Activating Communities and People – Recreation’s Renewed Focus

The last time I was at a BCRPA Symposium the province was just winding down from the biggest party we’d seen since Expo ’86. Of course I’m talking about the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Hosting the Games brought increased attention to the contribution of sport, recreation and physical activity to our communities. The recreation sector stepped up to the plate to support the provincial government’s goal to get British Columbians more active.  They were also key partners with BCAHL and its members BCRPA, UBCM and Heart and Stoke Foundation Canada in implementing physical activity initiatives in communities across BC. Winning Legacy projects such as Built Environment Active

Transportation (BEAT) and Everybody Active left an impact that communities are still building on today.

Stepping back in to the fray at last week’s Symposium, I could see that the sector’s commitment to health and wellbeing is undiminished.  The workshops I attended, and keynotes on place-making and physical literacy, emphasized the many ways that the recreation sector supports wellness and wellbeing in communities across BC.

The process of developing a National Framework for Recreation and its endorsement last year by the Provincial/Territorial (P/T) Ministers responsible for Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Pathways to Wellbeing has laid a foundation for rethinking the role and function of recreation.  By reframing recreation as a public good that’s in the business of activation –  community building, activating inactive people to become active – there’s an open invitation to other stakeholders to join in.

The framework is a call to action for recreation providers, but also for stakeholders in healthy living and health promotion. The Pathways document acknowledges that discussion and collaboration across sectors will be required for the realization of its vision and goals.

The first thing I did when I got back to my office was re-read Pathways to Wellbeing.  I’d encourage you to do the same and reflect on how it connects to your work.

Anna Kirbyson
Physical Activity Coordinator
May 2016

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