Calgary Stampede Foundation’s 2014 Report to the Community

The Calgary Stampede Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary at our annual Report to the Community event held November 6, 2014.  Featured speakers included Calgary Stampede Foundation Chair M. Ann McCaig, We’re Greatest Together campaign co-chair Steve Snyder, Calgary Stampede CEO Vern Kimball, and Foundation Executive Director Sarah Hayes.  As well, several founding members of the Foundation were in attendance including John Armstrong, Bob Cairns, Nancy Peters, Quincy Smith and Dave Talbot.  The program opened with Lizzy Munson from the Young Canadians and Becky Johnson from the Calgary Stampede Showband performing ‘Oh Canada’ and ended with comments from the CEO of the Calgary Stampede, Vern Kimball, and the presentation of a special anniversary cake.  The following is an overview of the updates shared at this milestone celebration.


The Calgary Stampede Foundation has been in existence for 20 years.  It began as the idea of a visionary group of community leaders who wanted to create meaningful opportunities for young people in southern Alberta to learn about the rich heritage of western Canada while realizing their full potential in the development of their talents, skills and character.

Thanks to our founding members and all of our generous donors over the last two decades, the Stampede Foundation now invests up to $2.4 million in youth programs every year and this past year has been full of many accomplishments in all of our program areas.

Our youth performed for the world once again at the TransAlta Grandstand Show, they travelled to Brazil for the world championship band competition, they showcased their talents in the state-of-the-art arena at the new Agrium Western Event Centre and they enjoyed hands on experiences with heritage and western culture in the classroom and all around Stampede Park as part of the Stampede School education program.

We are committed to delivering world class programs that are accessible to anyone who is interested in participating and that is why community support for the Foundation is so important.  Our donors make it possible for the Foundation to provide young people with opportunities to enhance personal growth, citizenship and education that would not otherwise be possible.

Many people are not aware of the fact that our Stampede youth often receive academic credits for their participation in Stampede Youth Programs.  We are very grateful for the dedication and expertise of our staff and volunteers who go to great lengths to deliver world class programming.  Their hard work is reflected in the accomplishments of the youth in our programs each year and this past year was no exception.  In this report we will provide a brief update on the Young Canadians, the Stampede Showband and Stampede School as well as our newest program – the OH Ranch School.  We also have an exciting update on the We’re Greatest Together capital campaign.


The Young Canadians of Performing Arts (TYC)

Stampede 2014 began with a live performance by Young Canadian Marcus Trummer who sang for Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Parade Day.  This exciting kick off was followed by the Young Canadians performing for Grandstand audiences of up to 20,000 people every night.  In 2014 two of our Young Canadians, Gabriel Masquera and Marcus Trummer, made history by performing solos on the TransAlta Grandstand stage.  Another first in 2014 included our junior Young Canadians performing with the Showband on the Saddledome steps.

The Young Canadians also enjoyed many significant training opportunities in 2014.  Our seniors travelled to Los Angeles to train at the Edge Dance Studio with advanced performers and even some well-known actors such as Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo and J.T. Horenstein.

In addition to making memories, these kinds of opportunities go a long way to help young people mature and develop skills that will serve them well in the future.

We are looking forward to another great season ahead with a growing number of students in the program.  As well, there have been a few very exciting additions to the school’s training staff which will directly impact the quality and caliber of our programming.


Calgary Stampede Showband

The Stampede Showband was in Brazil this year where they won their fifth world championship title.  They are the only ensemble to have won the championship three times in a row and five times in total!  Congratulations to the Calgary Stampede Showband!

In February, the Showband was awarded the most outstanding community band award at the Alberta International Band Festival.  Our showband has won this award 11 times in the last 12 years.  In addition, the Showband also received the coveted Sudler Shield from the John Phillip Sousa Foundation.  This award recognizes world class ensembles at the highest level and our band is the first Canadian ensemble to receive the award in its 30 year history.

One of the hallmarks of the Stampede Showband is the emphasis that is placed on community service.  While competing in Brazil this year, band members actually took time out of their rehearsal schedule to help restore a local school as a means of giving back to the community.  The fact that our group would sacrifice valuable rehearsal time to help others in need is what makes our Showband members world champions!  It is no wonder that we have seen a 25% increase in enrollment in the Showband and this year we even have a waiting list.


Stampede School

This past year, Stampede School welcomed over 900 students through its week long and two day programs.  At Stampede School, students, teachers and parents learn about things that are easily taken for granted including food production.  The school also helps foster a sense of pride and connectivity for our children while providing new Calgarians with an opportunity to learn about our great city.

We always love to share feedback from the children, parents and teachers who participate in the program.  In the words of one of our visiting parents whose family is new to Calgary: “I feel so lucky to be here and learning about the community I am now a part of.”

Even those who grew up in Calgary often learn something new about our great city at Stampede School.  One teacher said:  “Students have learned a lot this year about western heritage.  I also learned a lot about the city that I grew up in!  Stampede was always just a big carnival to me and now I appreciate the important place the Calgary Stampede has in our community.”

The Stampede School classroom was damaged by the flood of 2013 so we moved the school into a newly renovated space in the Trailblazer Center, formerly People Services.  While it is a lovely space and home to our volunteer committees, everyone involved with the program is looking forward to the day we are able to move the Stampede School into its future home on Youth Campus.

Indeed we are all excited about the new Youth Campus development and what it will mean for our programs including new opportunities for collaboration and creativity!


OH Ranch School

Bill and Sharon Siebens’ generous donation of the 8,000 acre OH Ranch is being put to good use as the site for OH Ranch School, our newest program which has been funded by the Galvin Family Trust.

OH Ranch provides a unique opportunity for students to experience a working cattle ranch, complete with horses!  The OH Ranch School educational programming will ensure the history contained on the ranch remains meaningful and intact for the benefit of future generations.  This program is designed to complement the social studies curriculum for Grade 5 students.  The ranch is a living classroom where students will learn about the history and the importance of cattle ranching in Alberta, the geography of our land and the Calgary Stampede’s best practices in animal care, cattle ranching and the stewardship of the land.

Other donors have stepped up to support of program including the La Due Ladies who have directed their special event proceeds to the school.  Their support will go a long way to ensure the youth of our city are able to enjoy a connection with our unique western heritage.

We are very proud of all of the programs we are able to provide to help our young people develop and mature into outstanding citizens, youth who will become future leaders of our city and our world.  It is the generous support we receive from the community that makes it possible for the Calgary Stampede Foundation to make a difference in the lives of our youth.


Capital Campaign Update

Four years ago the Calgary Stampede and the Calgary Stampede Foundation embarked on the biggest project in our combined history – the $100 million We’re Greatest Together capital campaign.  Our desire was to engage the community in our vision to transform Stampede Park into a year-round, world class gathering place.

We have been amazed at the response to our vision.  Calgary corporations, individuals, foundations, service clubs and  government have rallied behind us and their generosity exemplifies the can-do, philanthropic spirit that has always made our city great.

In fact, this vision has been so well received that we expect to meet and exceed our $100 million goal which will allow us to create a gathering place for the community that is better and stronger than we imagined at the beginning of the campaign.

Thanks to a strong vision from the Stampede’s leadership team and the unwavering support of our donors, the transformation of Stampede Park is well underway.  In the past year we have made a great deal of progress and all of our campaign projects are on time and on budget.

We were delighted to open the Agrium Western Event Centre in time for Stampede 2014.  As one of the largest projects we have ever undertaken, this state-of-the art facility is part of the new Agriculture Discovery Zone at Stampede Park and has tripled our capacity to host western and agriculture events.

Next in our development plans is the recently announced ENMAX Park — a vital, living, green space for recreation, celebration and learning.  Construction is well underway and on schedule and every day we are getting closer to realizing our vision for this beautiful new addition to the grounds.

The support for Youth Campus has been tremendous and we have had many exciting announcements this past year including of course the SAM Centre, Walton Hall and most recently the BMO Amphitheatre.  Youth Campus will be a wonderful new amenity to position Calgary’s youth for success, with a vibrant creative area centered on education and the arts.  It will become the home for all Calgary Stampede Foundation programs.  In addition, Calgary Arts Academy and various youth arts groups will share rehearsal and performance space within Youth Campus.

As we celebrate 20 years of success as a Foundation, we are excited to also be looking forward to the future and all the exciting changes that will occur as a result of our successful capital campaign.  We will continue to provide world class programming for the youth of southern Alberta at a world class gathering place that will enrich the quality of life in our city while also enhancing our image as a city where people know what it means to be greatest together.

We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors who are contributing to a legacy that will benefit current and future generations of Calgarians.  The organization that was founded 20 years ago because of the vision of a growing community to invest in youth continues to be shaped and supported by truly great leaders who care about our city and our future.  We thank you for your support and look forward to an equally exciting Report to the Community next year!