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A sport for everyone: Ringette for All is getting anyone out on the ice

Ringette for All wants kids of various ages and abilities to get the benefit of playing a team sport.
A player and volunteer for Ringette for All test out their ringette sticks

For many, there are a number of barriers to participating in mainstream sport - physical or cognitive disability, financial difficulties or simply just new to Canada and new to organized sports.

Ringette for All is shedding those barriers and giving everyone an equal opportunity to participate in a team sport.

Kim Gurtler and her daughter Alexa started the program after attending an inclusion in sport summit and were inspired by how other sports were bringing opportunities to more kids.

"We heard from families who had never been able to find opportunities for their kids in sport or on a team," said Kim on The Sam Laprade Show with her daughter. "We also heard from a few different organizations who are providing these kinds of programs, and how incredible it was. Then we just thought this is something we need to do for ringette." 

Since 2018, the Gurtler's have been running the program, growing from seven to 15 players, ranging in age from five to 22.

The players get to participate in all the same activities of other organized sports like team parties and jersey day at their school.

"Which is something you take for granted," Kim said. "It's an incredible opportunity to provide that team environment that is so important for human development."

The program also benefits the parents. While the kids get to feel like part of a team, the parents develop a support system among each other, said Kim. 

Almost wholly supported by donations and grants, Ringette for All is always looking for new funding opportunities, seeking the help of volunteers and recruiting more players to join the program.

"We always want more players joining team," said Alexa, the team's head coach. "If you want to try just one practice, just one game, you can come out. We're super inviting. We want you guys to try it out.

"So if that's something someone out there thinks could be exciting for them or for their kid, please reach out and we will accommodate whatever is needed."

Those interested in participating or supporting the program can visit the Ottawa Ringette website and click on the 'Ringette for All' tab to learn more.

Listen to the full conversation with Kim and Alexa Gurtler on The Sam Laprade Show below.

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