On July 26th, Sport for Life, in collaboration with the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA), ran a SportFit© session with newcomer children and youth as the first step of the Newcomer Sport for Life Program. SportFit© is a physical activity and sport discovery program that provides analysis and recommendations to children and youth for the sports they have a natural affinity towards.
It was an exciting session with a great turnout of over 65 children and youth between the ages of 6 and 19 years old. The newcomer participants came from many different source countries, spoke a variety of languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Korean, Cantonese, Tagalog and Spanish and were supported by interpreters. There were lots of laughs and a healthy dose of competition as the participants completed the eight activity stations which assessed their endurance, speed, power, flexibility, balance, strength, agility and aerobic ability.
The overall aim of the Newcomer Sport for Life Program is to help newcomer children and youth get involved with existing quality sport and physical activity opportunities in their new community. With the SportFit© session now complete and the results generated, the next steps include connecting the participants to a Sport Coordinator and the ICA Youth Services Team who will assist each participant in finding the right fit for sport, help them access registration and equipment funding, and offer ongoing, culturally tailored support as they progress through their sports during the year. The ICA will also be delivering diversity training to sport organizations to ensure that they are well prepared to welcome these children and youth into their programs.
Linking into community sport and accessing the resources available is often complex, yet sport can play a vital role in newcomers’ sense of belonging. Newcomers can also bring a renewal and sense of vibrancy to sport and recreation organizations. It is imperative for the sport system to be accessible to all, and this program will work to ensure that any barriers to participation are overcome through a team of support who help bridge those gaps.
A big thank you goes to the Victoria Foundation and KidSport Victoria who are generously funding the program, Thrifty Foods who provided food during the SportFit© session, and the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence staff and other volunteers who helped run the session.
When it comes to building positive life skills, sport and physical activity are as essential to a child's development as anything they will learn in the classroom or at home. What can a student learn from playing sports? Things like teamwork, discipline, hand-eye coordination, decision-making, and not to mention fun and friendship. - SportFit©
If you would like more information or are interested in getting involved, please contact Emily Rand, Manager of Special Projects, Sport for Life Society, firstname.lastname@example.org.