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Optimal experience and inclusion

  • Optimal Experience

    Our goal is to ensure each participant:

    • feels welcome and comfortable
    • is safe
    • is engaged in activities
    • is enjoying their experience

    We understand the optimal experience may not be achieved for everyone at all times. Creating opportunities to learn from mistakes and experiences is part of the process. We facilitate learning opportunities for participants throughout the program who need support in reaching our desired experience. 

    • Inclusion

      Everyone is welcome. We create environments where people are mindful of numerous forms of difference.  This is achieved by considering and respecting each individual’s:

      • sexual orientation
      • gender
      • socio-economic status
      • race
      • culture
      • ethnicity
      • religion
      • age
      • learning styles
      • level of abilities

    Behaviour modification

    Everyone learns and develops at different rates. We strive to positively contribute to the development of each individual by helping them learn from their experiences.

    When a child displays disruptive or undesirable behavior, we lead. Our team helps the participant understand how to modify their behavior to ensure everyone is safe and having fun.

    • Undesirable behaviour

      Undesirable behaviours include:

    • Strategies to modify

      We attempt to discover what might be the cause of a participant's behaviour and incorporate their needs into our solutions. We strive to achieve this by:

    Managing change in behaviour

    Once we establish a plan to modify the behaviour, our team will ensure it is reinforced. We strive to be patient, consistent and fair with our assessment. Progress is a good thing. We acknowledge successive approximation towards desirable behaviour and continue to assist in their development.

    • Consequences

      Reactions, both positive and negative, are consequences. Consequences are intended to reinforce/change behavior and should not be morally, physically or emotionally damaging.

      Types of consequences include:

    • Engaging Parents

      You know your child best. Our team may connect with you to discuss your child’s behavior when:

    Removal from programs

    Our goal is to ensure the behaviour of one person doesn’t negatively affect the experience of other participants. We believe in learning from our experiences and that everyone should be given opportunity to make changes to behaviour. In the event the leadership team feels a participant is not able or willing to improve undesirable behaviour, they may be removed from the programs. 

    Health care

    Understanding the unique health needs of each participant is critical to our ability to provide proper care. Prior to the program beginning, families have the opportunity to share personal information with us to ensure we are able to care for participants during the programs.

    Specifically it is helpful for us to learn about unique health needs during both typical and physical activity settings.


    Any medication indicated on the participants personal information form will be required to be present at all times while attending programs. Participants who report to the program without associated medication may be asked to sit out of activities until it arrives. 

    Leaders are responsible for carrying the medication for all Mini and Junior participants. Senior participants have the option to carry their own medication with them. We ensure medication is readily available when necessary and passed among our team during staff transition times.

    Allergy aware environment

    We do our best to create an environment that is allergy aware but due to the size and diversity of the university we cannot guarantee that all spaces will be free of your child’s allergens. 

    Participants are expected to bring food that does not include nuts. Nut replacement products such as wowbutter are not permitted as they can be difficult for children with allergies to identify form a safe distance. In the event of a severe food allergy in your child’s group, you may be expected to avoid additional foods or ingredients.

    In the event nut foods or foods that may trigger an allergy in others, we:

    Special needs

    Having unique needs is not unique. We understand that everyone has preferences, needs and requires some form of accommodation in order to be most successful.

    Prior to their arrival to the program, families are provided the opportunity to identify and share any special needs that are important to their child’s success while attending our programming.

    Special needs form 

    In order to better understand the needs of each individual, families are required to complete our special needs form. The form is designed to provide us with important information such as their:

    Common needs

    Awareness and understanding of each individual’s needs is critical in our preparation.  Common special needs shared by families are:

    • Our environment

      Our environment is energetic and fast-paced. Our days are full of activities. Participants will likely have a new location and activity every hour and adaptations every 15 to 20 minutes. Activities are dynamic and participants often engage in groups.

    • Will my child succeed?

      If you believe your child will not be successful participating with a group of children of similar chronological age in this environment for at least 60 per cent of the day, then Mini U might not be the best fit. To discuss your child and our programs, connect with us: mini.u@umanitoba.ca

    • Accommodations

      Our leadership team discusses the needs and prepares accommodations for each individual. Our support leaders are responsible for identifying, creating and executing accommodation throughout their experience. We make every effort to be fully inclusive but do have some limitations in providing an experience for all children. Once we receive your 2021 special needs form we may need to discuss if and how we can best care for your child.

    • Support

      Prior to their arrival, families identify if their child requires one-on-one support from a leader to be successful in our environment and programming. 

      Participants who require additional support as part of their experience can:

      • bring a support leader.
      • request a Mini U support leader. To learn how, click here

      Resources are allocated on a first come, first served basis. 

      Support leaders are available for our summer programs only.

    Requesting a support worker

    All support leaders are to be booked through our online registration system and are allocated on a first come first served basis. 

    Support leaders are funded in one of two ways:

    • 1. Mini U funded

      Mini U funded support leaders are available each week of our summer programs for children who do not have funding through any other agency. Each child may request a maximum of two weeks of support per summer at no additional cost.

    • 2. Family funded

      A limited number of support leaders may be available to families who wish to pay for the cost of the employee. This option is available to anyone who feels their child’s experience would be more successful with the support of a one-on-one leader. 

      Fee: TBD for 2022

    Bringing external support

    If you believe your child would be most successful with one on one support provided by another agency, we would be happy to welcome them. Guardians are not able to act as external support workers during our programs.

    Registering for a support leader

    Information regarding registering for a support leader for summer 2022 will be available in February 2022.

    Learn more about when support leaders are offered here.



    We understand that families with children with special needs often experience additional costs of living to accommodate required supports. We want to help. Apply for our special needs subsidy to have a portion of your registration fees reduced. Our subsidy program is now closed for this year. We will look forward to connecting with you again next summer!


    Ensuring the safety of each participant is a fundamental responsibility of our team.

    COVID-19 safety measures

     COVID-19 protocols: Effective Friday, September 3, in accordance with public health restrictions, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status and government-issued identification is required at entry to University of Manitoba sport and recreational facilities for:
    - All users of UM’s gyms/fitness/workout facilities, aged 12 years and older
    - All participants in recreational/sport programs aged 18 and older (verification of age may be requested)
    - All guardians/spectators accompanying recreational/sport program participants 17 years and younger
    - All spectators over the age of 12 who are attending Bisons home games (Children 11 years and younger must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult

    At this time only those who can provide proof of approved COVID-19 vaccination status will be admitted

    Please be reminded that 3-ply masks are required indoors at all times, as well as outdoor when physical distance cannot be maintained.

    COVID-19 frequently asked questions

    • Attendance and head counts

      Supervision of each participant is required at all times. Frequent tracking of attendance and head counts is an essential part ensuring our success. We track the participants under our care:

    • Facility

      The university is our playground. Our programs take place in various places and spaces on campus and within the surrounding community. Our role is to ensure that each space is safe prior to our using it.

      Annually, our Leadership Team:


    Capturing moments helps us tell our story. Photos and videos are an important part of our business but not something that can be done without careful thought. In order to ensure we uphold the safety of our participants we:

    • Consent

      Prior to the first day of programming participants and/or their guardians have the option to agree or decline to our photography consent.

      This information is then shared with the Mini U Programs employees. Together we ensure their responses are upheld while under our supervision. 

    • Use of Images

      We love to tell our story. Images are used on our web site, advertising materials, social media and administrative materials (signs, manuals, internal documents). 

    Protecting children

    When a child’s life, health or emotional well-being is at risk by something a person does or fails to do, the child is in need of protection.

    Our team understands what we are protecting participants from, how to identify potential issues and how we can offer support.

    • Types of abuse

      When an action, or failure to act, causes physical harm, could cause emotional disability or involves sexual activity, that is abuse. 

    • Identification: The Law

      We are required by law to report any suspicion or disclosure of abuse under Section 18 of the Child and Family Services Act of Manitoba. If we suspect anything, we keep a written record of all our observations and discussions.

      If our team suspects a child may not be safe, either because of the child’s behavior or someone else’s, we are responsible for reporting it to Child and Family Services.

    • Identification: Communication with families

      When our team has concerns about the safety of a participant, we will discuss them with the primary caregivers indicated on the ‘personal information form’ whenever it is safe to do so. If the concerns are associated with a primary caregiver, we will discuss them with Child Family Services. 

    Emergency procedures and accidents

    When accidents and emergencies occur, we are prepared to execute first aide and CPR skills and our emergency procedures.

    • Our team is annually trained on: 

    • Communication with parents

      We want parents/guardians to be properly informed.  It is important that a Mini U Programs employee share the related information. We share accident information by: