Squash Canada announces additional recipients of the IDEA Encouragement Fund

Squash Canada is delighted to announce additional recipients of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Encouragement Fund, supported by the Government of Canada and Sport Canada’s Community Sport for All Initiative Fund.

The IDEA Encouragement Fund was established to promote participation in squash within Canada of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), people living with disabilities (both visible and invisible), girls and women, LGBTQIA2S+, religious minorities, New Canadians, those who are neurodiverse, and other marginalized communities based on their ethnicity, socio-economic status, or other identity factor. The fund supports stakeholders looking to develop new and/or expand current initiatives that build capacity for inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in squash.

The following programs will be receiving financial support through the IDEA Encouragement Fund:

  • ‘Women and Teen Girls’ and ‘Junior’ Programs – Mount Royal University

The ‘Women and Teen Girls’ program will introduce squash to first-time players, some of whom are New Canadians. The ‘Junior’ program will build on the current Junior Squash foundation and introduce squash to the youth of neighbouring communities. Both MRU programs will be steppingstones, encouraging participants to continue with programs such as MRU Box League, Interclub team, and Squash Alberta tournament play.

“The Mount Royal University (MRU) Squash Club is overjoyed to partner with Squash Canada’s IDEA Encouragement Fund…Funds from IDEA will be directed towards developing proper technique and tactics, all the while enabling fun through games and condition drills.” – Tanya Simpson, MRU

  • ‘Teen Girls Make a Racquet’ – Pickering Squash Club

Focusing on getting teen girls to try squash, this four-week program is aimed at introducing and improving on the fundamentals of the game: basic strokes, court movement, and game play. Participants will be given a variety of options to continue playing after the formal instructional sessions are done.

“I am so excited to be able to offer this program in partnership with the Pickering Squash Club. The research is irrefutable. Female participation drops steadily throughout adolescence, preventing girls from accessing all of the social, emotional, and physical benefits sport has to offer. This program will give teen girls a safe, connected place to learn a new sport that can bring them lifelong opportunities for fun, fitness, and friendship.” – Alison Le Ber, Pickering Squash Club

  • ‘Women in Squash – The Sqauashabout Experience’ – Squashabout

The program involves running five sets of beginner classes geared towards women who have never played squash before. Each group of participants will have four group classes (one per week) in squash culminating with round robin games with all of the participants during the 5th week.

“The number of women playing squash has always historically been much lower than the number of men. We plan to help change this through our introductory programs for women at Squashabout.” – Bryan Chin, Squashabout

  • ‘Intro to Squash Open House’ – LA Fitness (Don Mills, Kennedy, and Warden)

A program focusing on BIPOC and low-income communities by providing them with an opportunity to experience the game of squash without any barriers. LA Fitness will be allowing people in the community to come in on two-week passes to discover the squash courts located in their Scarborough and North York area. Free access, intro to squash classes, and with loaner equipment provided.

“Squash in the Scarborough and North York communities has been completely underserved for many years due to the closing of multiple clubs/courts. Many New Canadians, ethnically diverse families, and low-income households settle in these communities without ever knowing about the game and their proximity to courts. Partnering with Squash Canada, LA Fitness will be able to provide a great opportunity for those in the community to either rediscover squash or experience the game for the first time without the barriers of membership and equipment.” – Keln Squash, Head Squash Pro at LA Fitness

  • ‘Introduction and coaching of squash for women and girls of biracial and colored background’ – Edmonton Squash Club

The Edmonton Squash Club will be providing women and girls of biracial and coloured background the opportunity for high quality coaching sessions. Their goal is to introduce the game of squash, build skills, and increase the confidence of a new generation of players.

“I am so happy to be working with the Edmonton Squash Club on launching this initiative – there will be so many recipients! We can’t thank Squash Canada enough for the support; this will serve our community well and help grow the sport.” – Nelson Fong, Edmonton Squash Club

  • ‘Ladies Learn to Play’ – Moncton Squash Club

This program will be offered to ladies who are new to the sport of squash. The main program lead will be a Certified Coach  who will provide the instruction, supplemented by the Club Manager who will offer semi-private lessons. In addition to the squash learning environment, the participants will be exposed to networking opportunities from among the other participants.

“We’re looking forward to our upcoming initiative at the Moncton Squash Club to introduce the sport to new faces in the local area and appreciate the funding assistance from Squash Canada under its IDEA Encouragement Fund and the support provided by the Government of Canada.” – John Redding, Moncton Squash Club

  • ‘New Canadian Squash Initiative’ and ‘Program for Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities’ – Peterborough Squash Club

The New Canadian Squash Initiative will partner with the New Canadian Centre – Peterborough to provide memberships and a chance to learn squash, socialize, and have fun through lessons and programs. The program for Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities is an opportunity to provide recreation and community connections through squash/squash57 got young adults and adults with developmental disabilities.

“The Peterborough Squash Club and the New Canadian Centre – Peterborough are pleased to be able to provide this much needed opportunity for activity and feel welcomed to a new community. The support of Squash Canada’s IDEA Encouragement Fund has allowed us to continue and expand working with community agencies for fun and social activities.” – Ray Kerslake, Peterborough Squash Club

  • ‘Squash Without Borders’ – Cedar Springs Club

This initiative will significantly expand on the current Power Kids program at Cedar Springs, bringing in new participants from diverse backgrounds and introducing them to the sport of squash.

“We are very excited to accept the funding from the IDEA Encouragement Fund through Squash Canada. It is amazing that we can give more kids the opportunity to play squash that normally wouldn’t be in a position to afford it. Thank you very much Squash Canada!” – Reiko Peters, Cedar Springs Club

  • ‘Urban Squash – Waterloo’ – Greystone Racquet Club

The Urban Squash Waterloo program aims to provide squash opportunities to youth from underserved communities as well as provide academic assistance at no cost to the participants.

“Greystone Racquet Club is extremely pleased to have been approved for the Squash Canada IDEA Encouragement Fund program. This support will allow us to host a large squash event for under served youth and provide them with a fun, safe, athletic day of court activities.” – Geoffrey Lucas, Greystone Racquet Club

  • ‘Women Supporting Women in Squash’ – Nelson Squash Club

The program will allow new squash participants, particularly female newcomers to Canada, access to a social and active women’s night. Childcare will also be provided to those that require it.

“The Nelson Squash Club is honoured to receive support from Squash Canada’s IDEA Encouragement Fund. This fund will allow us to introduce squash to women who have had barriers in the past to try our sport. We are excited to provide moms another option to get more involved in safe and social sport environment without worrying about childcare.” – Rebecca Vassilakakis, Nelson Squash Club

  • ‘Women’s Beginner Squash Clinic’ – CW Racquet Club

The beginners clinic will offer first time squash participants equipment, lessons, and a fun learning environment.

“We are very excited to receive this funding. Like many clubs, we have had a tough couple of years, and, thanks to this funding, we are very happy to welcome new women to experience our great squash community while learning squash/ as a female squash instructor, I love sharing my experiences and expertise with other women and I really hope I will be able to inspire them to continue to play and love the game.” – Leah Desbarres, CW Racquet Club

  • ‘Beginner/Intermediate Weekend Squash Clinic for Girls and Women’ – Yellowknife Racquet Club

This clinic will encourage women and girls of all levels to play squash. It will serve as an introduction for new players and as skill building for intermediate players. Participants will be given the opportunity to meet new friends and get active.

“The Yellowknife Racquet Club is thrilled to receive funding from Squash Canada’s IDEA Encouragement Fund. Women’s/girl’s squash is growing in Yellowknife and this clinic will help to engage new players, as well as enhance the experience of current players. We have an incredible squash community and are excited to see it grow.” – Karen Depew, Yellowknife Racquet Club

  • ‘Squash Coaching, ‘Squash Equipment’, and ‘Tournament Success’ – Urban Squash Toronto

The Urban Squash Toronto program aims to provide squash opportunities to youth from underserved communities as well as provide academic assistance at no cost to the participants.

“We are overwhelmed with excitement to have been chosen to receive Squash Canada’s IDEA Encouragement Fund! We have recently recruited over 40 new students to the Urban Squash Toronto program this year alone. This initiative allows Urban Squash T.O. to hire a squash coach that can be onsite with our youth each day, provide new students with squash equipment, and bring more of our star players to squash tournaments around the city throughout the year. Thank you, Squash Canada! We appreciate you.” – Andrenella Browne, Urban Squash Toronto

  • ‘Introduction to Squash – Junior Girls’ and ‘Introduction to Squash – Women’ – YYC Squash Academy

The Junior Girls program is an introduction to the game of squash in a fun, social atmosphere with an emphasis on basic skills and rules. The Women’s program will learn the basis of squash while having fun and getting fit. It will be a relaxed, social atmosphere with a focus on basic skills and rules to have you playing as soon as possible.

“I am excited to be able to promote squash as a fun game for life. The gap between the number of females to males playing squash is substantial. Being able to offer a free program helps by taking, at least, the financial barrier away.” – Arthur Hough, YYC Squash Academy

  • ‘Ladies Squash Intro Night’ and ‘Girls Squash Intro Night’ – Regina Squash Centre

Ladies Squash Intro Night and Girls Squash Intro Night are new initiatives at Regina Squash Centre to offer women and young girls a way to learn and play squash in a girls-only environment. Both Intro Nights will be primarily coached by female role-models. The goal is to offer young girls and women a safe and encouraging pathway into squash.

“Unfortunately, one in every three girls quit organized sport by the time they reach adolescence, which is why the long-term goal for the intro nights is to offer squash to as many young girls and adult women as possible and keep them engaged in squash through adolescence and their adult life. Thank you, Squash Canada, for the opportunity!” – Thomas King, Regina Squash Centre

  • ‘Urban Squash Quebec’ – Squash Capitale-Nationale

The Urban Squash Quebec program aims to provide squash opportunities to children from underserved communities as well as provide academic assistance at no cost to the participants.

“Our Urban Squash program offers young people from underprivileged backgrounds the chance to discover the game of squash in an introductory activity directly at their elementary school! Participants will then be selected to have the chance to play squash once a week, in addition to receiving academic assistance. Thank you, Squash Canada, for the financial support offered through the IDEA Encouragement Fund!” – Maxime Blouin, Director Squash Capitale-Nationale

  • ‘Women’s Doubles Squash Development – Bring a Friend Day’ – T&D Women’s Squash Association

These events will support both social and skill development for women that are new to the T&D league and/or to doubles squash and aims to create a sense of community through the encouragement and development of new and emerging women’s doubles squash players in Toronto. ‘Bring a Friend Day’ and will include coaching and refereeing lessons.

“We are excited to offer this free opportunity to new players. Thank you for your support!” – Kirsteen Burton and Joanne Maxwell, T&D Women’s Squash Association

  • ‘Tournament Success’ – McGill Squash Club

This initiative will provide participants with new opportunities to support underserved groups, improve their own ability, and build confidence.

“This initiative will allow our team to travel to new, out of town tournaments and compete. For many members, this will give them the opportunity to compete at the University level for the first time.” – Anika Kurji, McGill Squash Club

  • ‘Try Squash’ program – Northern Secondary School

Northern Secondary School’s ‘Try Squash’ program will work with student leaders in diverse communities to bring squash to a new generation. Student leaders will team up with diverse clubs within the school to invite all their students to try squash.

“Northern is so grateful to be receiving funding from the IDEA Encouragement Fund. We are grateful to Bryan Chin and Squashabout which will host our initiative. Thank you to Squash Canada for allowing Northern to benefit from this program. We look forward to what the growth of our sport will bring to our school and community.” – Daniel Gana, Northern Secondary School

Squash Canada is currently accepting applications for the IDEA Encouragement Fund (Read More). For questions or more information, please contact Emily Hall (programs@squash.ca).