PLAY Shuswap is working towards more physically literate communities, focusing on the importance of remaining active through all phases of life.
Physical and Health Education Canada defines physical literacy as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities. These values are important for everyone from children to seniors, and it is PLAY Shuswap’s mission to develop and foster projects that help people be active for life.
Laura Paiemont, PLAY Shuswap president and School District 83’s healthy schools and self-regulation coordinator, started a group, with help from rec centres, before the Covid-19 pandemic. The goal was to help families, communities and schools better understand what physical literacy is. The group applied for and received the Sport for Life grant, funded by Sport Canada, which allowed them to expand and become PLAY Shuswap, a non-profit organization.
“We’re finding, as a society, we’re not movers,” said Paiemont. “We’re decreasing the amount of movement we’re all doing at all ages.”
Inactivity impacts mental well-being, ability to focus, stress levels, future mobility and almost every aspect of life, said Paiemont. PLAY Shuswap is committed to educating and building healthier, more active and physically literate communities in the Shuswap areas.
PLAY Shuswap partners with rec centres in Salmon Arm, Enderby and Sicamous to host physical literacy activities and events. During the pandemic, virtual scavenger hunts were popular, where people of any age could participate, getting outside and into their communities and completing different activities and movements. As they were moving, players were to take pictures of themselves completing the activity, to be submitted to PLAY Shuswap to compete for prizes.
At festivals and events, PLAY Shuswap will set up with an obstacle course, educating people as they move their bodies.
As well, physical literacy kits are available through the rec centres. The kits include activities to promote physical literacy, like hula hoops, ladders, balls and other game suggestions that facilitate balance, coordination, and agility. Kits can be borrowed by contacting Sicamous recreation (firstname.lastname@example.org), Enderby recreation (email@example.com) or Salmon Arm recreation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Moving forward, PLAY Shuswap is in the process of hiring a coordinator to work with more groups in communities helping people become more active, like sports clubs, early learning organizations and groups that work with new immigrants to Canada. The goal is to streamline the work these groups do and achieve widespread physical literacy.
Jan. 21-29 2023 is Unplug and Play Week, a week spent encouraging children to take time away from screens and explore different ways to have fun. PLAY Shuswap will be hosting an outdoor scavenger hunt during this week. Send a photo of yourself completing one of the activities to email@example.com and you will be entered to win a grand prize. More information will be available on playshuswap.com.
If you are interested in physical literacy or are involved in a project that aligns with PLAY Shuswap’s values, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.