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Health Matters

Spotlight on the Keyano College Be Fit for Life Centre

March 1st, 2015

By Michelle Toner

Keyano College is one of only nine colleges in the province that house a Be Fit for Life Centre (BFFL) on campus. The centre provides services and educational resources to encourage the physical activity of community members, working to support programs and initiatives that fit your needs, whether at school, home, work, or in the community.

In the past year, coordinators and programmers from the Keyano College BFFL Center have been busy interacting with children between the ages of 18 months and 6 years of age. Programs such as Playful Paws, PALS (Playground Activity Leaders), the RUN Program as well as Mega Boys and Girl Power all aim to follow the Term Athlete Development Model presented by Canada Sport Life, which encourages lifelong learning, involvement and physical activity.

The Pouncing Paws program is currently running with our youngest group of participants, toddlers ages 18-36 months old.  Pouncing Paws takes place twice a week for 45 minutes, and is an introduction to physical literacy for children. Children are taught the fundamentals of movement and encouraged to engage in free play with their parent and/or chaperone. Be Fit for Life Coordinator, Keegan Kuhr explains that “Paws is a very special program and we are happy to be able to bring it to the families in our community.  When I talk to most of the Be Fit for Life Centre Coordinators around Alberta they are very happy Keyano’s Campus is able to offer such an excellent and affordable program for children in the Region.” Kuhr also notes that “children really develop throughout the program and it is impressive to watch them progress from the beginning of the program until the end.” Stemming from the popularity of the structured gymnastics program in town, the Paws program was developed to provide a very basic introduction to physical literacy without the cost, large class sizes and wait times of some more traditional programs. The RUN Program is offered exclusively to Fort McMurray Islamic School students in grade 5 & 6 because they share a gym with Greely Road School, which decreases the amount of time students have in the gym. About 50 students make their way to the RUN Program every Thursday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. It begins with an hour of training on equipment ranging from ladders to hurdles, and wraps up with students running for 15-20 minutes before participating in free play.

According to Canada Sport for Life, children need to be introduced to unstructured active play, including a variety of body movements, during the first 6 years of growth.  At this age, children need to develop the ABC’s of movement; agility, balance, coordination and speed. All of which are addressed in the PAWs program. ABC’s are essential for developing fundamental movement skills, which will later provide the foundation for fundamental sport skills. Together, they form the basis of physical literacy.

The P.A.L.S program introduces students in grades 4, 5, and 6 to the concept of leadership; showing them how they can be positive, active role models for younger children in grades 1 & 2. Sticking with the Active Start concept, instructors provide student leaders with the practical knowledge required to lead other students in daily physical activities. Throughout the program it is emphasized that physical activity is a part of a regular routine and doesn’t happen without effort.

Two of the most well-known initiatives executed by the Be Fit for Life Center in conjunction with local support agencies are Girl Power and Mega Boys. These events introduced grade 5 students to a variety of activities and sports initiatives, in an effort to keep children engaged for years into the future.  It is in that stage that we start to see a decline in the rate of activity in children.  Girl Power and Mega Boys serves to empower youth to find something that they enjoy, something that piques their interest so that they continue to participate and engage in physical activities on a regular basis.

For those that have committed to making physical activity a part of their regular routine The Be Fit for Life Centre also provides the mean to further their education and certification in the world of fitness. The Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association (AFLCA) is the certifying body for those wishing to pursue a career in fitness leaderships. Courses such as AFLCA Exercise Theory, Fitness Theory and Resistance Training are all available here in your community and are facilitated through the Be Fit for Life Centre. Keyano is proud to be the location for upcoming instructors to become trained and certified in our community. Those interested in pursuing a career in this field can find and register for upcoming programs through the Syncrude Sport & Wellness Centre or online at

Do you think you, your school or place of business could benefit from the assistance of the Be Fitfor Life Centre? We are here to help! We want to assist our community become a happy, healthy place to live. If your organization requires the services of Be Fit for Life, whether for resources, guidance, presentations, or help with an active living event - please contact us at

Michelle Toner is the Guest Services & Marketing Manager at Keyano College - Sport & Wellness Department.

Tags: exercise, health, kids

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