Open letter in reaction to the government’s decision to suspend extracurricular and organized physical activities
From: Claudine Labelle, President and Founder of FitSpirit
One for all, and all for them
Even before the pandemic, teenagers were not active enough, not taking away the maximum physical and mental-health benefits to be had as a result. In fact, nearly one in five young people only are considered to be physically active*, which is a well-known issue to all players in our health and education sectors. The pandemic’s consequences on access to organized sports and extracurricular activities will only exacerbate an already critical situation in that regard.
Are we concerned? Yes.
Are we giving up? No!
In accordance with public health guidelines, we must find constructive solutions to the problem and do everything we can to reverse the trend.
Keep the bonds between teammates in play
Physical activity and sports are excellent ways for our youth to socialize and develop self-confidence and relationship skills, especially when adults can help cultivate those healthy relationships.
Why not continue to nurture the quality relationships that would normally develop through sports and extracurricular activities, in spite of them having been cancelled? Through:
- • Regular communication between coaches and their charges;
- • Virtual online get-togethers to reproduce a team atmosphere;
- • Remote challenges to keep one’s self motivated;
- • The promotion of co-support and mentoring on the part of peers, empowering them to come up with their own solutions and keep themselves engaged;
- • The maintenance of the roles and resources responsible for each of these activities under normal circumstances (teachers in charge of track & field, cheerleading squads, etc.)
One thing is for sure: We must find ways to maintain the progress we have made up to this point or risk losing it all after having been cut off from one another.
We are willing to bet that ultimately young people will find a way, develop the right habits and skills. They may even be key to discovering new ways of accomplishing these goals, as we alter course accordingly.
For almost 15 years, we at FitSpirit have tackled the issue of the low level of physical activity among teenage girls. We work closely with high schools to help with the roll-out of extracurricular programs that encourage them to become and then stay physically active.
In the coming months, FitSpirit promises to be there for high schools, including all those in the red zone, to keep teenage girls moving. Now more than ever, they need to be able to have fun and stay active all the while. With a small army of ambassadors, coordinators, school officials, student leaders, employees, and regional partners, we are ready to give them the tools they need to not just stay active, but want to as well.
Schools, sports federations, and community organizations are all devoted to keep from letting our young people down right now, each in their own way. It is time to join forces! One for all, and all for them.
President and Founder, FitSpirit
* The Quebec Health Survey of High School Students, Institut de la statistique du Québec