It is no secret that inactivity is an epidemic among Canadian children. According to a federal government report, only 9 per cent of kids aged five to 17, get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. This has both short- and long-term consequences, the most obvious being a growing population of unhealthy Canadians. Would you like to join others in an initiative to do something about it?
It is true that the benefits of being active span beyond physical health. Participating in sport helps children learn important life skills – like discipline, confidence, and teamwork – and it provides an environment to foster self-esteem and overcome perceived limitations. Learning these skills early creates a strong foundation. In other words, sports equip kids for life.
“Unfortunately, some kids miss out on these opportunities simply because of the costs associated with organized sport, “says Landon French, president of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. “Our organization which includes 2,400 community partners across Canada, is looking to remedy the issue of cost. In fact, since 2005 we have helped over one million kids get into sports and physical activity.”
A great way to help kids get active, says French, is by encouraging them with programs they enjoy. Dreams of playing in the NHL or representing Canada at the Olympic Games may be a motivator for some, but many others value fitness, fun, or team building more than competition. To meet a broad range of interests and goals, Jumpstart funds over 70 different activities—including orienteering, ultimate Frisbee, and yoga.
“Physical activity is an essential building block in a child’s development, and we want to ensure that every kid has an equal opportunity to play,” French continues. “We provide funding for dozens of different activities so children can be active in a way that is fun for them. This way, they are more likely to be active for life.”
Did you know that June is Jumpstart Month and you can support the initiative at your local store by donating to give others the gift of play? One hundred per cent of customer donations stay in the community to help get kids into the game. If you know a kid who wants to play but is unable to because of costs, call 1-844-YES-PLAY or visit jumpstart.canadiantire.ca.