PLAY Shuswap hosts open house in Salmon Arm, engages community in physical literacy development

A steady stream of physical literacy enthusiasts flooded into PLAY Shuswap’s first open house in April, where they were invited to learn about all the partners and individuals in the community who are working to encourage the population to become active for life. The organization was first created as part of the Physical Literacy for Communities initiative, but is now independent and self-sustaining. 

“There was a lineup out the door before we even started and we had a continuous stream of people engaging in the many opportunities to learn more about physical literacy and PLAY Shuswap. I enjoyed meeting so many people and discussing all the different ways PLAY Shuswap may be able to partner with their organizations,” said program coordinator Amber Wright.

The event was held on April 13 at the Little Mountain Field House in Salmon Arm. They are now planning for their first ever “Day of PLAY”, where they plan to further showcase how physical literacy initiatives are progressing in the community.

“This is a great opportunity to promote your organization, highlight programs you offer, recruit volunteers or staff as well as create connections in the community,” she said. 

PLAY (Physical Literacy and You) Shuswap is a non-profit organization committed to building healthy, active and physically literate communities in the Shuswap. It was formed in early 2019. Its members, who represent education, health, recreation, sport and community sectors, meet monthly to focus on three things:

  • Promote awareness of physical literacy and its importance in living healthy, active lives
  • Promote the development of physical literacy skills in our community members of all ages
  • Provide physical literacy training

According to Donna Flatman, treasurer and founding member of PLAY Shuswap, Pre-COVID, Canada’s Participaction report card for children’s level of physical activity was given a D – a failing grade.  During the pandemic, physical activity levels dropped even further with cancelled programs, closed facilities and social distancing requirements. This decrease in physical activity affected all age levels, preschool to senior, and many experienced levels of isolation and depression. 

Flatman believes it is now more important than ever for everyone to be active to gain the benefits of physical activity – a healthy body and mind.

Drew Mitchell, the Senior Director of Physical Literacy at Sport for Life, said PLAY Shuswap is a great example of a partner table continuing its work after participating in the Physical Literacy for Communities initiative.

“We’re thrilled to see how the work done in the Shuswap has translated into a long-term partner table, and activities like this open house and the upcoming event at the farmer’s market will further solidify the importance of physical literacy in the community’s consciousness,” he said. 

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