City of Campbell River programmer Megan Lawley and program coordinator of Strathcona Gardens Craig Robertson hop, skip and jump their way through the new PLAY Campbell River decals on the ground outside the front door of Strathcona Gardens. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

New initiative challenges Islanders: ‘Don’t walk in the hallways’

Hop, skip, dance, sway — anything to keep up your physical literacy skills

A new initiative is taking hold on Vancouver Island designed to get people a little more physical in their day-to-day lives or at least think about the way they move through the world a bit more consciously.

PLAY Campbell River, a partnership between the City of Campbell River, the Strathcona Regional District and various other organizations and sectors, is encouraging kids – and everyone else, in fact – to “not walk in the hallways.”

“We’re trying to raise awareness and educate people around physical literacy and the difference between physical literacy and physical activity,” says Megan Lawley, programmer with the City of Campbell River’s Recreation and Culture department. It’s fundamental movement skills like running, jumping, throwing, catching, balancing, climbing, swimming, skating, hopping, and the idea is that if you become proficient in those, you’re able to be active for life.”

Craig Robertson, program coordinator at Strathcona Gardens, says while physical literacy is the standard movements the body makes and developing competency in controlling the body, physical activity is the specific uses for those movements.

“Physical literacy is the series of movements and skills that children develop as they go through their earlier years that they can use later in life,” Robertson says. “It also gives them the confidence to maybe try new sports or activities. Youth might be apprehensive to try a new sport, but if they’ve got the physical literacy to back it up, it gives them the confidence to try it.”

If they‘re good at throwing and running, for example, they might be willing to try baseball, basketball or rugby, because they’re comfortable with the basic skills that make up the game.

But it’s not just about the kids, Lawley says.

“It’s important to practice physical literacy at any age,” she says. “It’s not just for children. We should all be practicing these movement skills and moving in different environments in different ways. It’s important to know how to control your body on different surfaces, for example, because one day you’ll be on ice or on uneven ground and you can get your balance if you lose it.”

As phase one of the PLAY Campbell River initiative, a series of decals have been placed on the ground at various facilities that say things like, “Jump,” “Balance,” and “Hop,” encouraging people to perform those actions from one decal to the next on their way to their destination raher than simply walking.

Right now, there are sets of the decals outside at École des Deux Mondes and Strathcona Gardens and inside at the Sportsplex and the Community Centre.

Phases two through four of the initiative, Lawley says, look to expand the “education and awareness” built through phase one and move on to “training, practical and sustainability,” but what exactly that will look like hasn’t been determined, because the committee implementing the initiative is made up of people from various sectors, all of which will have a slightly different approach to the idea.

“This is a multi-year initiative,” says city programmer Kara Shirley, who sits on that committee. “Once we feel we have the education and awareness out there, we’ll look at how to expand, but let’s just say that people should be watching for things to be popping up.”

For more on the initiative, visit facebook.com/PlayCampbellRiver/ or contact Shirley directly by email at kara.shirley@campbellriver.ca

For more on physical literacy itself, visit www.activeforlife.com



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

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