The Leader-Post - Giving Us a Sporting Chance

Reviewed by: Rob Vanstone

Regina author Lynn Gidluck launches book on the history of Sask Sport

Lynn Gidluck of Regina has written a new book on the history of amateur sport in Saskatchewan.

Giving Us A Sporting Chance: The Story of Sask Sport” was launched Thursday at the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. In advance of the launch, Gidluck — a writer by profession and a partner in Regina-based Benchmark Public Relations — spoke with the Regina Leader-Post’s Rob Vanstone about the project, which was published by Coteau Books:

Why did you write the book?

“Ian Cook, who was the president of Sask Sport in 2008 and 2009, deserves the credit for convincing the board and management of the amateur sport federation of the need to record their history.

“Like many people in the amateur sport world, Ian thought Sask Sport was a government organization. He didn’t know it is actually a volunteer-led organization that runs the provincial lottery as a fundraiser for sport, culture and recreation.

“As Ian came to know more about Sask Sport and how unique the amateur sport system in Saskatchewan is, he became more intrigued. Like Ian, I had a hunch there was a good story to tell. I feel so fortunate to be the person granted the opportunity to write such an incredible story of community development.”

What is the main thing you learned about Sask Sport during the research and writing process?

“I came away from the project even more proud than I already was to be from Saskatchewan. Our province has a history of being innovative. Saskatchewan is the only place in North America and one of only five jurisdictions in the world where a voluntary sector organization operates and distributes the benefits of a large-scale provincial, state or national lottery.

“It is the only jurisdiction in the world where an amateur sport federation operates such a lottery as its funding mechanism and has a collaborative arrangement with the government to determine the priorities for this revenue.

“One thing that really surprised me was to learn how well Saskatchewan has done when it comes to aboriginal sport … I am convinced, after interviewing numerous aboriginal leaders who are active in the amateur sport community for my book, that Saskatchewan has much it can teach the rest of the country.”

How would you describe Sask Sport’s contribution to the provincial sporting landscape?

“There is still much that needs to be done to ensure all citizens in our province have access to quality sport, culture and recreation programming. However, I think Saskatchewan has an advantage because of the unique delivery model and how the government has empowered the volunteer sector.

“With Sask Sport there’s less bureaucracy than there would be if funding flowed from government instead of a non-profit organization. The programs are less expensive to administer and therefore more efficient. The volunteer sector, through Sask Sport, is also able to respond to new needs quicker than governments can.

“It is a great system that through the academic work I did for my PhD dissertation I prove is a model for how government can work collaboratively with communities to deliver better programs and develop better public policy.”

 

This article originally appeared in the Regina Leader-Post.

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