Post Secondary Education Support For Athletes
Athletes at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) are well prepared for life after sport thanks to tuition support provided by the Sport Canada Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) and services provided by the CSIC.
Sport Canada supports carded athletes in Calgary by paying for up to $5000 in education fees annually. The AAP contributes to athletes' "pursuit of excellence" and helps Canadian athletes combine their sport and academics. This program also allows athletes to bank their tuition support for use once their athletic careers are completed thus eliminating the pressure to take full time classes while they are in the midst of training and competing.
For Calgary-based athletes, the AAP is enhanced by services provided by the CSIC. Jan Crook, an Academic Advisor with a strong background in sport is able to understand the athletes' needs and the complexity of managing being an athlete and student. Crook, a Registered Psychologist, has worked with CSIC athletes for over fifteen years helping them with career, academic, and retirement planning. She sees supporting athletes through post-secondary education as "an important service and program for them to have access to. One of the things we know is that an athlete's career will end. Preparing for that inevitability helps athletes focus more on their sport knowing their future is being taken care of. They are also creating an important balance in their life."
The CSIC provides additional support by giving students access to computers and printers at both their Canada Olympic Park and University of Calgary facilities. This allows student-athletes to take care of all of their needs in one place, eliminating the need to rush home in order to get work done between workouts and classes. To further enhance the chance of success, the CSIC offers financial support towards tutoring when athletes miss classes due to busy training and competition schedules.
With an emphasis on education, the Canadian Sport Institute Network (Canada wide CSI's) launched the Game Plan Program in 2014. Game Plan allows athletes to receive individualized assistance creating education plans so that they have a direction for their future. One of Game Plan's Career Advisors is Cara Button. Button's proximity to the athletes allows them to have access to ongoing individual guidance and encourages coaches and support staff to have a better understanding of the importance of incorporating education into an athlete's yearly training plan and daily training environment.
Balancing life as an athlete while preparing for retirement is a difficult task. This unique tuition support makes the task more manageable. Athletes such as 6-time Olympic Medallist Cindy Klassen know that they are fortunate to have such a strong system in place. Klassen notes, "Throughout my career I worked towards earning a degree. I am grateful for the support I have received from AAP in assisting me with my tuition fees. This support allowed me to work towards a degree without the added burden of academic costs. Thanks to the CSIC's services, I also had access to academic advisor Jan Crook, who was instrumental in helping me navigate my way through program and course selections. I feel very fortunate to have the support I needed to bring my degree to completion!"
From the athletes in Calgary, "Thank you Sport Canada."
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto