Encouraging Young Families To Shoot for the ‘Stars’

Engage Sport North elevates physical literacy for children and parents in northern BC through Active Star, Parent Pump programs
Sep 25, 2023 12:15 PM ET
Parents and children in a large open space with play equipment.

It’s September and that means schools have opened their doors for the children across Canada. Hooray for those fortunate parents!

However, for those with young children who are not yet of school age, daycare often becomes the primary option. Though only if they can afford or secure a daycare spot.

But what if there’s a free program that allows parents a couple of hours to recharge with their kids while also learning through movement?

That’s exactly what Engage Sport North, a non-profit sport-delivery organization, provides in northern BC. Their program, called Active Star, welcomes children aged 2-5 years old to join their no-cost physical literacy education for two hours each morning on weekdays.

“Lots of people will bring their babies, and they just get to run around on the field, crawl, or climb on different equipment that we have down there. They also get to play with balls—passing, rolling, basically just to get them moving,” says Kimberly Feragen, Athlete Coach Services at Engage Sport North.

“But the cool thing about it is that it also gets new parents or grandparents out there. They’re visiting while they’re all playing. So not only are the children getting some physical literacy, making some friends, learning how to interact with other kids, but the parents and the grandparents are also doing that. So it’s also a family program,” explains Feragen.

For parents whose children are out of diapers, they can also opt for the Parent Pump program. This drop-off initiative caters for those who wish to exercise and use the sports center facilities, while their children participate in their own movement session.

One of Engage Sport North’s primary objectives is to deliver inclusive quality programs in physical literacy. Physical literacy means having the basic skills, knowledge and comfort to participate in different types of physical activities throughout life, forming the foundation of healthy living. “The sooner you can get people involved in movement and skills, the better it sets them up for a healthy lifestyle throughout their life,” adds Feragen.

Enbridge promotes the concept of vibrant communities, and recognizes the significance of supporting physical literacy in our communities. Through our Fueling Futures program, we awarded a $5,000 grant to Engage Sport North to support the expansion of its programs in more communities.

This September, the people in Dawson Creek will be able to benefit from the Active Star program as well. Initially launched two years ago in Prince George’s Northern Sport Centre, Active Star has continually received overwhelming positive feedback from the community.

So what do the parents need to do to get in the program?

“Just go to our website and register. Or if you want, you can show up in the venue and register,” encourages Mandi Graham, Executive Director, Engage Sport North.