More Beneficiary Stories

Saskatchewan Trails Association

The Saskatchewan Trails Association (STA) is a non-profit, charitable organization that assists in building and maintaining trails in the province, including the Trans Canada Trail. The STA, which was incorporated in July 2004, is also mandated to increase trail usage and ensure that these trails remain sustainable for years to come.
"Trails are an important component of Saskatchewan's economy and lifestyle," says Curt Schroeder, President of the Saskatchewan Trails Association. "Trails attract tourists, hikers and cyclists to regions around the province every year, which results in economic spin-offs for local communities.. Trails are also key to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle, while helping to protect Saskatchewan's pristine environment."

The STA is currently striving to establish a Provincial Trails Strategy. This strategy would offer a clear guide for both governments and private stakeholders to follow on how to build and develop trails in the province. As part of this initiative, the STA will host a Provincial Trails Strategy Conference in Regina in April 2008 that will include, but not be limited to, trail-based sport and recreation groups, municipal and provincial government representatives and representatives from the governments of Alberta and Manitoba, who currently have a provincial trails strategy in place.

"Saskatchewan Lotteries is a vital financial contributor to our organization," said Schroeder. "Without this funding it would be much more difficult to develop trail in our province."

For either more information on the STA or to become a member email or visit

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Softball benefits from Saskatchewan Lotteries

Softball is a real hit in Saskatchewan, thanks to the dedication of Softball Saskatchewan, a provincial non-profit sport organization. With 22,000 members and approximately 1,100 teams throughout the province, Softball Saskatchewan is the Provincial Sport Governing Body for fast-pitch, slo-pitch, and softball.

The Softball Saskatchewan team consists of volunteers and three staff members at the provincial office in Regina. Together, the team works to develop and promote softball programs at all levels, from grassroots to the elite, from ages 4 to over 40.

One Softball Saskatchewan program is Blastball, for children from Kindergarten to Grade 2. Blastball introduces children to the sport of fastball. As part of the Blastball program, Softball Saskatchewan provides groups or schools with equipment kits and lesson plans.

Softball Saskatchewan also facilitates coaching clinics and umpire schools. Every year, the organization hosts the provincial championships, summer camps, and skills clinics for young athletes.

In order to run their many programs, Softball Saskatchewan relies on outside funding, especially from Saskatchewan Lotteries.  Guy Jacobson, Executive Director of Softball Saskatchewan, explains that the funding received from Saskatchewan Lotteries is "critical to the association."

"With support from Saskatchewan Lotteries, Softball Saskatchewan is able to offer a wide range of programs and develop them further, while continuing to encourage athletes, umpires, and coaches province-wide to participate," he says.

For more information, contact Softball Saskatchewan by visiting

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Pow Wow Lodge Program

Dawne Elles, a high school teacher in Regina, is helping children in the Cathedral Area use their energy and imagination to learn and have fun. Elles is the facilitator of the Pow Wow Lodge Program, a weekly workshop for at-risk children.

The program, hosted by Community Action Co-op Regina, is currently for children ages 5-11. "About 15 to 20 children attend every week and we cover three components of arts and crafts, leisure activities, and cultural experiences," says Elles.

Elles brings her own personal touch to the program, which is for children of all ethnic backgrounds. She uses her personal knowledge of Aboriginal traditions to teach children about beadwork, the four directions and the medicine wheel. The children also enjoy colouring and playing organized games at the workshops.

Elles sees first-hand the positive experiences the children are having at the Pow Wow Lodge program workshops. "The program is encouraging children to be involved in culture, sport, and art.  It is keeping them motivated to follow a good path in life," she says.

She also witnesses the exuberance of the children as they discover and create new things. "They often wish the sessions could be held every day of the week and they are always asking to do new activities."

The community is showing its support of the program and Elles is encouraged by the growing number of children attending the workshops. "The program is much appreciated by the community of the Cathedral Area because it provides a safe place where the children can learn," she explains.

Through the dedication of volunteers likes Elles, the Pow Wow Lodge program is making a difference in the lives of children in the Cathedral Area. Behind the scenes, Elles notes the important role of the program's sponsors, including Saskatchewan Lotteries. "We rely on funding from Saskatchewan Lotteries to make the Pow Wow Lodge Program possible," she says, adding that the funding the program receives goes towards materials, facility rental fees, and honorariums.

In the upcoming months, Elles is planning to begin workshops for youth from ages 12 to 18. With support from Saskatchewan Lotteries, Elles hopes to have special guests attend to teach activities such as designing beaded chokers, drumming, and moccasin making.

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Girl Guides of Canada Celebrate 100 Years

Saskatchewan Lotteries is pleased to support the Girl Guides of Canada in Saskatchewan. Girl Guides units across the province are some of the more than 12,000 volunteer sport, culture and recreation groups in Saskatchewan that receive financial support from the Lotteries Trust Fund, made possible by the sales of products such as LOTTO 6/49 and LOTTO MAX. Saskatchewan Lotteries congratulates the Girl Guides on the remarkable accomplishment of 100 years of excellence, exemplifying the power of voluntarism and service to fellow citizens that makes this province so special.

When Jo Ann Scott-Hodgins became a leader for the Girl Guides unit in Strasbourg 18 years ago, it was because she wanted her daughter to be involved in a program that was both exciting and challenging. Now, even though her daughter is no longer a member of the group, Scott-Hodgins continues to share her leadership and experience with young girls in her community.

“The Guiding program focuses on all the things we need to concern ourselves with as women,” says Scott-Hodgins, who is also serving her fourth of five years as the Public Relations Advisor for the Saskatchewan Girl Guides Council. “It gives girls opportunities to travel, do things outdoors, and to learn about the environment and have fun.”

The national organization for Guiding groups across the country, Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2010. Many of the more than 300 groups in Saskatchewan planned events to celebrate the centennial. For example, more than 1,200 girls and women came together in Moose Jaw this May. Seventy-two girls and women from Saskatchewan also attended Guiding Mosaic 2010 – an international camp held in Guelph, ON in July.

One of the first four Girl Guide groups in Canada was established in Moose Jaw in 1910, and met in the basement of the Zion United Church on Main Street. Current members celebrated the centennial with a sleepover event that featured a wide array of games and activities and a visit to the Western Development Museum. SaskTel Max featured the event and interviewed a woman who has been involved with Girl Guides for 60 years. The weekend brought young and old together, providing a new appreciation for the kinds of lifelong memories and friends that Guiding helps create.

And even though the look may have changed over the years – members can now wear pants and have their choice of several uniform shirts – the mission of Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada remains the same.

Girl Guides use a variety of age-appropriate activities to teach girls how to socialize, how to work together, have fun together, be confident, and how to make responsible and environmentally friendly decisions. Above all, Guiding provides opportunities for girls to have respect for themselves, others, and the world around them.

“The Promise has changed over the years to be more inclusive, so that all girls can feel that they can belong to Girl Guides of Canada,” reports Scott-Hodgins, whose unit recites the short pledge before every meeting. The point is to create an atmosphere of trust, acceptance, and security for a generation plagued by bullying and other sensitive issues.

Programming has also evolved to remain relevant and give members more choice. For example, today’s Girl guides may choose to learn cooking methods from past, present, and all around the globe – if they want to cook at all!

Changes in technology have had a major impact on the way people learn and communicate, and the Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada program addresses safety issues including internet safety and cyber bullying. Unit activities are many and varied, but focus on the environment, camping, hiking, active living, arts and culture, and inclusivity. Opportunities exist for travel locally, inter-provincially and to international places, while older members can apply for scholarships to pursue post-secondary education.

Scott-Hodgins takes pride that Guide leaders are aware of the issues faced by girls today. It is that responsiveness that allows Girl Guides to develop strong and positive programs that can really make a difference in the life of a girl.

She also realizes the Guides wouldn’t have made it this long without the support of people in Saskatchewan, including those who purchase the famous Girl Guide cookies or attend events and fundraisers organized by the groups. She is thankful for the financial contributions made by Saskatchewan Lotteries over the years.

These generous contributions have helped thousands of girls develop and grow from Sparks at age five to Rangers at 18. And as for Scott-Hodgins? “Oh, I’m in it for life.”

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The Dream Brokers Program

Many Saskatchewan children and youth face various social and economic challenges that prevent them from participating in extracurricular activities. The Dream Brokers program is changing that. 

“We work in selected schools to connect kids and their families to sport, culture and recreational activities,” said Dream Broker Laura Gessell.

The community-based program reduces barriers to participation in extracurricular activities by providing assistance with registration fees, transportation and equipment. The goal of the program is to get kids involved, no matter the barrier.

“I’ll go to hockey registration with the parents if they need me to. Some of these families aren’t from Canada, so our processes are confusing. I’m here to help them with that,” Gessell said. “I want the kids to be comfortable telling me what they would like to do. I’m more a friend than a teacher, despite working in the school.”

The Dream Brokers program was created by Sask Sport Inc. in partnership with SaskCulture Inc. and the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association Inc., who work together to support the program throughout Saskatchewan.  To do so, they work closely with sport, culture and recreation organizations to create partnerships within communities with the goal of educating service providers on the barriers that face inner city children and youth.  The Dream Brokers program is supported through ten school divisions, five sport, culture and recreation districts and 23 selected schools located in Saskatoon, Regina, Yorkton, Prince Albert and North Battleford.  The Dream Brokers work right in the school, focusing on children who face barriers to participation in healthy activities.

“Children living in core communities are much less likely to be physically active. We really need to give the core community access to the same activities,” said Samantha Mitchell, the Community Development Consultant with the Dream Brokers program.

“Saskatchewan Lotteries funding allows our program to exist and provides a foundation to build upon.  It’s because of this support that we can keep Dream Brokers employed in the schools. We’ve had so much success and have nearly 2,500 students touched by the program and over 4,000 opportunities provided,” Mitchell said.

This success comes from not only improving the physical literacy and activity levels, or encouraging expressiveness and a sense of self through cultural development opportunities for kids, but there is a social reward too.

“We are committed to sustaining the participation of children and youth in sport, culture and recreation activities. Participation in extracurricular activities is essential to advancing life skills, improving confidence, enhancing a sense of belonging and fostering pride in their accomplishments. That’s really what we’re trying to do,” Mitchell said.

According to Gessell, the benefits can be seen in the classroom too.

 “The program is improving how these kids perform at school. They are attending more and it gives them something to be proud of,” Gessell said. 

The reward for Dream Brokers like Gessell, on the other hand, comes from the kids.

“Getting to see the change in the students, watching them really come out of their shell and being proud of their accomplishments. That’s what really stands out,” Gessell said.

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Battleford Indian and Metis Friendship Centre

Two winters ago the youth and youth workers of the Battleford Indian and Metis Friendship Centre achieved an ambitious project. They set up a public rink in an empty lot beside the centre. The project was not simple by any means.

After much fundraising and initial planning, the group was able to purchase the materials for the rink. Then, for two days, the youth and youth workers set up the rink side boards. During the following two weeks, they creatively painted the boards with logos.

The youths' determination was rewarded, as they enjoyed the rink the entire skating season.  Saskatchewan Lotteries providing the Friendship Centre with funds to maintain the rink during the winter to assist with innovative.

Although there are no plans to set up the rink this winter, many other programs offered by the Friendship Centre, with funding assistance from Saskatchewan Lotteries, are benefiting Battleford youth.

Kathy Whitford, a coordinator at the Friendship Centre, said the centre and its programs aim to educate the youths "culturally and in their lifestyle choices." While the rink encouraged the youths to be physically active, other programs at the centre teach youth about basic life skills and their cultural heritage.

Recently, Whitford coordinated a series of cooking classes for youth. Classes were held three times a week, during which Whitford taught the youth about nutrition and kitchen sanitation. Whitford notes the important support of Saskatchewan Lotteries for the program, explaining that Saskatchewan Lotteries provided funds for food, facility rental costs, and staff wages.  About 10 to 15 youth from ages 12 to 17 attended the classes, with more attending during the winter months.  For Whitford, the highlight of the program was the final cook-off, a special event for the youth and their parents.  At the cook-off, the young chefs whipped up their creations for parents to enjoy.

Sewing classes recently offered at the Friendship Centre have connected the youth with their cultural heritage. Youth in the sewing classes learned how to make traditional powwow outfits, including jingle dresses and fancy dance dresses.  Saskatchewan Lotteries provided funding to make the sewing classes possible, including the machines and materials. Those who benefit from the centre's sewing program extend beyond the youth, as these machines are used by seniors in the community.

The Battleford Indian and Metis Friendship Centre plans to continue to access funding from Saskatchewan Lotteries to provide valuable programs to the youth.  Currently, Whitford is applying for funding for beading and moccasin making programs. To Whitford, the contributions of Saskatchewan Lotteries to the Friendship Centre are vital.

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Northern Festival Celebrates Métis Culture

Maria Campbell, a pioneer in the preservation of Métis culture, was one of the storytellers at the first Northern Saskatchewan Métis Dance, Music & Storytelling Festival in La Ronge on March 30, 2006. While reading from her book Stories of the Road Allowance People, she helped the audience members connect the modern realities of Métis life to a rich cultural heritage.

The audience, Métis and non-Métis, young and old, came to learn about the traditions and history of the Métis people. "The event brought traditional Métis culture and contemporary culture together and allowed us to showcase both up-coming and established Métis artists," explained Gabriel Thompson, Northern School and Community Recreation Coordinator at Gordon Denny School in Air Ronge. "It was a significant event. We don't often have an opportunity to celebrate Métis culture with the general public."

Throughout the day, school children explored Métis life, language and culture through music, storytelling, demonstrations and history lessons. That evening, they invited their parents, relatives and neighbours to join in the discovery and celebrations.

The evening event brought out a capacity crowd of over 250 to listen to the music and participate in other cultural activities. Musicians John and Vicki Arcand, Ralph Opikokew, Darwin Roy, Nosehare, Edmond Bell, Donald Halkett, Don Freed and Laura Burnouf each provided insight into the evolution of Métis music and culture. The Riel Reelers from Regina and the Stanley Mission Square Dancers had audience members tapping their toes and joining in the traditional dances. Storyteller Julius 'Bones' Park and writer Harold Johnson joined Maria Campbell to talk about the history and traditions of the Métis people.  Throughout the evening, a fashion show featured artifacts from the Batoche Métis Museum. Scott Duffee, a local sash weaver, explained the significance of the Métis sash and demonstrated the craft of weaving sashes.

Gabriel Thompson was one of the instigators and organizers of the event. As a Northern School and Community Recreation Coordinator, it is his job to involve community members, voluntary human services organizations and government agencies in the development and delivery of community-based programming. The program utilizes local schools as the "hub" of community programming both during and after school hours and facilitates community sport, recreation and culture opportunities in 25 schools in northern Saskatchewan. The program is funded by Saskatchewan Lotteries and managed by the Northern Recreation Coordinating Committee.

The Northern Saskatchewan Métis Dance, Music & Storytelling Festival was supported by Saskatchewan Lotteries; Jim Brady Development Corporation Inc.; Saskatchewan Métis Sports, Culture, Recreation & Youth Inc.; Gabriel Dumont Institute of Métis Studies and Applied Research Inc.; and Batoche Historic Site, Parks Canada, Gordon Denny Community School, Pre-Cam Community School, Churchill Community High School, Northern Entertainment Cooperative and Northern Women's Métis Association.

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Cycling is more than just bikes

Think cycling is just a matter of climbing aboard your bicycle and heading down the street or trails? That may be part of it, but for the Saskatchewan Cycling Association (SCA), it's a lot more. The SCA offers mountain bike and road racing, randonneuring, touring, safety programs and much more.

"With the funding we receive from Saskatchewan Lotteries, we are able to offer our members many opportunities that would not be possible otherwise," says SCA Executive Director Denise Eberle.

The association is always busy organizing and promoting many events.  Members were extremely active in organizing the cycling venue for last year's Canada Summer Games in Regina. Athletes and coaches are currently training for the 2007 Western Canada Summer Games in Strathcona County, Alberta.

From July 23-30, 2006, the SCA is hosting its Great Annual Saskatchewan Pedal (GASP), this year known as the Shamrock Tour.  GASP will begin and end in Prince Albert and make three loops, forming the shape of a shamrock.  GASP is a recreational event open to cyclists of varying ages, abilities and experience levels. "It's a great way to meet people, have some fun and have experiences with people who share similar interests," says Eberle.

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Water Polo keeps on swimming along

You might say that lottery funding keeps water polo enthusiasts playing in this province. Without it, says Jymmi Kaye Demchuk, the Executive Director of Water Polo Saskatchewan, the sport would be sinking.

Although it may not be the best-known sport in Saskatchewan, it's one of the best-loved for those who participate. Despite the relatively small number of clubs, Saskatchewan has a distinguished history of placing athletes on the national team.

"We spend our lottery funding in four areas," explains Demchuk. "These areas include: capacity, participation, excellence, and administration."

The association develops its capacity through such initiatives as volunteer recognition programs, board development initiatives and communication with the members.

Increasing participation is achieved through athlete camps, competitions, coaching and official education programs, and human resource development for club administrators. Special programs have been created to reach under-represented populations such as the aboriginal community.

"We partner in a program called Girl Power, which provides girls aged 8-13 of aboriginal heritage that opportunity to participate in a variety of water sports. We offer water polo, synchronized swimming, speed swimming, and diving. It basically gives them a taste for each sport over a six week period. We hope that some of them will eventually join a mainstream club," says Demchuk.

To foster excellence, the association provides advanced training for athletes, coaches and officials. Recently, Water Polo Saskatchewan organized a Long Term Athlete Development workshop for coaches, which ensured that its programs were structured to ensure they met the long term needs of athletes. One of the benefits of the workshop is that it provided a training program for high performance athletes between practices to help them achieve peak performances.

The administration portion of lottery funding is used to pay staff salaries and provide annual funding for clubs so they can continue to provide programs and services for people of every age and ability.

"Lottery funding is vital to our organization," says Demchuk. "We encourage everyone to buy their lottery tickets and keep sports like water polo afloat."

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