Families Get Active with Teen Challenge

Little sister rocking the agility ladder, big brother trying out warrior pose, Dad killing it at Zumba, and mom acting fly in hip hop? Say what??

This was the case at the Hugh Cairns V.C. School’s “Family Fitness Fun” event held in late November 2015.  Organized by Daryl Lesyshyn and supported by the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge, the event was focused around providing opportunities for families to increase awareness of leisure options and thus improve their Leisure Literacy.

Families had the opportunity to choose three of four sessions to attend, each with a different focus.  The sessions included: Zumba, Yoga, CrossFit and Hip Hop Dance.  Each session was 25 minutes in length.  The day began with a fun game of High Five Tag, with those of all ages (adults, teens, younger children) involved.  In no time at all, the parents became quick targets. 

Daryl Lesyshyn, organizing teacher, said, “After some initial anxiousness, by some parents, to get fully involved in their activity, it was soon evident that they lost those inhibitions and became positive role models for their children by fully participating in all activities.”

This is an important aspect of programs such as this as various studies have shown that, “when children see adults doing activities, their brain cells copy that action. It’s good for parents and caregivers to be active with children, and to make that activity fun. Children pick up on adult attitudes and will establish attitudes of their own based on these early experiences.” 

This holds true for teens as well as research also finds that “Strategies to promote physical activity among adolescents should focus on increasing levels of family cohesion, parental engagement, parent-child communication and adolescent self-esteem.”

In total there were 77 participants involved in the Family Fun Fitness.  Lesyshyn surpassed his original goal of 50 registrations,and is already looking toward to planning the event again next year.

He states, “I am extremely proud of the families of HCVC by their participation, enthusiasm and overall support of this new initiative for the community. Plans are already underway for next year’s Family Fitness Fun event. This was definitely a career highlight within my Physical Education.”

Participants were as thrilled as him with the activity, and surely next year will see an increase in registrations.  Some quotes from participating families include:

“We enjoyed the event as we could try some activities our family had never tried before.”

“I took part in the event because I wanted to spend time with my family doing something fun and meeting other families.”

“Very well organized and piles of fun.”

“An excellent way to try new things as a family.”

“We had a wonderful time.  I hope there’s a chance to do this again, as it is a great way to bring people together.”

As the Provincial Coordinator for the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge, Desirea Weninger (Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Consultant) was proud to see the community in action, “It’s great to see the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge at work reducing barriers to teens to get active.

Hugh Cairns V.C. school has applied for funding in the past and had great success with their events, highly motivated individuals like Daryl Lesyshyn can utilize opportunities such as the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge to enhance the lives of the students they work with.”