Bullying is a societal problem that is impacting individuals in all areas of school, work, sport, and home life. In the sporting world, there is a fine line between competitive play and bullying. Whether it’s from parents, players or coaches, disrespectful behaviour has become a growing concern in our gyms, swimming pools, rinks and on our playing fields.
In North America, 7 out of 10 youth quit organized sport by age 13. The number one reason for this mass exodus, according to youth, is the continuous yelling and criticism they must endure from their coaches and parents. The ‘fun’ in sport has been replaced by a ‘win at all cost’ attitude. Sadly, the cost of this attitude is an increase in dropout rates, an increase in childhood obesity, and an increase in youth mental illness. The correlation between a child’s participation in sports and a child’s overall well-being, whether it be at a recreational level or competitive level, is undeniable. We need to bring the fun back into organized sports, and the first step is to eliminate the stressors that are causing kids and families to drop out in the first place.
"I am very proud that myself and Sport Calgary are very supportive of Dare to Care and its programs. We understand the importance of mental health and confidence, and we know that sports can play a huge role in helping to strengthen that side. Dare to Care helps integrate the students, athletes, and the entire community so that our youth will be healthy in body, mind, and spirit."
— Catriona Le May Doan
2 Time Olympian, Double Gold Medalist Speed Skating
"The Dare to Care workshop was an excellent experience for our athletes. It kept them engaged throughout the three hours and gave them a lot of concrete information and steps to take in the event that they witness bullying. The exercises were also very impactful - I felt that having them see some of the things that their peers have experienced and felt was a very powerful."
" Thank you for your excellent parent workshop at Craigleith Ski Club. I have no doubt that your workshops with the young athletes were equally impressive. Your intelligent and effective strategies will provide our community with much needed tools to address this pernicious and ubiquitous problem. Dare to Care is doing good work for many."
"My eyes are forever opened to the issue of bullying. I did not know the difference between bullying and conflict. I had no idea of the prevalence of bullying in sports and the potentially devastating effects it can have on a team. The information and tools provided by Dare to Care will help foster a safe environment for all of our athlete’s to pursue personal excellence."
"Since Dare to Care, I have seen a lot of change on my team. Dare to Care brought us all together and made us feel more aware of how our actions and words can actually hurt others."
"I believe that Dare to Care reinforced the idea that if you see bullying, or are being bullied, you must go to a coach or a trusted adult. I’ve noticed a very positive environment around training with my teammates looking forward to practice without all the drama and distraction."
"Dare to Care had a big impact on me. I saw how some teammates have been affected by bullying and realize that I had been part of the problem. Dare to Care allowed me to fix some broken relationships."