The following brief reports
have been prepared by participants in a National Round table on Active School
Communities held in
The reports summarize activities undertaken to date by networks of interested organizations and individuals after the meeting.
From Mike Arthur
Since the October conference a number of initiatives have contributed to the development of ASC's.
1. A provincial strategy on physical activity for children and youth has been developed under a Working Group of government and nongovernment representatives. It included staff from Depts of Education, Health, Community Services and Youth Secretariat. The strategy has recommendations re: funding for ASC pilot projects. A final decision on the strategy by government is still pending.
2. Nine projects -$75,000.00- were funded in 2001-02 by the Sport and Recreation Commission to initiate after school physical activity programs. Most projects were based on joint efforts of schools and municipal recreation departments.
3. The DOE is developing a province wide policy on community use of schools in cooperation with the 8 school boards and the Sport and Recreation Commission. The policy is still in development but one of the intended outcomes is free access to youth groups. The definition of ' free ' is under discussion!
4. A number of schools in the province are experimenting with active safe routes to school.
Active school communities
A Nova Scotia update
The active school community initiatives in Nova Scotia will be one component of the Active Kids/Healthy Kids strategy developed during the Fall 2001. The vision of the strategy is that
Nova Scotia is a province where a culture of physical activity for young people flourishes. It is a culture in which children, youth and their families have re-discovered and renewed the joy and fun that comes from being physically active every day. Physical activity is an important part of the daily lives of children and youth of this province. Communities, schools and workplaces welcome and support a physically active lifestyle.
During consultations held with parents, youth, and stakeholders across Nova Scotia, we received a clear message that children and youth need more opportunities to be physically active throughout their day.
It was felt that an active school community approach would be effective to help achieve this objective. Department of Education, Health and the Sport and Recreation Commission came together to plan this project. It was decided that the province would support pilot projects for school communities.
Each school board in the province was asked to participate in the Pilot. School board officials were asked to invite one school from their board to participate The school board was provided recommendations of schools who have already shown some interest and commitment to physical activity initiatives and who have supportive, involved municipalities. Currently, eight schools have been asked to participate. A meeting has been planned for the end of September to bring together school and municipal partners who have been asked to participate in the Pilot projects. The purpose of the meeting is to provide an overview of the strategy and pilot projects; identify and discuss expectations for pilot sites; and to identify and discuss provincial roles and supports. It is hoped that by the end of the meeting, schools and municipalities will have enough information to be able to make a decision to participate in the Pilots.
Once a school community agrees to participate in the project, they will be asked to form an action team who will lead the pilot project in their area. This team will develop an action plan for the next three years to outline how they will become an active school community. It is hoped that these plans will be completed by the end of 2002, so that implementation can start early in 2003. Depending on the readiness of the project site, the scope may increase to several (family) schools by years two and three. The plans will act to articulate how their project will contribute to more children and youth becoming physically active. These plans will be based on principles to ensure they contribute to the strategy=s vision.
For more information on the Active Kids/Healthy Kids strategy and the Active school community pilot projects, please refer to the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation web site at www.gov.ns.ca/src/
Following the National Roundtable on Active School Communities held in Charlottetown, PEI in October of 2001, the New Brunswick delegates established a Provincial Steering Committee chaired by Vicki Poirier of the NB Heart and Stroke Foundation. Members of the Committee include; Linda Collins-Lebans and Virgil Guitart who are both Healthy Learners from the Dept. of Health and Wellness and specialize in school community networking and wellness promotion, Monique Allain from the Dept. of Education, Garth Wade from the NB Physical Education Society, and Suzanne Coffey from the Culture and Sport Secretariat. The Committee has met three (3) times and recently adopted its own definition of an Active School Community as well as a Vision and Mission Statement (see attached). For more information contact Vicki Poirier at firstname.lastname@example.org
Outcomes on some of the work of New Brunswick's Action Plan include:
- Hiring of 13 anglophone school district Physical Education Mentors to provide skill development opportunities for teachers who are expected to teach elementary physical education. A large number of workshops from supper meetings to full days of in-service have been provided. Frequency will vary from district to district.
- In November of 2001, a provincial institute entitled "Remember when" was held which included a specific elementary physical education training component for teachers. The event was a joint effort between NB Physical Education Society, NB Teachers' Association Councils, the Recreation and Parks Association of NB, and the Dept. of Education. Six (6) provincial institutes are planned for the Summer of 2002. The sessions help teachers and recreation professionals with ideas related to physical activity and physical education.
- Middle school physical education piloting currently in place. Full implementation expected in September of 2003.
- An Active School Community recognition program currently under development. A call for pilots is planned for May-June, 2002. In the meantime focus group testing is underway.
In terms of support from the national working group, it is believed the regional representative's role needs to be discussed at their April 17 and 18 meeting. For instance, taking the lead in establishing a strong regional network and facilitating two-way communication with provincial steering committees or contacts.
Progress report: August 15,2002
The notion of the School Communities In ACTION program evolved during a National Round Table conference focusing on Active School Communities, which was held in PEI last Fall. Active School Communities include teachers, parents, students and community leaders who are all committed to providing an opportunity to increase the health behaviors of their students. These schools understand that New Brunswick children are becoming progressively overweight and obese. They recognize that children and youth are not active enough to lay a solid foundation for future health and well being.
The School Communities In ACTION project is a joint venture between the Department of Education and the Culture and Sport Secretariat. The team consists of Roger Duval (Culture and Sport Secretariat), Francine Harris and Keith McAlpine (Department of Education) and Monique Allain (project coordinator who was seconded from School District 18 in early December, 2001). This team would meet on a weekly basis to discuss the program development. During the months of December, January and February, the ideas for the program were developed.
School Communities In ACTION is designed to: 1) Recognize physical activities that are offered in the schools; 2) Encourage schools to adopt, implement and maintain physical activity programs through school and community networks; and 3) Support the Physical Education and Health Curricula. Schools implementing School Communities In ACTION programs are eligible to achieve levels of recognition by completing various activities under each A-C-T-I-O-N category:
A- Activities: Non-structured initiatives that encourage students to actively participate in a “play-like” environment, above and beyond the Physical Education class.
C- Curricular, Co-curricular and Extra-Curricular Programs: Structured activities that provide opportunities for students to participate in physical activity and learn basic movement skills that are required in order to participate in sport and life long physical activity.
T- Teamwork: Involves a group focused on physical activity within the school setting. These activities are usually referred to as “mass participation” physical activities. Through teamwork, the value of physical activity is promoted and organized throughout the school.
I- Integration: Regular physical activity and health benefits are promoted throughout different subject areas.
O- Opportunities: Students participate in physical activity outside the school setting, in programs sponsored by the community. Students would have access to the community facilities such as rinks, pools, gymnastics club etc.
N- Networking: Ongoing activity–based interactions between the school and the community. Inviting community members into the school to assist in the delivery of the program.
During the months of March and April, the drafting of the material continued along with “field testing” of the material. To informally test the material, approximately 20 schools from all levels, throughout the province, from both the urban and rural areas were visited. Presentations of the program were also made to all the New Brunswick superintendents and to many principals from both the anglophone and francophone school districts.
The drafting of the handbook was finalized in early April. In order to ensure proper translation, Linguists reviewed the French document. Additionally, Communications New Brunswick produced samples of program posters and brochures.
A call for pilot schools was launched in early May. Well over 50 schools applied to pilot the program. A total of 30 schools were selected for the piloting of the program: 18 English and 12 French schools were selected based on the levels of the schools and on the urban and rural settings. Nine schools that were not selected expressed an interest to participate in the program on a non-formal basis.
An in-service was held for the pilot schools in May. On Tuesday, May 28th the English pilot school leaders assembled for an information session in Fredericton, while the French pilot school leaders participated in their session on Thursday, May 30th. During these information sessions, the participants discussed the concept of School Communities In ACTION. The participants also reviewed the Handbook and worked on their action plans. Each leader was asked to summarize the physical activity programs that were offered in their schools during this past year. The pilot schools were asked to submit their school’s action plan along with the summary of their current physical activity programs by the end of the school year.
In September (2002) the pilot schools will implement their action plans. Additionally participation posters along with brochures will be delivered to the pilot schools. The implementation of the School Communities In ACTION program is based on a three-year plan.
Our team would like to thank Michelle Brownrigg from OPHEA for her guidance in the development of New Brunswick’s School Communities In ACTION program.
Since the National Roundtable in October a number of initiatives are ongoing.
1. Following the National Roundtable, the participants who attended the conference were invited to a meeting to confirm our commitment to the provincial action plan created during the conference.
2. Following the National Roundtable, members from the Departments of Education, Health & Social Services, and Community of Cultural Affairs (responsible for sport & recreation) arranged a joint presentation on the Active School Community concept to Deputy Ministers and senior officials. These three departments are currently working on a chronic disease prevention of which the active school community concept is a component of.
3. An active healthy schools initiative is being developed under the leadership of the Department of Education with assistance from the Department of Community & Cultural Affairs that looks at many of the issues discussed at the National Roundtable. The initiative is followed by a comprehensive seven step program that encourages schools to adopt certain practices that will allow their school to be known as an "active healthy school". These practices include looking a what students require to lead active healthy lives, what wellness programs the staff of the school could benefit from, what the school requires to foster a positive learning environment, and what positive impacts the school can have on the community and likewise the community on the school.
4. We are in the process of working with a couple of schools in developing active, safe routes to school for the next school year. It is our intent to use the schools as pilots and then expand the project to other schools in the future.
5. A research project is underway that will create a blueprint of what the current relationship is between all the schools within the province and the communities that feed into them. We will be visiting every school in the province and creating an inventory of what type of community activities take place within the school and what type school activities take place in the communities. This will allow us to determine what barriers or perceived barriers exist between schools and communities and then allow us to create a plan to break down these barriers.
6. A comprehensive presentation has been developed highlighting the current concerns around inactivity among Island children. This presentation has been tailored to parents in decision making roles and will be shown to a number of groups but primarily geared towards Home & School Associations. Staff from the sport & recreation division have included this presentations in their annual work plans. Furthermore, we have been successful in entrenching the active school community concept as part of the Provincial Healthy Child Development Strategy.
From: Elio Antunes email@example.com
In October of 2001, a National Roundtable on Active School Communities was conducted in Prince Edward Island. Representatives from governments and non-governmental agencies from eight provinces and territories attended Roundtable and worked together to develop a national vision for Active School Communities.
Active School Communities were defined as communities in which all leaders and public institutions that influence the lives of children (educators, parents, care-givers, public health professionals, municipal recreation and sport leaders and others) work in partnership to create social and physical environments that increase access and opportunities for physical activity. This involves physical activity in and outside of the school curriculum, at home and in the community-at-large.
The Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA) has a long history working with other partners to support physical activity promotion in the school setting, and was the lead organization behind the Ontario Active Schools initiative in association with the Active Ontario strategy. OPHEA also now manages a Curriculum and School-Based Health Resource Centre in association with the Ontario Health Promotion Resource System.
Through these key initiatives, a number of activities targeted at supporting physical activity for children and youth in the school community have been conducted over the course of the past five years, and continue to be conducted in the province of Ontario today. The activities involve both curricular and co-curricular initiatives, facilitate school-community partnerships and provincial-level coordination and have used communication vehicles to spread the message of active healthy schools across the province.
Based on its experience and collaborative work in the area, OPHEA was asked to present the learnings of this work at the National Roundtable.
Roundtable worked to develop a national vision for Active School Communities,
it was recognized that the different provinces and territories were at different
stages and capacity levels for the implementation of activities to support
Active School Communities within their own regions. Representatives from
individual provinces and territories worked together to develop provincial
action plans that would engage provincial partners in a collective effort to
increase physical activity participation in school communities.
Four key areas were identified for the province of Ontario:
OPHEA will work with other key partners in each of these four areas. As the Curriculum and School-based Health Resource Centre was identified to be the key coordinating mechanism to drive the action plan for Active School Communities in Ontario, several of these partners have already been in contact with OPHEA to express their readiness and intent to provide continued support for the promotion of Active School Communities in Ontario.
It is important that the momentum and collaborative efforts begun at the Roundtable are not lost, and in an effort to sustain that momentum OPHEA has received some base funding support from Health Canada-Ontario Region to ensure that the identified activities for Active School Communities can begin to take shape.
Specifically, OPHEA will work with partners on the following key activities:
activity promotion in the school setting holds dramatic implications in the
areas of chronic disease prevention as well as the overall healthy child
development. The first steps outlined above are crucial and will serve as
a catalyst for coordinated provincial action in this area.
1. Following the National Roundtable, participants formed an "Active Yukon Schools" working group. This group consists of representation from our Sport & Recreation Unit (Dept. of Community Services), Dept. of Health and Education, Recreation & Parks Association of Yukon (non-government), Physical Educators Association, and Association for School Councils.
2. Two presentations were developed to increase awareness & support. A longer power point presentation was developed for decision-makers and politicians; and a shorter presentation for schools. Awareness presentations were made to:
ü Association for Yukon School Councils (annual conference)
ü School administrators (at all 3 District Area meetings)
ü Individual Schools throughout the Yukon
3. A designated “Active School Communities” Coordinator was assigned. This Coordinator is the Yukon’s representative for the National Working Group – the potential mechanism for moving Active Schools initiatives forward across the Country.
4. Active Schools workshops along with active living physical education curriculum were, and continue to be presented by a team to teachers/principals of several Yukon Schools. Designation criteria has been established to define “Active Yukon Schools” and is being implemented.
5. The “Active Yukon Schools” initiative under the Yukon Active Living Strategy (approved by YTG in March 2001) and the Yukon Action plan for Active School Communities were reviewed & linked to develop an action plan for the next year – to March 31/03.
6. Social Marketing – we have and will continue promoting Active School Communities at various venues in the Yukon – trade shows; World Health Day celebrations; upcoming Yukon Community Recreation Forum, etc.. Currently developing a Mascot to take to Elementary School activities.
7. Currently compiling a listing of “Best Practices” from Yukon Schools – examples of Active Living initiatives by schools to be used as a forum for celebrating & sharing ideas within Active School Communities.
1. Review outcome of National Working Group meeting with Coordinator & Working Group.
2. Continue presentations to schools until school year ends; followed by evaluation of pilot project.
3. Develop all-schools mail out that will consist of:
ü update on Active School Communities program
ü International Walk to School Day
ü Active & Safe Routes to School Program & funding opportunities
ü new Physical Activity Guide for Children and Youth
4. Fall 2002: Implement full launch (pending arrival of interactive tools) of Physical Activity Guide for Children and Youth at all Yukon Schools.
From: Chris Szabo
I should emphasize from the outset that we are taking not only an interdepartmental approach to the whole area of active living and active school communities but we are also working closely with the non-government organizations involved in the NWT with sport and recreation to ensure that we have a coordinated approach at the community level where the action is.
At the national level the national working group needs to continue to bring focus to this area in the political arena with Provincial/Territorial Ministers on Education, Health and Recreation and Sport. It has to get on the agendas of Education and Health Ministers when they meet because we know education is primarily a P/T jurisdiction. It is going to take a collaborative approach for it to be successful and to ensure the resources are put towards it.
National promotion efforts should take regional differences into account.
Ongoing research is critical related to physical activity (I.e CFLRI) and the resources required and the coordination necessary to ensure all jurisdictions are involved has to come from the national level.
The connection between schools and communities needs to continue to be emphasized. For too long in may communities education and education facilities have been seen as separate from the community. We can make better use of limited resources if we coordinate our approaches from the outset.
* Staff from the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs have been meeting on a regular basis with representatives of the Departments of Health and Social Services and Education Culture and Employment to develop and Active Living Strategy for the NWT that has an active schools component as part of it. We have another meeting coming up at the end of April. Non government organizations like the Sport North Federation and the NWT Recreation and Parks Association have also been included in the discussions. We are currently reviewing the initiatives that have been undertaken in
other jurisdictions and we hope to learn form what has been done in other areas of the country.
* The Department of Education Culture and Employment is currently adopting new curriculum for physical education for the Elementary Schools in the NWT. Sport North had a representative on the curriculum review committee when they met in the fall of last year. They will be adopting the Alberta Curriculum. A NWT Elementary Physical Education In-service based on the new curriculum is being hosted in Yellowknife April 16 to 18, 2002.
Representatives from Sport North, the NWT Recreation and Parks Association and the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs have been invited to join the educators who will be taking part in the in-service.
* Information and posters promoting World Health Day April 7, 2002 have been distributed to all communities, schools and community health centers in the NWT.
* Summer active information will be promoted and distributed to all schools, communities, health centers and non government organizations.
* The NWT Recreation and Parks Association produces a Recreation and Sport Directory annually that goes to all communities, schools and community health centers. The Directory has contact information for all the organizations concerned with physical activity and active living in the NWT and includes copies of the Food Guide and Physical Activity Guides. Eight hundred of the directories are produced and distributed each year to improve our communication links.
* The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs in conjunction with the Department of Education Culture and Employment and the NWT Recreation and Parks Association will be hosting two Canadian Intramural Recreation Association (CIRA) Student Leadership training events in May, 2002. One workshop will be hosted in Norman Wells May 13 and 14th in conjunction with the NWT Recreation and Parks Association Annual General meeting and Conference. The second workshop will be hosted in Yellowknife May 16 and 17th.
* Plans for Education Week in March 2003 include a focus based on active living and physical activity. We have already had one planning meeting related to this. Education Culture and Employment, Health and Social Services, Municipal and Community Affairs, Sport North and the NWT Recreation and Parks Association will all be involved.
* The NWT Recreation and Parks Association (NWTRPA) in conjunction with the National Diabetes Strategy has developed a Diabetes Health Curriculum Tool Kit for Grades 5 to 6 in the NWT. The material was piloted in four NWT schools in Norman Wells, Fort Simpson, Rae Edzo and Inuvik as it was being developed. In February and March 2002 training workshops were held in three regional centers, Inuvik, Hay River and Yellowknife to train teachers, health workers and recreation staff in the material. Components included Physical activity, nutrition and anti smoking. In the next phase the plans are to do some evaluation of the Tool Kit and look at more community based delivery to get the material being used by even more front line workers. Funding and support has been provided by Health Canada, Municipal and Community Affairs, Health and Social Services, the NWTRPA, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.
* The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has added a youth mandate to it's responsibilities and the Government of the NWT has invested new money into the youth area as part of the 2002/2003 Business Plan.
* Youth conferences are hosted on an annual basis in the NWT and one of the focuses is on healthy lifestyles which includes physical activity.
From: Norm Campbell firstname.lastname@example.org
On June 12 and 13, 2002, the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association (S.P.R.A.) in partnership with Saskatchewan Culture, Youth and Recreation hosted "A Physically Active Saskatchewan" Roundtable. The hosting of this roundtable is a direct of the Active School Community Roundtable held in Charlottetown Prince Edward Island in October 2001. Delegates at that roundtable established a set of action plans to help move the Active School Initiative forward and hosting discussions in Saskatchewan were included as a priority.
The “Physically Active Saskatchewan Roundtable” provided an opportunity for leaders from health, education, recreation, and sport sectors to discuss possible solutions in addressing the physical inactivity crisis in our province. Over 80 delegates from around the province gathered for a day and a half to collaborate on these discussions.
Dr. Mark Tremblay, Dean of The College of Kinesiology from the University of Saskatchewan provided an in-depth overview of the trends, temptations, troubles and truths of physical inactivity. Dr Temblay's presentation provided a solid foundation and excellent information for the delegates to begin their discussions on the following day.
Angie Gelinas, Deputy Minister of Saskatchewan Culture, Youth and Recreation brought the Government of Saskatchewan's perspective and commitment to addressing this very important issue.
The delegates worked diligently throughout the next day using the Governement of Saskatchewan’s strategy developed in August of 2001 to determine key objectives and possible solutions. Throughout the next few months, S.P.R.A. will be meeting with Saskatchewan Culture, Youth and Recreation to further discuss the strategy, the solutions and the next steps.
Active School Communities and school curriculum issues were a major source of discussion.
Issues discussed included:
Objective: To help support and provide access to programs for people who want to become more physically active
Points to consider
· All schools to follow the active school community philosophy
· School doors need to be open to the community after hours, weekends, holidays
Objective: Implement the active school community concept for the First Nations youth in Saskatchewan’s southern communities
Points to consider
· Every school should be an active community school
· Recognize all children are potentially “at risk”
· There is a concern about the segregation that needs to be addressed
Points to consider:
· Schools need to better recognize and support all athletes no just those who make the team
· All youth need to develop the basic high school sports skills
· Change culture of coaching attitudes to better reflect the trends of the times
· Tiered system – youth are okay with this as long as they can play
· Activity time (Quality Daily Physical Education) needs to be supplemented with
recess, after school activity, etc.
· consider a lobby that parents hold schools responsible for curriculum standards of Quality Daily Physical Education (QDPE)
· Physical Activity verses Fitness Activity needs to be addressed at the local and school board levels
Objective: Ensure the education curriculum includes mandatory information on physical activity along with adequate classroom time
Points to consider:
· Provincial study regarding quantity and quality of time in Physical Education in Saskatchewan schools
· Development and dissemination of health benefits of physical activity, targeting school administrators (directors, superintendents, principals, etc.)
· Demand the hiring of health and physical education consultants and that they work collaboratively with municipal recreation and health staff (to be funded jointly by Health, Education, Recreation, Justice, Social Services
· Rule of the school à Government paper School “Plus” needs to be a part of this dialogue.
· Physical Education should be compulsory from kindergarten to grade 12.
Objective: Promote the implementation of Quality Daily Physical Education at the local, regional and provincial levels
· Partner at the local level with Saskatchewan Physical Education Association (SPEA)
· “Demand” action as opposed to “Promote”
· Identify the “police-person” who is accountable to ensure Quality Daily Physical Education?
· Inform schools and student/parent/ teacher organizations of innovative concepts such as GO FOR GREEN’S Walking School Bus or the Biking School Bus.
· Involve seniors in the Walking School Bus program
· Collaborate with City / Town “planners” to betrter design communities to be more active
· Parent / Teacher Associations help coordinate and participate in Walking / Bicycling School Bus
· Business / Employment support (link with workplace wellness)
Suggested means of achieving Action Plans/Objectives suggested by Roundtable Participants:
· Work with Public Health nurses and nutritionists in school system, disseminate resources on physical activity and links to health benefits
· Visit the website for GO FOR GREEN
· Provide resources, materials, activities on relationship between health and physical activity
· Physical activity specialist in Health District to work collaboratively with health specialist, nutritionist, etc. to embody a cross fertilization of understanding.
· Promote policies that allow for more after-hours use of schools
· Work in partnership with education administration.
· Educators must know there is public demand and must over come things like staffing, facility wear and tear, liability, etc.
· Forum to define role of Sport, Culture and Recreation in Schools ”Plus” paper
· Look at increasing after school usage (latch key programs, etc.)
· Consider volunteer supervision for non-school hour programs
· Promote community action involving all sectors (e.g. Health, Police, Social Services, etc.)
From: Barbara Hill email@example.com
As a result of attendance at the Active School Communities National Round Table in Charlottetown in 2001 October, Alberta needs to consider some strategies and actions that might serve to mobilize us in taking positive initiatives towards improving current circumstances involving active school communities.
In Canada today there is a significant problem of inactivity among children, to the point where it is a health risk now and in the future. There are and will continue to be negative social and economic impacts if initiatives are not undertaken to reverse this trend.
In the future, if this trend continues, there will be more people with less capacity to fully participate in the community. In addition, our resource pool for volunteers and community leaders may become seriously depleted, significantly impacting our ability to offer many programs that run today - hockey, soccer, basketball to suggest a few. Economically, already burgeoning health care costs will continue to rise and combined with the impending bulge of the baby boomers, there will be an even more serious draw on limited funds as people of this generation continue to develop preventable chronic illnesses at younger and younger ages.
What are some strategies that might be effective in Alberta to help to mitigate this growing problem of inactivity?
It is apparent from attending the National Round Table in Charlottetown that there is limited understanding and/or acceptance of the role that can be played by the recreation industry across Canada in addressing this issue. Although the round table was called “Active School Communities” there seemed to be a predominant focus on the role of the school - a school centred approach. There was acknowledgement of “other players” but, for the most part, the participants did not seem to understand that the school is only one place in a community where the citizen can gain and practice healthy lifestyles. Based on, and stemming from this, the following actions are offered for further discussion and consideration:
Firstly, in Alberta positive actions to mitigate this trend would be if we could work together to raise awareness of what all sectors of the community can offer to support a child and its family in developing healthy and socially responsible habits.
1. Alberta Community Development should continue to provide leadership and to increase efforts at the same time in the following areas:
q advocate interdepartmental/agency initiatives for recognition of the value of an integrated community approach to healthy living, which includes the recreation, education, social service, health and justice sectors.
q develop social marketing initiatives aimed at supporting the range of activities that contribute to healthy living.
q Invite key community and recreation industry representatives to join the table in discussions on community vitality and wellness issues. A cross section should include not only the school, but also other community stakeholders.
q Challenge the problem of funding cutbacks particularly in education from the perspective of how they affect the future health of our community both physically and socially, and thereby affecting the quality of life substantially.
q Seek methods to engage the community leadership from all sectors, not only schools, in policy direction initiatives around recreation including physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices.
2. ARPA also has a role to play in helping to address this problem. As the leading spokesgroup for the recreation industry there are efforts in the following areas that could work in synch with those of the province and other allied stakeholders:
q Development of an advocacy plan identifying the role of the recreation industry as a leader in helping link the community providers that offer healthy leisure lifestyle programs.
q Modeling intersectoral partnerships at the provincial level to identify and develop strategies for mobilizing initiatives at the local level.
q Ensure that ARPA initiatives like the play leadership curriculum development include a way of training play leaders about the necessity for including physical activity and linking with other parts of the community.
q Both ACD and ARPA would be well served if the community at the local level were to forge strong links and partnerships with recreation, education and health in addressing this issue. The advocacy efforts of both organizations could be focused on this aspect, working with existing programs like Schools Come Alive to ensure the total integration of recreation including physical activity and healthy lifestyles across the province.
Secondly, the deterioration of our physical assets that are used for school and community programming is starting to have a major impact on the ability of the community to offer the wide ranging programs that traditionally develop an active person and an active school community.
1. ACD – There is a strong need to continue the partnership we have developed with ACD and the Province through the community recreation infrastructure study and begin to link the result to the deteriorating quality of life in our communities. The epidemic of unfit children is clearly one of the outcomes.
2. ARPA - Its role is to communicate the impact of declining community recreation infrastructure and access constraints to infrastructure as the results of the current study are disseminated. Other sectors are identifying real costs from declining funding and its long-term effects. The recreation industry recognizes this impact and needs to ensure the message is heard both locally, provincially and nationally.
Thirdly, funding cut backs have resulted in less ability for all sectors of the community to access a full range of public facilities. As user fees are forced to increase, many segments of our community are excluded from participating in activities that contribute to healthy lifestyles. As school programs are reduced, community facilities deteriorate and the cost of using schools after hours increases, the option of being physically and mentally active in one’s school and community will become the privilege of those that can afford to pay.
Both ARPA and the Provincial Government have a role to play in gathering sectors of the community together in ways that can increase the effectiveness of current initiatives and perhaps generate creative alternatives for other communities.
The Active School Communities National Round Table was a good start. It will be important to extend the reach of those initiatives to the broader regional and local communities and engage thoughtful creative minds in new solutions.