Elsie Roy Elementary students were inspired to get involved in sports during an Active Adventure Day on Nov 16. Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer, Vancouver School Board Trustee Al Blakey and Canadian Olympic rower Darcy Marquardt came out to the school to make a special presentation of new sports equipment and sports bags to students.
Councillor Reimer spoke to the students about the Sew a Legacy program, which employed women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to sew the City's retired Olympic banners into sports bags for local school children. The one-of-a-kind backpack style bags contain school supplies and other items donated by Mills Basics, ActNow BC, Health Canada, the BC Dairy Foundation and the City of Vancouver.
In addition, 2010 Legacies Now, VSB and BC Soccer donated soccer balls, jerseys and goalie gloves for the school's physical education program. In total, 2621 sport bags, 179 soccer balls, 11 ball bags, 11 pairs of goalie gloves and 232 soccer jerseys are being given away to 11 inner city schools during similar Active Adventure Days programs.
Marquardt, a champion rower began her presentation by leading the students in a big cheer which she asked the students to use next year in rooting for Canada during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. She also shared her experiences competing in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. "In Beijing my favourite moment was standing in a crowd of Canadian athletes and hearing my teammates sing O Canada, not once, but three times before we entered the stadium."
Trustee Al Blakey also took a moment to encourage the students to get involved in sports activities. "Who knows, maybe in 20 years some of you could be Olympians," he said. He added that not everyone can become an Olympian but that being active can lead to a happier and more involved life.
The purpose of the Vancouver Parks Board sponsored Active Adventure Days is to introduce students to the SportFit program which encourages them to take part in sports and healthy physical activity. At Elsie Roy, grade 4-7 students took part in a number of activity stations designed to test their abilities. City of Vancouver Red Fox volunteers, comprised of students with Aboriginal heritage supervised the stations.
The Red Fox program combines active play, food security and leadership training to improve the levels of fitness, health, capacity and social responsibility of Aboriginal and low income families in the Lower Mainland.
Justin Alec, from Britannia Secondary's Outreach program has been volunteering with Red Fox for several years. "I heard about Red Fox from a friend and thought the work experience would look good on my resume. It feels great to know I'm now one of those people I used to look up to as a kid."
Similar Active Adventure Days will be hosted at Britannia, Grandview, Macdonald, Mount Pleasant, Nightingale, Roberts, Roberts Annex, Seymour, Simon Fraser, and Strathcona elementary schools in the lead up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.