Empowering Youth Through Physical Literacy: The Trinity East/Port Rexton Church Lad’s Brigade Badge Program

In Port Rexton, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Trinity East/Port Rexton Church Lads’ Brigade (CLB) is making a significant difference in young people’s lives with its engaging Badge Work program. 

Since its inception in the UK in 1891, the CLB was introduced to Newfoundland in 1892 and has continuously evolved, expanding to the Port Rexton area by 1912. It offers various activities and courses catering to the diverse interests and needs of children, youth and young adults ranging from 5 to 19 years old. These courses cover different topics and allow members to earn badges through their participation. The program is designed to let children explore their interests, learn new skills, and boost their confidence.

Michael Cooper, a veteran leader within the CLB, has been at the forefront of transforming how young people approach their journey in health and well-being, including through physical activity and wellness. As a member of the Port Rexton Physical Literacy for Communities (PL4C) initiative delivered by Sport for Life and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Cooper has expanded the CLB’s educational offerings within the existing CLB Badge Program, introducing the Healthy Living/Activity Badges with various courses to engage participants further.

Within the Healthy Living/Activity Badges, the Physical Literacy Badge stands out, designed to motivate children to learn fundamental movement skills, be active, and participate in community sports and recreation. The Physical Literacy Badge is part of a broader effort to encourage overall wellness, with other badges promoting good sleep habits, healthy eating, and self-esteem—all delivered through fun and engaging activities.

“Engaging with PL4C was a real eye-opener for me. It revealed possibilities I had never considered. It introduced me to a range of new collaborative partners,” Cooper said. This insight was a turning point for the CLB, steering its health, well-being, and physical education programming towards a more inclusive and holistic understanding of health and physical activity.

Sport for Life’s online lesson planner, PLAYBuilder made the development of the Physical Literacy Badges possible for Cooper. Arriving at a critical moment for the CLB, PLAYBuilder offered a platform that transformed the organization’s approach to engaging children and youth in physical activity, sport, recreation, and physical education. Through PLAYBuilder, Cooper introduced FUNdamentals, Mini Legends, DancePlay, and other activities that made physical activity more engaging. The program also uses PLAY Tools to support community leaders in observing each child’s level of physical literacy and customizing activities to meet individual needs.

“I am pleased with the current state of the Badges Program, but am looking to expand it through outreach initiatives, involving more seniors and parents, and organizing more community events,” Cooper said. “The CLB plays a vital role in our community, serving as a bridge connecting our youth with other organizations, including the Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland & Labrador (SeniorsNL).”

The collaboration with SeniorsNL has facilitated an intergenerational connection between healthy living and physical literacy, championed by Cooper’s leadership. So far, some of the activities have included traditional board game nights and bowling. Currently, they are exploring more diverse activities, such as yoga, sewing, and how to use technology for active living. These sessions, designed to fit into local seniors’ routines, are part of a broader effort to integrate technology and physical activity, making them appealing and accessible to all ages.

Cooper emphasizes the importance of openness, resilience, and community engagement for those inspired to launch similar badge programs. Bringing together diverse expertise is crucial. As the program gains momentum, extending outreach to various community sectors, like arts and sports organizations, becomes essential.

“The foundation of such initiatives rests on volunteers and the innovative use of Sport for Life resources like PLAYBuilder and PLAY Tools,” Cooper said. ” To sustain a program, I advocate for a mentorship cycle like the one we’ve implemented at CLB, where today’s learners evolve into tomorrow’s leaders.”

If you’re motivated by the CLB’s efforts and interested in launching a similar initiative, you can contact Michael Cooper at michaelcooper@theclb.ca. Reach out to get started on making a positive impact in your community.

Skip to content