Every year in August, The Royal Canadian Legion in partnership with Athletics Canada, sponsors a national track and field competition for young athletes between the ages of 14 to 17. This is the only competition of its kind in Canada with an alumnus that boasts a good majority of our Nation’s Olympians.
The BC/Yukon Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary will host the 2013 and 2014 Championships at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley, BC, August 9, 10 and 11 beginning this year. Over 1,000 youth athletes, the best of the best, will compete for Medal standing and an opportunity of a lifetime.
Now the Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary has just received official support from the B.C. Government for this exciting project.
Competition and Camaraderie
The Legion National Youth Track & Field Championship is an opportunity of a lifetime for young Canadians. Young athletes from different parts of the country and from diverse backgrounds come together for spirited competition and discover new, lasting friendships.
Competition and camaraderie is embodied in the official Athletes’ Oath:
“…On behalf of all athletes assembled here, we promise we will take part in the Legion Nationals in a spirit of pure competition and fair play, for the honour of our country, for the glory of sport and in remembrance of those whose sacrifices have made this possible…”
Canada’s Young Olympians will:
- benefit from rigorous training
- strive for personal bests with tenacity, strength and endurance
- vie for prominence among vigorous provincial team competition
- earn admiration and respect
- enjoy enduring friendships
Celebrate these days of your youth, as they will bring you great joy as time passes.
The Legion National Youth Track & Field Championships began after the First World War. Thousands of children were left fatherless from the chaos. The Legion took it upon itself to teach their young charges through developing competitive sports and leadership skills. Many became Olympians and persons of note in business and industry.
Now over a century old, and a myriad of different names, one thing remains a constant: countless young people’s lives have been positively changed. Many became Olympians and persons of note in business and industry.
The following maps out the beginnings of this noble event to what it has become today.
We invite you to read the rich information in this section and feel proud that many organizations are collaborating to make this event the largest event of its kind in Canada.
First World War Veteran and Legion Dominion Chairman, Jack Moore introduced the Foster Fathers’ Program in Winnipeg coming to the aide of 60 fatherless boys with mentorship and guidance in all aspects of community life, including competitive sports.
The Foster Fathers’ Program expanded across the nation and became known as the Legion’s Children’s Program with the full endorsement, “They Served Till Death! Why Not We?”
Ontario Legion Branch #277 President Bob Saunders (Chairman Ontario Hydro) and George Duthie, Sports Manager Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) sponsored the former Canadian Olympic Training Plan as well as invitational track meets.
Success of these initiatives solidified national Legion support and The Royal Canadian Legion officially entered the national track & field scene as financier of the Canadian Olympic Training Plan. This included clinics in Toronto with teams of participating athletes and coaches from each Province.
Federal Government supported the Legion in creating the first Canadian National Clinic for track & field coaches in Guelph. World renowned Geoffrey Dyson, John Disley, John Savidge, Dennis Cullum and Jacques Bergougnous directed the clinics. Four summer and three winter training camps were added with 475 participating youth athletes. Over the next five years the Legion’s national clinic trained 1,300 coaches plus 2,500 provincial and regional coaches.
Legion created and published Canadian technical periodicals on track & field, “Coaching Review” and “Track and Field Annual”.
Federal Government curtails grant funding.
The Legion continued to sponsor track & field programs at the provincial level. Legion funding was expanded to pilot a Canada-wide track & field meet in Waterloo and with its success a second national meet was held in Edmonton.
The Legion’s commitment to youth competitive sports and coaches’ track & field training continued with millions of dollars invested for National Track & Field Camps. Hosting of the Camps was determined through a bidding process by Legion Branches across the nation.
The Legion increased funding for the National Track & Field Camps to include coaching certification courses. Highly coaches and clinicians from the Canadian Track & Field Association and the Coaching Association of Canada conducted the courses and took part in the clinics for the young athletes.
One third of Canada’s Olympic Team in the Los Angeles Summer Games and all Canadian medal winners had their start at the Legion’s National Track & Field Camps.
Canada’s Young Olympians here!
The official name, Legion National Track & Field Championships, is sanctioned. The Championships include two days of training clinics and two days of national competition for youth athletes.
The official name is changed again to, Legion National Youth Track & Field Championships with accompanying event branding logo.
The Championships are opened to athletes not affiliated with the Legion program which increases participation to over 1,000 youth athletes.
The Legion receives the 2012 True Sport Foundation Corporate Excellence Award in recognition of the outstanding commitment to the training, competition and promotion of Canada’s national team track & field sport.