Important Message to our Members and Supporters
Dear membership and supporters of Athletics NS.
We want to take this opportunity to be as transparent as possible when it comes to the Aileen Meagher Legacy fund and our support of both athletes and para athletes within Athletics NS.
Over the span of 24 years, the Aileen Meagher International Track Classic was made possible through a combination of government grants and dollar matching private donors and sponsorship. Over the years a small surplus was collected each year. In a previous surplus collection year, one of the government partners was able to allow the Aileen Meagher team to give a one-time financial gift to Athletics NS to upgrade our timing system. This is still the photo finish timing system we use at meets today. Once the Aileen Meagher event concluded in 2017, the organizers held the surplus in trust. The family of Aileen Meagher was approached to provide a Legacy fund and the selection committee brought forward the idea of a Legacy fund to us for able bodied senior level athletes. This fund was set as "restricted funds" - meaning it was only to be spent on its intended purpose. It was not to go towards our daily operations. The funds were moved into GICs so that they may gain interest as the years pass. The fund criteria was set as a male or female athlete who applies by the deadline, who lives and trains in NS full time and who submits an outdoor track and field performance result that can be inputted into the Mercier table and results in the top points equivalent. The top 2 athletes that met all of this criteria were then selected for 2022. The Selection Committee decided early on in this process that the criteria would be reviewed on a yearly basis.
When this gift first came to the board of directors with Athletics there were many hours of discussion/contemplation and reaching out for assistance. Never had we been offered such a substantial gift that was restricted. And one of the MAIN things that arose was how can we support our para athletes if the fund was restricted for able bodied. It was important enough for us to decide to enhance our para athlete development budget. The board of directors decided by vote on November 8, 2021 that the board would set aside a matching $2000 fund each year to support senior level para athletes in our province.
From that came discussions in early 2022 on building a para strategy and a the appointment of a newly formed para sub-committee. Our number of para athletes and para coaches/support people has declined over the past several years due to numerous factors. We discussed developing a para strategy to get to the place in a couple years where we may have people eligible for such a fund. We know that athlete development takes time. So we reached out to lead staff at Parasport NS and Para Sport Lead at Athletics Canada for help. We decided collectively that our first step was education and awareness at the club level in para athletics. We want to ensure that regardless of the location of a para athlete wishing to train or compete we want to ensure they don't need to travel to a central NS area to get that support. So we must equip our clubs and their coaches with the knowledge and information to be able to train para athletes at the club level.
Our para development strategy is now in development based on the research we have done. This will take time. But the plan is to roll out education sessions to clubs across the province before summer.
We want to ensure you that are focus on all athletes and para athletes still remains a priority of Athletics NS.
Any comments or questions can be directed to [email protected]
Aileen Meagher Legacy Fund Selection Committee and the Athletics NS Board of Directors