Cowichan recreation gets $25,000 shot in the arm

A $25,000 grant announced last Wednesday aims to get children in the Cowichan Valley up and active.

Cowichan region recreation staff are celebrating the grant, which comes from RBC to promote physical literacy through a program called Canadian Sport for Life.

"I think the whole community is going to benefit from it," said John Elzinga, general manager of the Recreation and Culture Department for the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The funding is for a year of projects, and while those projects have not been specified yet they will target children ages two to 12 to "become competent and confident in a wide range of fundamental movement skills, including running, jumping, throwing, agility, balance, coordination and speed."

"Our vision is that the Cowichan communities will be the most livable and healthy in Canada," agreed outgoing CVRD Board Chair Rob Hutchins. "Grant opportunities like this one from RBC help us deliver services to make that happen."

Recreation staff from Ladysmith Parks and Recreation, North Cowichan Parks and Recreation, South Cowichan Recreation, Cowichan Lake Recreation, and the Island Savings Centre coordinated in the grant application.

Representatives from KidSport Cowichan, School District 79, and Our Cowichan Communities Health Network are also part of the local planning team.

Canadian Sport for Life has been prompted by the fact that nationally, children are meeting only five per cent of physical activity guidelines and spend over seven hours a day in front of digital screens including televisions and computers. Cowichan is no exception, said Elzinga. "It certainly is an issue for us as well," he said.

"I certainly do see a lot of our children with portable devices and spending a lot of time in front of screens," Elzinga noted. "As a recreation practitioner we’re always trying to get kids as well as all populations more active."

"I would like to congratulate the CVRD on being one of the 35 successful applicants in B.C.," said Corrine Thompson,RBC Royal Bank branch manager. "The Duncan branch staff is excited to have the community receive this grant and the opportunities it will provide for the children of Cowichan."