Now that hibernation is over, and the change in the weather is improving our seasonal affective disorders, if you feel like coming out of your winter den and supporting some local Winnipeg initiatives, there is something for everyone during the month of May.
Starting on May 17 at Investors Group Field, Kidsport Winnipeg will be hosting their fourth annual skills and drills football camp. A number of current and retired CFL players will be taking around 75 kids through all the elements of a football combine, as well as position-specific fundamental drills and exercises, at zero cost to eligible Winnipeg youth.
The Kidsport mandate is "So all kids can play" and that is exactly what this not-for-profit organization aims to do.
Too often today, with the escalating costs of registration and equipment, many families simply don't have the disposable income to register their children in team activities. Kidsport believes "no kid should be left on the sideline, and all should be given the opportunity to experience the positive benefits of organized sport."
Since 2004, more than $1 million has been spent helping more than 4,000 local kids participate in sports they might not otherwise have access to.
You don't have to have been a professional athlete to understand the benefits team activities can have on today's youth. Not only does organized sport teach kids discipline, work ethic, camaraderie and teamwork, it is also a healthy and productive escape and outlet for many that would otherwise fill their time with less productive pursuits.
Kidsport is an organization that has identified a vehicle for positive change and is eliminating barriers to get as many kids involved as possible. For more information, to support, help out or register, go to www.kidsportcanada.ca.
On May 24, if you like to make some noise with your charitable endeavours, you can literally change gears with the sixth annual Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad. The event raises money for prostate cancer research and education, and all of the money raised in Manitoba stays in Manitoba.
You may have heard of this event -- how could you not hear more than 1,000 motorcycles thundering down Portage Avenue together? -- but what you probably don't realize is 1.2 million men in Canada currently have prostate cancer, and 80 per cent of those men aren't aware of it because they haven't been tested.
In 2013, the ride raised just over $189,000 to fight and bring awareness to prostate cancer. This year, the goal is $200,000 and more than the 1,002 riders who participated last year. You can register online or simply make a pledge at www.ridefordad.ca/manitoba.
Finally, if you aren't the hard-charging biker type -- or even if you are -- buy a ticket or table to the inaugural Operation Walk gala dinner, being held May 29 at the Gates on Roblin.
As documented in the Free Press last year, Operation Walk is a not-for-profit volunteer medical service organization that "provides surgical treatments to patients in developing countries who have little or no care for arthritis or other debilitating bone and joint diseases."
For a third consecutive year, a group of doctors, nurses and health-care professionals from Winnipeg will volunteer their time and expertise to fly to Managua, Nicaragua and perform upwards of 50 knee-replacement surgeries in less than a week's time. The work they do literally changes the lives of people in this developing community who have not been able to walk without pain -- or walk at all -- in years.
All of the funds raised at the dinner are 100 per cent directed to the mission that will take place in November. As a further enticement there will be a live band, a live auction, the world's tallest M.C. and numerous prizes to be won.
For more information about the Operation Walk gala dinner or to purchase tickets, please call 204-661-7156.
Doug Brown, once a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears Tuesdays in the Free Press.