BU hosting second Family Fun Fest Saturday

Physical literacy and activity promotion for all ages returns with Bobcats from the university’s basketball, volleyball and soccer teams in attendance.

A one-day program promoting the benefits of participating in sports and general physical activity is returning to Brandon University Saturday after significant success in 2017.

The Community Family Fun Fest will take place from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. Saturday at BU’s Healthy Living Centre. The event, which is being hosted by BU Bobcats Athletics, Westman Physical Literacy and The Healthy Living Centre itself, provides members of the public an opporunity to learn about physical literacy and try various activities with the help of some Bobcat athletes. 

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The event is open to people of all ages and is free of charge.

“The goal of the event is to give folks the opportunity to try out some new sports and physical activities that they may not have tried, or have tried and want to play with a Bobcat,” said Nikki Dean, health promotion coordinator for Prairie Mountain Health. “We also hope to inform parents and people that work with children and youth about physical literacy and how it leads to physical activity and overall health and wellbeing.” 

The Community Family Fun Fest was established last year after Dean attended the International Physical Literacy Conference in Toronto. She heard about a similar program established in Markham, Ont. and thought it would find success in Brandon.

After speaking with BU campus recreation director and Bobcats men’s basketball coach Gil Cheung, the pair began putting the Family Fun Fest together. Both are on the Healthy Brandon in Motion committee, an organization that promotes healthy living in the city. 

“We had more than 200 community members participate (last year) and around 20 Bobcat athletes,” Dean said. “We hoped it would be successful enough to make it an annual event so its popularity last year definitely sealed the deal.”

Dean said the partnership with the BU Bobcats and the availability of the Healthy Living Centre on Louise Avenue was significant in the success of the inaugural Family Fun Fest. Like in 2017, this year’s event will host members of the university’s basketball, volleyball and soccer teams. 

Besides an opportunity to try various popular sports, there are new attractions being organized for Saturday. These include an obstacle course, a Bobcat Ninja scavenger hunt and expanded pickle ball facilities.

“Pickle ball is really popular with all ages and we really found that last year, so we’re dedicating the entire Henry Champ gym to that this year,” Dean said. 

The ninja scavenger hunt will have participants attempt various movements to see how many they can accomplish. These skills will include balance walking, hopping up stairs, skipping and crab walking.

Passports are also being handed out to participants for them to collect stickers from each Family Fun Fest activity station. Once filled, the holder will receive a ticket to a Bobcats game, a Bobcats poster and a sports beverage. 

“We’ll also have a door prize you can enter with your completed passport with a whole bunch of goodies,” Dean said.

The Westman Physical Literacy committee is made up of individuals from several community stakeholders with ties to sports and physical activity. The organization seeks to increase physical activity among children aged 12 and below. 

“We’re gearing up for a fall education and awareness campaign and will be using the Community Family Fun Fest as our kick-off to the campaign,” Dean said. “We’ll have lots of resources and information on what physical literacy is, why it’s important and how parents can learn more. There is also a chance to win a basket with some fun physical literacy goodies.”

For more information on the Community Family Fun Fest, visit Brandon in Motion’s page on Facebook.

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