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Call for Mentee Communities

November 2012

Canadian Active After School Partnership

The Canadian Active After School Partnership (CAASP) is a collaborative that was formed in 2010 with the objective to enhance the delivery of quality after school programs across Canada. CAASP goals include increased access for all Canadian children to after-school programs that provide an opportunity to engage in physical activity, healthy living and sound nutrition practices.

CAASP presently includes the Active Living Alliance of Canadian with a Disability (ALACD), Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC), Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA), National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) and Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE). CASSP is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

CAASP contributes toward the ultimate goal of enhance health for every child and youth in Canada. The program aims to support children in their optimal development physically, socially and emotionally.

Community Barrier Project

As part of the partnership activities in 2012-2014, CAASP is launching a national project to reduce community barriers to quality after school programs. Specifically, the CAASP partners are executing a mentor mobilization strategy to provide community to community support to address barriers to active and health after school programming.

CAASP has identified ‘promising practice’ mentor communities that have successfully overcome after school programming challenges in the following areas:

  1. Rural and remote settings
  2. Urban low social-economic settings
  3. Girls and young women
  4. People with disabilities
  5. Joint use municipal school board agreements

One mentor community for each area has been selected and will now be matched with 4 mentee communities that are presently facing challenges to providing after school programming and services in the identified area. Through ongoing engagement (via calls, meetings, document sharing) the mentor community and associated CAASP partners will provide guidance and support on the ‘promising practice’ to mentee communities. The 4 mentee communities will also learn from each other’s experiences throughout the process.

The mentorship will take place between January 2013 and February 2014. Each mentee community will also be asked to commit to taking on a self-directed mentorship role with communities after the end of the project to share what they learnt through this experience.

As part of the project, CAASP will fund and facilitate the creation of a case study on the ‘promising practice’ mentor community that will be disseminated to communities across Canada to support further action. A case study will also be done on the mentoring process to support further partnership and collaboration.

The expectations for the mentee communities include:

  • Actively participating as a mentee community from January 2013 – February 2014
  • In partnership with CAASP, receive mentoring from mentor community and engage as necessary with other 3 mentee communities in taking action on a specific after school challenge through a series of meetings, conference calls and document exchange
  • Commitment to self-directed mentorship with other communities after the close of the project
  • Participating in required reporting and evaluation with CAASP

The benefits for the mentee communities include:

  • Hands-on mentoring from a community that found solutions to challenges your community is presently facing
  • Potential solutions to a present after-school challenge in your community through ‘lessons learnt’ from mentor community and other mentee communities
  • Relationship development with 4 communities (mentor and other 3 mentees) across Canada and potential for additional mentoring opportunities with other communities
  • Development of direct relationship with the national association leading the mentoring exercise
  • A case study of the mentoring process for use in future engagements

Below is a description of the type of after-school challenge for which each mentor community will provide mentorship.

Rural and Remote Settings

Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse

The Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse is located in the downtown area of Whitehorse, Yukon and has served local youth for thirteen years. The organization facilitates two main after school programs—the Drop In Program for ages 12 – 18 and Weekday Warriors for ages 6 – 12. The most significant challenges the Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse face in delivering after school programs are funding and opportunities to broaden the scope of their service. The organization is currently working to address these challenges and to expand their Weekday Warrior program to as many schools within Whitehorse as possible.

The Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse is willing to share their experience and expertise with remote and/or rural communities offering after school programs. Sharing would take the form of training, troubleshooting and/or coaching for organizations who would like to develop or enhance their after school programs. The mentoring relationship would support the physical, mental and emotional growth of the children in these communities.

Municipality of the District of Guysborough

The Municipality of the District of Guysborough is a large rural Municipality in Nova Scotia. It has an approximate population of 4600, is spread out over 2200 km2 and has been running a successful afterschool program for the past 10 years in both schools for the P-8 age group.

Making children aware of the benefits of physical activity is an important component of PACY (Physically Active Children and Youth) Program. FitnessGRAM software is used to test children’s fitness levels at the start of the school year and at the end. The most prevalent challenge facing PACY is transportation home while good relations with local schools and well-trained staff have proven invaluable in the successful development of the program.

Urban low social-economic settings

Boys and Girls Club of Saskatoon

Boys and Girls Clubs of Saskatoon has been serving children and youth in Saskatoon and area for over 37 years. Its services range from an Early Learning Centre, Pre Schools, 30 before and after school programs, 3 drop in programs to summer camps and a youth employment program.

Pleasant Hill Clubhouse program started in 2009. This community has the highest crime rate, the lowest income and the highest population of aboriginals in Saskatoon. Prior to starting up a program in this community, the Club undertook a needs assessment and found that the community was grossly underserved due to financial, family life and safety barriers.

The program is free and runs Monday to Friday from 3 until 5:30 pm. It is in its 4th year of programming and has served over 350 children and youth – 97% of whom are aboriginal. Programs include traditional sport, culture and recreational activities with a focus on: (1) cultural leadership that involves Aboriginal Elder visits, attending aboriginal ceremonies, experiential leadership opportunities and forming a youth council and (2) FUNdamental movement skills to address physical activity levels of aboriginal children.

A 25 year-long history with before and after school programs has strengthened infrastructure so the Club can meet challenges that arise. They have had municipal school board agreements for over 25 years, have had services that have helped over 500 families re/enter the workforce and/or attend educational classes. The Club’s experience in the growth and development of new programs, securing funding have increased our knowledge and ability to adapt to community needs and provided services that benefit children, youth and their families.

Girls and young women

Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton

For more than 60 years, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton has been providing quality programs and recreation opportunities for children and youth in Hamilton, and has grown into one of the region’s most established and effective youth-serving organizations. The organization draws more than 4,000 children and youth from across the city, and operates in multiple locations to better meet the needs of families in diverse neighbourhoods.

In 2007, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton launched a girls’ healthy active living initiative after observing girls and young women were spending too much time on the sidelines, and not enough time “in the game”. The initiative now includes several targeted programs based on six core programming components: 1) Physical Activity, 2) Health and Wellness, 3) Healthy Eating, 4) Community Connections, 5) Leadership and Teambuilding, and 6) Skill Development and Goal Setting. A mentorship program with McMaster University athletes has also been established, providing positive female role models. All programs are based on CAAWS’ On the Move concept, supporting the creation of positive programs and inclusive environments. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton’s commitment to gender equity has resulted in long-term partnerships with both CAAWS and the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Strong partnerships within the community further increase the impact of their programs. As a CAASP Mentor Community, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton brings a wealth of innovative ideas to the table to inspire action for girls and young women in other communities.

People with disabilities

City of Ottawa

The City of Ottawa – Special Needs currently supports children and youth with disabilities in after Four Programs. Parks Recreation and Culture offers the Shared Care Model of Support at 7 designated sites to support children in existing After School programs. The Shared Care Workers will work in direct collaboration with After School staff to ensure for a safe and rewarding experience. Shared Care Workers and After School staff have been trained in the principles of inclusion, program adaptation and on the individual needs of children and youth. Professional staff assist with accommodation requirements.

Shared Care support is provided for a maximum of three hours per day, five days per week from Monday to Friday.( It will not include PD days, Christmas or March break or summer holidays) Program are offered for students from Grade 1 to Grade 12 depending upon community needs. Priority is given to families in need or low income areas. Program offer at least 30% Physical Activity, 20% Healthy Eating and Nutrition Education and 20% Wellness and Personal health Education. Remaining 30% is allocated to the 3 key topic areas or towards local programming specific to community needs. Staff at each delivery site are required to select programs and activities aimed at achieving the desired program outcomes while enhancing the inclusion of each child and youth. Without our support children/youth with special needs did not have this opportunity in the past and we would like to continue to offer this type of programming.

Joint use municipal school board agreements

Two major centres in central-east and western Canada are finalizing confirmation for this mentor role. Each have unique, long standing school board / municipal agreements that have supported quality after school programming. These two centres will co-share the mentorship role in this policy/program area. One centre is comprised of 4 distinct municipalities of various sizes which have an agreement with two regional school boards (public and Catholic) and they have been involved in a strategic review with all 6 partners to renew and enhance the joint relationship agreement. Learning’s from this exercise which has engaged both management and operations from the organizations will be utilized in the mentoring process along with promising practices and templates. The other centre is a large municipality which has a major commitment to after school supports and partnerships, which includes a well-established joint agreement processes with two large school boards (public and Catholic). There have been a number of innovative program and operational initiatives involving these core partners as well as many other community agencies and in recent years many of the policies and operations have been enhanced to better reflect current trends and priories.

We welcome your expression of interest in being a mentee community under this project and ask that you indicate your interest by January 11th, 2013.

Within your expression of interest – please tell us about the challenge your community faces in the after school time period and the benefit you believe you can receive from this mentoring experience. (1-2 pages maximum)

Questions or expressions of interest can be submitted to:

Anne Morgan (Recreation and Parks Yukon)
Rural and remote settings
[email protected]

Jan Vesna (Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada)
Urban low social-economic settings
[email protected]

Sydney Millar (Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity – CAAWS)
Girls and Women
[email protected]

Jane Arkell (Active Living Alliance for Canadian with a Disability)
Peoples with Disabilities
[email protected]

Larry Ketcheson (Parks and Recreation Ontario)
Joint Use municipal school board agreements
[email protected]

More about CAAWS’ after school resources.

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