Calgary Rotary Challenger Park will be recognized for operating a state-of-the-art centre that uniquely serves the nonprofit sector in the greater Calgary area while utilizing the best barrier-free sport and recreation facility. It will be financially sustainable, fully utilized and embraced by the community.
Concept Video of the Centre
HOW WILL THIS
How will Calgary improve the quality of life for ALL who live and are moving here? The Calgary that gets things done will! One of the ways to approach this is by structuring the support network to maximize efficiency and minimize duplication. That is a tall order in any city, but there is a project in Calgary that is willing to take a lead in pursuing this approach.
It is called the Centre for All Abilities (CAA) at Calgary Rotary Challenger Park, located at 48th Avenue N.E. and 36th Street N.E., virtually in the centre of the northeast quadrant of Calgary. The Park was created from the vision of Rotarians in Calgary and Airdrie to provide a barrier-free sports facility for all Calgarians, but especially those with disabilities. The Park has hosted over 500,000 visits from over 80 different organizations over the last 10 years! That is pretty impressive considering the Park is primarily an outdoor venue with a season that runs from May to October each year. The Park has served groups as well-known as the Special Olympics Calgary to Challenger Little League, and even was a venue for a tour from the newly married Royals in 2011!
Where the Magic happens
This next step is where the magic will happen – by bringing together a diverse group of nonprofit organizations, under one roof. They will continue to serve their distinct communities and stakeholders, but will have the opportunity to cost-share, collaborate on common operational tasks and enjoy a significant reduction in rent (of at least 40% off current market value in the NE quadrant of Calgary). On top of those benefits, there will be the free parking for clients, guests and staff and long-term leases that will provide a significant level of stability and certainty.
This opportunity will bring together schools who serve the physical and mentally challenged, seniors who are looking to actively fill their day, new Canadians who look to their new community for guidance and a supportive hand, families who fall on hard times and need a hand-up to re-establish their family’s stability. It is our hope that young teenagers with autism, who are looking for a new Clubhouse, will be able to get together and use the Centre as their base. This will provide them with time outside their homes so their caregivers receive some time off as well – we really do have the beginnings of something really magical.
The crossover between groups is where the potential power of this project lies – in bringing together the separate, and distinct entities that have in common their nonprofit status and their desire to do good. Imagine seniors helping out the children in the schools or teaching how to cook Canadian food to new Canadians! How cool would it be for young people with autism, with few, if any employment options, put to work in a social enterprise within the Centre structure that serves all organizations? To mobilize a young person who has a disability, and can contribute in an important way, day in and day out, is creating a life of purpose that we all seek in our lives.
The Centre For All Abilities will create the synergies that society expects from the nonprofits in our community. To operate at a “best practice” level and also add value is a bonus for all! With the philosophy of Rotary woven into the Park’s DNA, the Board of Calgary Rotary
Calgary Challenger Rotary Park
Challenger Park drives the collective mindset to always consider the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self”. From its early development to provide playing areas that are easy to access, the Park strives to live that motto everyday.
The Centre is the next logical extension of this commitment to serve Calgary with a paradigm-changing space that encourages collaboration, social enterprise and opportunity. The opportunity to build something that does not exist in Calgary yet. It is similar to the Beltline’s Kahanoff Centre in its philosophy. The Centre will serve so many Calgarians, both old and new, while providing a location in the heart of the North East, accessed by a proposed dedicated route from Westwinds LRT station.