Canadian Parks and Recreation Association gets First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth more physically active

Winnipeg, March 31 – First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities now have a custom-tailored program that incorporates culture and tradition into recreation programs directed toward getting children and youth more physically active.

Launched today, the Everybody gets to play(TM) – First Nations, Inuit and Métis Supplement targets Aboriginal communities and recreational professionals servicing these locals. The new program is designed to provide specific information about First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and how recreational activities can be better tied into their unique history, circumstances and culture. The objective is to reduce barriers to recreation participation and increase a more all-inclusive environment with the youth while teaching them to incorporate, appreciate and understand the customs and traditions attributed to their community.”Although First Nations, Inuit and Métis children are more active than their peers from other origins, it is imperative that physical activity for aboriginal youths incorporate traditional values and customs, which are vital to the communities, into the program,” says, Dr. Lynn Lavallée, developer of the Everybody Gets to Play – First Nations, Inuit and Métis Supplement for the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. “The program goes one step further. We worked with many people to ensure that it will be a valuable resource tool for recreational professionals who service aboriginal communities so there are seamless programs that meet the needs of the children, and tools to encourage youth to be active, while incorporating culture and traditions that are so important to their way of life.”

“The First Nations, Inuit and Métis supplement of the popular Everybody Gets to Play program takes a wholistic approach to the program,” explains Randy Kinnee, president of Canadian Parks and Recreation. “Aboriginal culture emphasizes the importance of four life sections – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – in all activities. This supplement ensures that this world view is effectively communicated to recreational professionals, with examples and resources, so that the culture and traditions are understood by those who have not grown up in these communities. Recreation professionals will better understand the needs of community members and ensure that their programs are frequently used by youth, which is our goal across Canada.”

Besides getting youth involved in activities such as hockey and soccer, this new program also encourages recreational professionals to incorporate traditional activities such as powwow dancing for First Nations People, jigging and fiddle music for Métis and drum dancing, throat singing and culturally-oriented games for the Inuit into the programs.

“Through this supplement, we want to emphasize how the program is anchored on traditional teachings such as the Medicine Wheel,” adds Lavallée. “Although the Medicine Wheel teachings are not part of all aboriginal peoples’ culture, we use this teaching to highlight the benefits of physical activity, sport and recreational participation for each of the four dimensions of wholistic health – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Incorporating distinctive Aboriginal world views encourages recreational providers to hire aboriginal peoples to help deliver physical activity programs and incorporate appropriate traditional teachings for the community.”

The First Nations, Inuit and Métis program is a supplement to the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association’s successful Everybody gets to play(TM) Community Mobilization Toolkit. The objective behind Everybody gets to play(TM) is to enhance the lives of all children and youth – particularly those in low-income situations – through the increased access to recreation.

The Canadian Parks and Recreation Association is a national voluntary-sector organization dedicated to realizing the full potential of parks and recreation services as a major contributor to community health and vibrancy for more than 60 years. Our members are parks and recreation professionals representing communities across Canada. We work closely with 13 provincial and territorial parks and recreation associations and collaborate with a host of other national organizations operating in the recreation, physical activity, environmental, facilities, sports, public health, crime prevention and social services arenas.

For further information: Media contact: Chantal Courchesne, Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, Phone (613) 864-2686,

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