Discounts and Credits: Reducing Your Cost


1. Gift Card Program

3. Recruit a Friend Program


Swimming, like many youth sports programs can represent a big financial commitment for parents, which is why the Upper Canada Swim Club offers multiple opportunities for families to reduce their financial commitment. One major opportunity is to take advantage of the Club's gift card program in which families can purchase gift cards for everyday purchases like groceries through the Superstore or Metro and receive a rebate which is applied directly to their account with the Club.

The Recruit-a-Friend program provides a cash incentive for families to recruit new families to the Club.

The Grocery Card Program

The Grocery Card Program has been an enormous success for the Club and the most significant way individual families can reduce their membership fee commitment. By purchasing grocery cards for both Superstore and Metro through the Upper Canada Swim Club, members earn a percentage of their buy, which is then applied to their account.

In each of the last few years, the Club has facilitated the purchase of over $300,000 in gift cards for its members, resulting in a $12,000 savings for those families that participated!

How it Works

Because groceries are a regular expenditure for every household (especially with hungry swimmers under the roof!), Superstore (Valu Mart) and Metro gift cards have been the most popular choice among swim parents. The way these cards work is as follows:

  • Parents purchase gift cards in $50 or $100 denominations from the Club’s gift card manager at the YMCA using cash or cheque.
  • Parents then buy groceries using the gift cards, receiving the full purchase price in value at the store.
  • Parents then receive a ‘discount’ proportional to the amount of gift cards purchased on their Swim Club account.
  • For Superstore (also usable at Valu Mart) gift cards, parents are given a 3% credit; for Metro and Food Basics, the amount is also 3%. The actual discount applied when the club purchases cards can vary depending on the value of the purchase.  The family will always get 3% and the club will get 1 to 2% back as a Fundraiser for the club.
  • SuperStore Cards are also treated as cash when purchasing gas (you get an additional 2% credit towards store purchases)

For example, some Club families spend $1000 on groceries per month. They buy $1000 in gift cards each month from the Club and then use those cards to pay for their groceries at the Superstore/Valu Mart, Metro or Food Basics. Each month they buy $1000 in Superstore gift cards, for example, their account is credited $30 toward membership fees. Over the course of a 10 month swim season, the family earns $300 toward their membership fees.

Can I Buy Gift Cards for Other Stores?

Gift Cards are specific to a store, so if you purchase Superstore gift cards, you must use them at the Superstore. 

This program is run through the Shop and Support program ( and though it is not possible for individuals to buy gift cards through this program, there are a wealth of other participating retailers. Club members can order gift cards for any of these retailers through the Club although if the amount is under $4000, the member will have to pay $12.95 shipping. Members should also note that the rebate amount is not always 3% - it may vary depending upon the retailer.

In December of some years, the Club may offer to do a group buy for other retailers’ gift cards. The purpose of the group buy is to avoid shipping costs on cards. Members will be notified in advance of the deadline for expressing interest in participation in the group buy.

Where to Buy

For 2016-17, Gift Cards can be purchased by contacting Paula Wiltse at / 613-556-1191 text/cell or Marianne Carlyle at / 613-349-7237 text/cell.  Upon contact, a meeting time and place will be determined for gift card purchase.

For further information on gift card purchases, please contact Paula Wiltse at

Recruit-a-Friend Program

Recognizing the importance of a constant influx of new members to the Club and also the power of our membership as the best possible evangelists for the Club, the UCSC Board of Directors has decided to implement a program to provide registered members with financial incentives for recruiting new families to the Club. This program will represent one of the easiest and most powerful ways for families to reduce the financial commitment of Club membership.


Recruit-A-Friend: How it Works

1.       Who is Eligible to Receive the Discount?

Any fully-registered swimmer in the Junior Otters, Cross-Train or Competitive (Bronze through National) programs and;

Having an account in good standing:

o   No overdue balances in meet or membership fees

o   All required registration deposits have been paid

2.       Who counts as a “new family”?

The intent of the Recruit-a-Friend program is to recruit new families to the Club. A new family is considered to be one that has not had any swimmers registered in any Upper Canada Swim Club program at any time during the current or preceding swim season.

3.       What is the discount?

Registered swimmers that recruit members from a new family to the Junior Otters or Cross Train program will receive a $50 credit per new member recruited on their membership fee, provided the new member participates in and pays the membership fees for one full twelve week session.

In cases where new eligible Junior Otters sign up for more than one session (for example, they sign-up in September and pre-pay for all three 12 week sessions), the member recruiting the new swimmer would receive a $50 discount for each session the Junior Otter registers for at that time.

Registered swimmers that recruit members from a new family to any competitive program (Bronze through National) will receive a $200 discount per new member recruited provide the new member participates in and pays the membership fees for the entire annual session.

4.       What are the limits on the discount?

Members that recruit members from new families can receive discounts up to, but not exceeding the total amount of their membership fees. Therefore, it is possible for a member to swim for ‘free’ by recruiting members from new families.

5.       How is the discount applied?

  • When a new family registers for a program, they must provide the name of the existing member that referred them at the time of registration.
  • After the new swimmer has been assessed and placed in a program, the applicable discount will be assessed by the treasurer/registrar
  • For new Junior Otters and Cross-Train recruits, the existing members discount will be applied at the end of the 12 week session for which the new member has registered.
  • For new Competitive recruits, the discount will be applied 12 weeks after they enter the program.
  • The discount is only applied for the first year or session that the new member attends.

6.       Why is the discount for additional family members different than the recruit-a-friend discount?

We highly value families that register additional siblings in UCSC Programs and the 10% discount is intended to both encourage additional family members and to make membership more affordable for families. However, the recruitment of new families is a bit different than the recruitment of members from the same family.

Because volunteer service hour obligations work on a per family basis, additional swimmers from one family don’t actually help produce more volunteers for the Club; in addition, the recruitment of new families often opens the opportunity to recruit additional siblings or friends of that family. Simply stated, recruitment of new families is different enough to warrant its own incentive system.

Recruit a Friend: Some Scenarios

1.       My son is in Gold and his best friend, who has never been a member of the Swim Club, is interested in joining Bronze. What is my discount?

As long as the Coach places your son’s best friend in Bronze according to his ability, your discount will be $200. You can expect to have this discount applied at the end of the next 12 week session.

2.       I have a daughter in Silver and she has a friend who was a member of the Club (in Silver) three seasons ago. She has no other sisters or brothers in the Club. What is my discount?

As long as your daughter’s friend was not registered in this season (11-12) or the preceding season (10-11) she is considered to be a new family and therefore you are entitled to a discount. Assuming she is placed by the Coach in the competitive program again, your discount would be $200.

3.       I have a son in Junior Otters. His younger brother would also like to join. What is my discount?

The only discount you would be eligible for in this case, would be a 10% discount on the younger brother’s fees since your sons are both from the same family and one of them is currently registered.

4.       I signed my daughter up for Junior Otter this week and she has a friend that is interested in Junior Otters too. Do I get a discount?

Even if you just joined the Club, you are eligible for recruitment bonuses. In this case, as long as the friend has not been a member of the Club in this season or in the preceding season, and as long as she has no other immediate family members in the Club, you would get a $50 discount at the end of the coming session.

5.       At the start of the season, I recruited our neighbour’s daughter for Junior Otters and got a $100 discount. Her sister might want to sign up for the third session. Do I get a discount?

No, you would not. The discount is only applied when the family is new to the Club. If the two sisters had joined at the same time, you would have received two, $50 discounts totaling $100. In this case, because the family is no longer ‘new’ to the Club, you would not get an additional incentive.

6.       I have a son in Bronze and my nephew is interested in joining as well. I think he would likely be placed in Bronze as well. Would I be entitled to a discount because we are part of the same family?

The restriction on new families only applies to ‘immediate’ families (e.g., sisters and brothers). Because your nephew is not part of your immediate family you would indeed be entitled to a $200 discount if the Coach places him in Bronze.

7.       My son is in Bronze and he has a friend who has signed up for all three Junior Otters Sessions for the coming season. What would my be discount be?

Provide that the new Junior Otter signs up for all three sessions at once, you would receive a $50 discount for each session, totaling $150.

8.       What happens if I recruit someone to Junior Otters and they sign up for one session, which gets me a $50 discount. If in December they choose to sign up for another session, do I get another $50 discount?

No, you would only get credit for recruiting that swimmer to multiple sessions if they sign up for more than one session at the same time. In other words, you only get credit for a new swimmer registering when they are truly ‘new’. If, on the other hand, this Junior Otter signed up for three 12 week sessions at the start of the season, you would get a $50 credit for each session that sign up for at that time.