New pilot program in Fenelon encourages people to become Active Again

By Trevor Hutchinson

Would you like to try a new sport or activity but just don’t know where to start? Or do you need a program that helps with special needs you may have? There is a now a new low-cost program that can help you be Active Again.

The new pilot program being run in Fenelon Falls will enable City of Kawartha Lakes residents to try various recreational activities in a comfortable environment with other participants who may require an ‘adaptive’ or modified approach to participating.

Active Again will enable participants to try out six different activities: curling, in March 2019; Nordic pole walking, May and June; adoptive (walking) rugby, June; cycling, June -August; yoga, July and August; and pickleball, September. All of the programs are being offered in Fenelon Falls.

This innovative pilot program was made possible by a Trillium Foundation Grant to the Kawartha Cycling Club. The associations involved in offering programs are: Fenelon Falls Curling Club, Nordic Pole Walking, Fenelon Yoga, Fenelon Falls Pickle Ball, Lindsay Rugby Club (Walking Rugby) and the Kawartha Cycling Club. The Kawartha Lakes Sports and Recreation Council (KLSRC) is providing project coordination.

The KLSRC was founded in 2015 and according to Co-Coordinator Dennis Geelen, “is committed to the enhancement and promotion of sport, recreation and healthy active living opportunities for all citizens in CKL. We strive to support the growth of sport and recreation in CKL by providing a network for stakeholders to share resources and expertise.”

According to Geelen, as part of its’ community consultations, the KLSRC heard that “older adults, especially in the rural communities would like to have more opportunities to try sport and recreation activities at an introductory level and a low cost to build some skills and determine if it is something they could enjoy. Active Again is trying to provide an opportunity to ‘try-out’ 6 different activities, with adaptations and modifications for beginners, for those who have been out of the game/activity, and for persons with a disability. Active Again is designed to appeal to mainly older adults, but also anyone that has found issues participating in sport or recreation activities due to accessibility or adaptability constraints. The goal is to engage anyone interested in participating who may have either gotten away from sport and recreation over the years or whose participation has been limited due to a disability or change in functionality.”

“Several sport and recreation activities can be modified to suit various ages and abilities. The Active Again project is a fun opportunity to join with others who may be discovering or rediscovering a sport, in a modified form that suits their current level of ability. The program is designed so that participants can try multiple activities and hopefully find one (or more!) that they enjoy and that gets them back into regular physical activity,” adds Geelen.  

Funding from the grant allows participants to try out several different activities at one low cost: $70 for all six activities, $60 for four and $50 for three. Funding will also help cover “expenses such as adaptive equipment, facilities, and trainers so participants can try an activity without having to pay for any special equipment or training,” adds Geelen.

The initiative also provides a way to share local expertise amongst neighbours. The Kawartha Cycling Club, for example, has been operating in the city for 15 years. KCC president Art Hornibrook explains that “several of our members are also CAN BIKE instructors offering formal teaching for all ages in a multi level program.” Active Again enables all the participating clubs to share this local knowledge base to neighbours of various abilities and/or with various needs  at a very low cost.

The initiative is part of the KLSRC’s mission to promote and increase ‘physical literacy’: the idea that the fundamentals of movement should be a ‘cradle to grave’ activity.

And judging from this pilot program, it’s also about trying new things in a supportive environment and having fun.

For information and to sign-up for Active Again contact the KLSRC here, email or call 705-324-4493 x237.

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