October 19, 2019

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KidSport helps pay kids' registration fees

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press
Matt Erhard volunteers with KidSport Winnipeg, the local chapter of a national organization that helps underprivileged children participate in sports.

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press Matt Erhard volunteers with KidSport Winnipeg, the local chapter of a national organization that helps underprivileged children participate in sports.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/4/2015 (1650 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Being involved in sports has always been important to Matt Erhard.

Growing up, the 31-year-old was an avid swimmer. He also coached the sport for many years, which led to exciting opportunities like being able to travel all over the country as part of his work with the Canada Games, as well as travel to Athens, Greece, in 2004 where he volunteered as part of the lifeguard team for the swimming competitions at the Summer Olympic Games.

Erhard owns Summit Search Group, a professional recruitment and executive search firm. When his work schedule demanded that he take a step back from coaching, he wanted to remain involved in sports.

Erhard began volunteering with KidSport Winnipeg, the local chapter of a national organization that helps underprivileged children participate in sports.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/4/2015 (1650 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Being involved in sports has always been important to Matt Erhard.

Growing up, the 31-year-old was an avid swimmer. He also coached the sport for many years, which led to exciting opportunities like being able to travel all over the country as part of his work with the Canada Games, as well as travel to Athens, Greece, in 2004 where he volunteered as part of the lifeguard team for the swimming competitions at the Summer Olympic Games.

Erhard owns Summit Search Group, a professional recruitment and executive search firm. When his work schedule demanded that he take a step back from coaching, he wanted to remain involved in sports.

Erhard began volunteering with KidSport Winnipeg, the local chapter of a national organization that helps underprivileged children participate in sports.

"For me, it's just such a natural fit to be involved with KidSport," Erhard said. "It gets kids off the street and gives them something to do and something to work toward. It benefits the entire community, not just the individual."

Today, Erhard is the chairman of KidSport Winnipeg, leading a working board that consists of about eight volunteers. Erhard and his fellow volunteers organize fundraisers that help pay for the registration fees of young athletes in the city.

Football, soccer and hockey are the main sports that KidSport contributes to, but all children under the age of 17 are eligible to receive funding for any sport recognized by Sport Manitoba. This means KidSport funds more than 70 different sports.

Last year, KidSport Winnipeg raised just over $160,000, which went to paying registration fees for more than 700 youth.

Erhard and his colleagues organize four or five large events throughout the year, as well as a handful of smaller ones.

This past November, KidSport held its first-ever soccer camp, run by Olympic bronze medal-winning soccer player Desiree Scott, which raised $15,000 in one day.

This year, the organization's showcase events include a two-day hockey camp for children and then a one-day golf tournament, both happening in June and both featuring Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets.

In addition to his work with KidSport, Erhard has participated in the CEO Sleepout, which brings awareness to the issue of homelessness in Winnipeg.

Erhard also volunteers on the Whiteshell Advisory Board, which makes decision that affect cottagers in the Whiteshell region.

"Being part of the business community, I enjoy giving back and getting to meet different people from different areas that I maybe don't come across in the business world," Erhard said.

He adds that hearing the stories of the way KidSport has impacted lives, and also seeing how excited young people get when they attend sports camps his committee has organized, keep him motivated to continue volunteering.

"Just to see the excitement on the kids' faces... I think that's what really makes it worthwhile," Erhard said.

"I've seen the benefit of what sport can do for people," he added. "For me personally, it's created the opportunity to volunteer at the Olympic Games. If I hadn't had that experience, it would have been unfortunate."

If you know a special volunteer, please contact

aaron.epp@gmail.com

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