< Back

News Release

March 12, 2008

$8.87 million Invested in Rural Projects

New funding supports quality of life and active lifestyle initiatives


Tofield
– Rural Alberta’s Development Fund (RADF) announced funding today of $8.87 million for six rural Alberta projects. Many of the projects will help youth, seniors and communities become more active.


The largest contribution - $4.5 million - went to the Alberta Active/Creative Communities Initiative. It will improve the quality of life in rural Alberta by strengthening community leadership, collaboration and innovation in recreation, parks, culture, heritage and the arts. The non-profit Alberta Recreation and Parks Association will lead the three year endeavour.


The Aboriginal Sport Capacity project will enable Métis and First Nations recreation directors, coaches, teachers and other community leaders to work towards improving the quality of life for Aboriginal youth through healthy lifestyle options. Funding provided to the Physical Culture Association of Alberta for an Older Adult Active Living Project will result in more physical activity and active living programs for older adults who live in rural seniors housing.


The Friends of the Westwind Rodeo Academy have received support to enable the new rodeo school in Cardston to be self-sustaining. Support for a Boreal Education Strategy means Grade 4-12 students and teachers in remote parts of Alberta can access specialized environmental responsibility and economic development programming from the Inside Education Society of Alberta. A Municipal Sustainability Planning project funded by RADF will arm rural communities with the skills and knowledge they need to maximize locally available resources and assets.


“We are happy to become a funding partner of these projects at a critical time of their development. With our help, the prospects are good that they will become sustainable,” commented Bob Clark, RADF chair.


Rural Alberta’s Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. It is funded by the Government of Alberta and is a key implementation initiative of Alberta’s Rural Development Strategy. More information is available at www.ruralalbertasfund.com


- 30 -


Direct media enquiries to:

Godfrey Huybregts, Director of Communications, Rural Alberta’s Development Fund
T: 1.877.940.7233
C: 780.953.0525

BACKGROUNDER

Summary of Approved Projects


March 12, 2008


ALBERTA ACTIVE/CREATIVE COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE

Fund contribution is $4.5 million


This unique initiative will improve the quality of life in rural Alberta by strengthening community leadership, collaboration and innovation in recreation, parks, culture, heritage and the arts. Rural residents will be helped with resources, training and coaching to recognize local community assets and maximize potential benefits. A fundamental element of this three year endeavour will be to nurture and encourage existing, emerging and next generation leaders to implement innovations that will lead to more active and creative communities.


The Alberta Recreation and Parks Association will lead the initiative. They are supported by CanWest Global, EnCana, Trendspire, RETHINK West and community matching grants. Twenty communities will participate in the first leg of what is expected to become a permanent program. The cost to each community is $40,000.


Expected results include:

  • Clear direction and priorities amongst residents for how to become an active and creative community.
  • Increased community capacity and leadership development.
  • Increased collaboration amongst government, corporate, non-profit and voluntary sectors.
  • Improved quality of life in rural Alberta.


Contact: Rick Curtis, Executive Director, Alberta Recreation and Parks Association.
T: 780.415.1745
rcurtis@arpaonline.ca
Website: www.arpaonline.ca


ABORIGINAL SPORT CAPACITY

Fund contribution is $1.04 million


This project will enable Métis and First Nations recreation directors, coaches, teachers and other community leaders to work towards improving the quality of life for Aboriginal youth through healthy lifestyle options. RADF’s investment will result in the creation of sustainable supports such as training manuals, an on-line resource information centre and technical advisors.


Led by the Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta, the project will also assist local groups and leaders to develop long-term sport and recreation sustainability plans for their settlements or reserves. Supporters of the project include Treaty 6, 7 and 8, Métis Settlements General Council of Alberta, Canadian Native Friendship Centre of Alberta, Alberta Recreational Facility Personnel Association, Sport Canada and three Alberta Government departments.


Expected results include:

  • More Aboriginal youth involved in sport and active lifestyles - leads to healthier lifestyles, reduced depression, increased self-esteem, better academic performance and fewer high school dropouts.
  • More qualified coaches in Aboriginal communities throughout Alberta.
  • More capacity for Aboriginal communities to develop and self-support sport and recreation activities leading to improved quality of life.

Contact: Ted Hodgson, Executive Director, Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta.
T: 780.585.3343
iscal@telusplanet.net


OLDER ADULT ACTIVE LIVING PROJECT

Fund contribution is $55,000


Funding provided to the Physical Culture Association of Alberta for this project will result in more physical activity and active living programming for older adults who live in rural seniors housing. A new 10-hour certification course will be developed and delivered as a pilot to 20 communities throughout rural Alberta.


If successful, the course will be made available to service providers, leaders and volunteers in communities across the province.
Project supporters include the Alberta Centre for Active Living, City of Spruce Grove, Be Fit for Life Centres, North Peace and Yellowhead Tribal Councils, Frog Lake Morning Sky Health and Wellness Society, Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife and several regional health authorities.


Expected results include:

  • Improved well-being, function, health and independence in older adults.
  • The needs of seniors within their own housing situations are met.
  • New training and resources for local people who are able and willing to provide the service.


Contact: Lesley McEwan, Executive Director, Physical Culture Association of Alberta
T: 780.415.1744.
Lesley.mcewan@ualberta.ca
Website: www.physicalculture.ca


WESTWIND RODEO ACADEMY

Fund contribution is $1.53 million


This Friends of Westwind Rodeo Academy project will enable a rodeo school at Cardston High School to become self-sustaining. Begun in 2007, a core goal of the Academy is to achieve accreditation with Alberta Education and program liaison with post-secondary institutions like the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College. This would increase the attractiveness of the school and ease transferability of the program to other communities in Alberta.


Westwind Rodeo Academy combines education, horsemanship and rodeo to give Grade 10-12 students the opportunity to focus on their passion while completing high school. The funding support will enable a secondary riding program to be offered to K-12 students, special needs children and seniors. In addition to education institutions, project partners include the Westwind School Division, Cardston Agricultural Society, the Town of Cardston and various area businesspeople and residents.


Expected results include:

  • 100 students enrolled in the Academy by 2010.
  • Increased and stabilized Cardston High School enrolment.
  • A self-sustaining rodeo school program.
  • Increased economic activity in Cardston and surrounding area.
  • New career and educational development opportunities, resulting in retention of more young people in the community.


Contact: Randy Jensen, Vice-Principal, Cardston High School.
T: 403.653.4951
randy.jensen@westwind.ab.ca
Website: www.westwindrodeoacademy.com


BOREAL EDUCATION STRATEGY

Fund contribution is $260,000


RADF’s support of this pilot project will enable the Inside Education Society of Alberta to provide - for the first time - its environment and natural resource education programs to Grade 4-12 students in remote parts of northern Alberta. The Edmonton-based Society is a 22-year-old education centre that teaches the relationship between environmental responsibility and economic development.


The Boreal Education Strategy will consist of classroom presentations, interactive field tours, classroom resources and professional development workshops for teachers. Twenty schools including six in Aboriginal communities will be included in the pilot. They will be chosen from remote school divisions such as Northern Lights, Northland, Aspen View, Fort McMurray, and Big Stone Cree Nation. Project partners include the Alberta Forest Products Association, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, Devon Canada and Energy in Action.


Expected results include:

  • Increased environmental/natural resource knowledge and learning tools for students in the boreal region.
  • Improved ability amongst teachers to teach curriculum material regarding the environment and natural resources in a more meaningful way.
  • Creation of semi-permanent field sites to help students learn about the natural environment.


Contact: Steve McIsaac, Executive Director, Inside Education Society of Alberta.
T: 780.421.1497
smisaac@insideeducation.ca
Website: www.insideeducation.ca


MUNICIPAL SUSTAINABILITY PLANNING

Fund contribution is $1.48 million


This project will arm rural communities with the skills and knowledge they need to develop effective municipal sustainability plans. These plans will maximize available resources and blueprint actions to be taken to move a community in its desired direction.


Several learning tools, training sessions and pilots have already been developed by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, which initiated this project. RADF’s contribution will be used to build upon earlier work and generate sufficient capacity for communities to build their own plans. Other partners include the Alberta Municipal Service Corporation and towns and cities participating in this project.


Expected results include:

  • Increased ability of rural communities to plan and implement sustainable programs in key areas like leadership and development.
  • Better understanding among elected officials and municipal staff of the connection between social, cultural, economic, environment and governance aspects of sustainability
  • Creation of more rural community municipal sustainability plans.
  • Knowledge transfer from one community to another.

Contact: Sue Welke, Director, Policy and Advocacy, AUMA
T: 780.431.4531
swelke@auma.ca
Website: www.auma.ca