It was a sea of red yesterday (August 23) at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre for the 5th annual Jumpstart games. 

The day was filled with physical activity and encouraged kids of all abilities to embrace a healthy, active lifestyle by introducing them to some sports they may never have tried. Jumpstart brought out 300 kids ages 4-13 from the Cochrane area this year who took advantage of the great free event.

The partnership between Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, and Marks always receives raves by both parents and youth.

Chris Birch, General Manager for Cochrane Canadian Tire, shares hearing the kids praise makes the day worth it. "One of my favourite parts of doing this is at the end of the day having kids come up and thank us and really show their appreciation for what we and the volunteers do throughout the day to make it enjoyable for them."

The youth had an opportunity to check out the bouncers, basketball, badminton, soccer, floor hockey, free play and activities with the Cochrane Fun Van. Over the five year period, Birch, has watched the event grow three-fold in participation and each year the team tries to tweak the event. "Each year we try to incorporate different games and try to make small enhancements here and there. So every year it's a little bit different."

Since 2011, Canadian Tire has given back over $200,000 to the community, with 100% of the donations going toward helping families afford sports they may otherwise not have been able to. "It's a great program, and it's a great way to get kids active and involved in sport."

The children were also treated to lunch and a free backpack stuffed with goods which Birch hopes commemorates the day.