Since the 1930s, the Calgary Stampede has promoted youth education by exhibiting young Albertans' farming and ranching activities.
In 1994, the Calgary Stampede Foundation was created as a charitable organization to give young Albertans the opportunity to develop strong roots in their heritage and culture through educational programs.
Now, the Stampede’s focus has broadened and the foundation funds a number of youth training programs including the The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, Stampede School and the Calgary Stampede Showband.
Every year, the foundation invests approximately $2.5 million in youth programs and activities. A large part of the funding also supports scholarships such as the Western Art scholarship, International Youth Livestock, UFA Steer Classic, Cutting Horse, the Dave Robson and Joe & Sara Brager scholarship.
Founded in 1968, The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts is the foundation’s longest-standing program. It offers year-round training in voice, dance and gymnastics to youth with a passion for entertainment. Currently, the 160-person troupe is the main feature in the Stampede’s TransAlta Grandstand Show and is part of the festival’s nightly entertainment.
The Stampede Showband was founded in 1971. The program is dedicated to training youth in the world of entertainment. The 140-member showband is involved in musical training year round and competes in competitions around the world. This program is also an integral part of the Stampede with up to 200 appearances during the 10-day festival.
Stampede School offers educational experiences to teachers and their students from grades 3-12. Teachers can relocate their class to Stampede Park and give their students a customized and interactive learning experience in history, agriculture, Treaty 7 First Nations cultures and Western heritage.
This piece contains an introduction and video that outlines the history, performances, composition and quality of the award-winning Calgary Stampede Showband.