physical activity, and recreation from across Alberta focused on supporting children and youth in accessing and participating in high quality, sport-based positive youth development opportunities.

Positive youth development is a strength-based approach to child and adolescent development based on the assumption that all youth have the potential for positive developmental change. It involves intentional efforts to develop interests, skills, and abilities that will enable youth to thrive, and promote positive outcomes through fostering positive relationships and providing opportunities to develop life sills.

In its 2019 survey of Albertans on culture and tourism, the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism, and the Status of Women found that more than 82% of Albertans believed that sport contributes to an improved quality of life (Alberta, 2019). However, youth sport is experiencing declining participation across the country and significant participation dropout across most sports. In addition, children and youth from lower-income families participate in fewer sports and less frequently than those of higher-income families.

Grassroots sport that is focused on positive youth development has several broad societal benefits including reduced crime rates, positive educational outcomes & wider health outcomes. Given the current pandemic and economic realities, we believe dropout and low participation trends will continue and possibly result in further significant declines in youth sport participation.

We can do better, and SPARC Alberta believes high-quality youth sport is an area for growth in our province. By teaching life skills, children & youth will not only perform better in SPAR environments but will also have better tools to successfully navigate situations and challenges outside of SPAR environments, thus finding greater success at home, school, and work, as well as in our communities. Together, we can create a culture of sport that embraces positive youth development and welcomes all children and youth to participate.


Want to find out more?

Email Project Coordinator CJ Blye for more information about SPARC Alberta.

Leadership Team

Heather Cowie

Community and Protective Services at City of Fort Saskatchewan

Steve Allan

Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

Brian Torrance

Ever Active Schools

Brad Babiak

Government of Alberta

Kerry Mummery

University of Alberta

Jen Leo

The Steadward Centre

James Rosnau

Athletics Alberta

Stuart Rose

City of Calgary

John Paton

Alberta Schools' Athletic Association

Laura Filipow

Spirit North

Jake Hendy

Indigenous Sport Council Alberta

Eoghan Curran

City of Edmonton

Richard Way

Sport for Life

Richard Way

Sport for Life

Gary Shelton

Edmonton Sport Council

Sue Hutton

Strathcona County Recreation, Parks and Culture