Do you believe that all people should have access to safe and inclusive physical fitness opportunities regardless of their financial status or gender identity? You do? That’s great! Us too!
Unfortunately, for some members of our community – particularly our trans and non-binary friends and family – accessing safe and inclusive fitness opportunities can be anything but simple. From issues with change rooms and discriminatory registration forms, to exercising alongside clientele who aren’t LGBTQ friendly, accessing physical fitness opportunities in many traditional fitness spaces is uncomfortable (and even unsafe!) for some members of our community. And that doesn’t even begin to address the barriers to fitness posed by financial constraints.
We hope to see a day where all people can feel safe and comfortable in all fitness spaces, regardless of their body shape, their financial status, or their gender identity. But until that happens, it’s important that we make sure people aren’t falling through the cracks. Physical fitness is a key component of someone’s overall health and wellbeing. So, it’s our job as a community to make sure there is opportunity for safe and inclusive fitness for ALL of our LGBTQ friends and family.
To help make that happen, the EMHC has joined forces with our generous partner Blitz Conditioning to develop and offer a free/by-donation LGBTQ fitness program! The program will run three times per week at Blitz Conditioning and is led by a trainer who has specialized in training LGBTQ individuals. During sessions the instructor ensures that individuals have access to potential modifications to ensure each physical activity is appropriate for them. And because of the instructor's expertise in LGBTQ fitness, they are able to respond to participants' needs with a special level of understanding and sensitivity.
After completing a three week Beta Testing phase to ensure that the program was reflective of what community members wanted and to ensure that all of the kinks were worked out, we are now ready to launch a full six month pilot, which will be open to all LGBTQ community members on a drop-in basis. And did we mention that it is free?
It is important to us to keep the program as low-barrier as possible. Therefore, the program is free to all participants (although they will have the option to make a donation to the program if they are able). During the six month pilot, we hope to conduct a thorough evaluation of the program and detail its positive impact on the health and wellbeing of participants. Once the pilot and subsequent evaluation are complete, we will approach funders in hopes of obtaining ongoing, sustainable funding for the program.
In the meantime, even with Blitz Conditioning's generosity, running a fitness program three times a week for six months isn't cheap - especially for a small, volunteer-led grassroots organization like us. And that's where you come in!
Thanks to Blitz's generosity, the program only costs about $60 per session, inclusive of everything (i.e. fitness space, instructor's fee, etc.)
At three sessions per week, over six months, we will offer approximately 75 fitness sessions to community members.
That comes to a grand total of $4,500.
We will be offering 75 sessions - free of charge - to an average of 15 community members per session.
That works out to be approximately 1,125 hours of physical fitness for Edmonton LGBTQ folk.
For free. In a space where they feel safe. With a community that is inclusive. And instructors who understand and care about their needs.
What Your Donation Does:
1,125 hours of physical fitness at approximately $4,500 works out to be $4 per hour of physical fitness for one individual.
That means for every $4 you give, one individual gets access to an hour of free, safe, inclusive, and supportive physical fitness.
So, for $20, you provide that opportunity to five people.
For $40, you provide that opportunity to 10 people.
For $60, you can cover the cost of one session - for everyone!
For $180, you can cover the cost of an entire week of sessions!
And for $4,500 - Well, you get the point.
What Your Donation Doesn't Do:
As a volunteer-led organization, our overhead costs are extremely minimal. Therefore, 100% of what you donate to this campaign (minus the transaction fee charged by GoFundMe) will go directly toward the costs of this program. When we say that every $4 you donate covers the cost of an hour of fitness for one member of Edmonton's LGBTQ community, we mean it!
If you want to make sure that all LGBTQ individuals have access to safe and inclusive fitness opportunities, regardless of their body shape, financial status, or gender identity, please donate!
We are committed to providing this program free-of-charge to participants regardless of what we raise through this campaign. If we don't raise the full $4,500 through this campaign, we will aim to make up the difference through voluntary donations given by participants. However, if we are fortunate enough to raise the entire amount now, we can invest any future donations into the future sustainability of the program, ensuring that it can continue well beyond the initial six month pilot.
On Behalf of the EMHC, Blitz Conditioning, and all of the participants of the program, thank you for your support!
[Note: This is a fundraising campaign for the Edmonton Men's Health Collective (EMHC). As GoFundMe required a first and last name, it is listed under the name of our Chair, Brook Biggin. All funds raised will be directly deposited into the EMHC's bank account for the sole use of the LBGTQ fitness program]
- Celine Vaillancourt
- Siobhan Gault
- Mark McAllister
- Celine Vaillancourt