Boosting the confidence of young athletes in Central Alberta while at the same time getting them off the couch and taking part in a sport is part of a new approach to physical activity in the region.
The initiative, Play Central which was started by Red Deer College’s Be Fit For Life Centre has received $15,000 to help in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
Red Deer was one of four communities across the country to receive the matching grant funding from the Canadian Sport for Life Community Connection and the money will be used in part to establish a mini summit.
“Partners are what we need at the table or some parents, educators, sport associations or recreation departments in order to make a good, strong movement of changing what we see. It’s a little bit of lack of physical literacy, the confidence with regards to kids moving forward in being active,” said Barb Marsh, Be Fit For Life coordinator at RDC.
Marsh said if kids aren’t active in the first stages of life the chances are they won’t be as they move forward through their lifespan.
Part of the process is providing the education for those people who are directly involved with these young athletes or students, she said.
“Supporting leaders within sports, education and health in regards to getting the skills to be able to correctly make adjustments in regards to running, throwing, striking a ball and then building the confidence.”
Marsh said the results from research being done is showing a lack of confidence in youth from Kindergarten age up to 10 years of age for example, when it comes to running or catching and even just being involved in sports of any kind.
“I would say the majority that we’re targeting is probably the ones that don’t have the confidence or the fundamental skills to play the sport,” she said, but the help is not limited to that cross-section of kids. “There’s always a group of individuals that have some ABC’s, agility, balance and coordination but they need additional support so I think we can’t forget about that group of people.”
Marsh said even so, they do need to spotlight the group which needs the correct start going and making that impact earlier.
“As we know, as they are introduced and are successful and happy and having fun and having the confidence to do these types of activities we know that they will continue to be active throughout their lifetime so then when they hit their 80s they’re still being active.”