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The L.E.A.F. Initiative is a Commonwell program to grow capacity and resiliency in the communities we call home.

Reconnecting and Reclaiming: Enhancing Community Capacity for Active Living In Kingston

28 Division Street KingstonK7L3N6

Target Completion Date: June 30, 2024

What is this project about?

Our project aims to support community capacity, awareness and opportunities for recreation, sport and physical activity in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) community. Kingston Gets Active (KGA), a collaborative not-for-profit partnership that includes representatives, organizations, and institutions from various sectors including health, education, research, recreation, social, and municipal sectors, will facilitate this project. The past few years of the COVID-19 pandemic have been tremendously challenging for most people. The closing of recreation and sports facilities and orders to stay home disrupted our routines of getting out in the community to access active spaces and opportunities. We want to encourage community members to reconnect with and reclaim their community through physical activity. We will accomplish this through two main activities, 1) Grade 5 and 9 ActivPass, and 2) Social Media Training for KGA members. These activities are detailed below.

  1. Grade 5 and 9 ActivPass

The Grade 5 & 9 ActivPass (https://kingstongetsactive.ca/resources/grade-5-9-activpass/) is an annual initiative (EST. 2005) connecting youth in Kingston to local places, spaces, and opportunities to get active. The ActivPass grants students in grades 5 and 9 free access to local pools, ice skating rinks, curling facilities and community gyms at designated times for the entire school year and summer, removing the barrier of cost and increasing accessibility to local recreational facilities. ActivPass recreational facility partners waive entry fees for ActivPass students.  Grade 5 and 9 students were selected because they have been identified as being at critical life-stage transition points regarding active behaviours. This community-based initiative uses an ecological approach to promoting physical activity through multi-level and multi-sector collaboration with individuals, intermediaries, and community organizations. This approach is consistent with literature suggesting that partnerships between the community and schools are essential in increasing physical activity involvement in youth.

While this initiative has had documented success in the past, the initiative was put on hold for 2 years during the pandemic. Now, more than ever, it is important to re-engage with the youth in our community and connect them with local opportunities to get active. Funding would allow us to further revive and reinvest in the ActivPass through the following ways: a) increased promotion targeting students, parents, and teachers through social media platforms; b) updating our promotional video to showcase the ActivPass; c) designing and delivering a  20-minute presentation (including information on the ActivPass, 24-Hour Movement Guidelines and a fit break)  to deliver in schools; and, d) organizing Grade 9 field trips to facilities for local school groups. These field trips will take place during the students’ Physical Education classes; groups will be transported to the facilities by bus and will be given a personalized tour of the facilities, will be shown how to use the equipment and/or participate in a fitness class.  These field trips will allow the students to get comfortable in the setting, making it more likely they will return to the facility to use their ActivPass. Familiarity with the location has been shown to build the students’ self-confidence to attend on their own.

Facilities will track ActivPass use. We will also host an “ActivPass Think Tank” at the end of the school year with ActivPass partners to review and evaluate program outcomes from the previous year and to plan for the upcoming year. Youth representatives from grades 5 and 9 will be invited to the “Think Tank ” to provide input on how to promote the ActivPass to their peers. The “Think Tank ” will also provide us a platform to discuss with our partners a transition to a digital ActivPass to reduce financial and environmental costs.

  1. Social media Training for KGA members

Social media marketing is the process of creating content to share on social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) and has become a popular outreach practice in recent years. With funding, we will hire a trainer to work with the KGA coordinator and KGA members (i.e., representatives, organizations, and institutions from various sectors in the community who make up KGA) to effectively use social media for the promotion of initiatives, services, and programs. Community recreation, physical activity and sport opportunities are available in the Kingston and area community for people of all ages and abilities to get active. Despite their availability, some of these programs and places remain underutilized, often due to a lack of awareness of their existence. Raising awareness of events, resources and opportunities among the Kingston community continues to be a challenge for KGA members.  By hiring a professional, we hope to improve our social media knowledge and skills, and thus increase the community’s awareness of existing physical activity infrastructure and opportunities. In addition to supporting the skill development of our coordinator and members, we will provide an opportunity for a student to assist with the creation of our social media content including the updating of the ActivPass promotional video. We will track social media analytics over time to gauge the impact of the training on member outreach to the community.