ACTIVE SCHOOLS - Students from Maryview School in Red Deer took park in the Healthy Active Schools Symposium hosted by Ever Active Schools. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Healthy Active Schools Symposium helps develop young leaders

Students participate in activities in the fields of art, dance, healthy eating and leadership

Ever Active Schools held their Healthy Active School Symposium at CrossRoads Church to help groom young leaders in school communities throughout Central Alberta.

The symposium, which is funded through Alberta Health Services, the Be Fit for Life Network and the Communities Wellness Fund, allows students to participate in a variety of activities in the fields of art, dance, healthy eating and leadership.

The events are all about supporting healthy school communities through student leadership,” said Katelynn Theal comprehensive school health coordinator with Ever Active Schools. “We really want to empower school leaders to come here, connect with other schools, celebrate all their cool ideas and then collect theirs ideas and bring them back to their school communities.”

Theal said the events all focus on the overarching themes of healthy eating, active living, mental health and learning.

She added collaboration among schools is also a focus of the program.

“We really want the school teams to connect with each other, but we are also want them to go outside their comfort zone to connect with other schools,” she said. “This morning we had a poster gallery walk, where each team highlighted some of the things they are proud of in their school.

“They are celebrating that and sharing their ideas with other schools.”

The event is a provincial operated, but is run with the help of a local committee which forges partnerships with groups like Red Deer College, who provided several of the sessions. The feedback from the community has been positive, according to Theal.

“This is actually our 11th year hosting these events across the province and the feedback from schools we have received through the years is they are happy,” she said. “They are telling us they are getting lots of ideas and it helps them with action planning.”

Action planning is core component of the day and each group gets together at the end of the day to set their goals going forward.

“Schools are telling us the day is really supporting building those action plans and they are seeing those plans come back to life in their school communities two, three, four, five months later,” Theal said.

She added, “These events are really exciting and we are always really happy to see the smiles on the kid’s faces.”

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