Youth Development Overveiw
In September 2010 Special Olympics New Brunswick (SONB) launched a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of youth, ages 2 – 25, involved in Special Olympics in New Brunswick. This program is in line with Special Olympics Canada's (SOC) strategic goal to increase the number of athletes by 7% and volunteers by 9% per year. While many other provinces have had the benefit of having a school based program in place for many years often as a result of corporate support SONB is just starting and while we are committed to this initiative we recognize that we have a long way to go.
We will be contacting school boards and community and health organizations across the province. We want to provide the opportunities to play, to compete, to win, to lose, to win at life through Special Olympics to all New Brunswickers including those who may not be registered in an active school program. We will be going to these schools and organizations and educating them on two nationally based physical activity programs which we will be promoting to the 2 – 12 age range: the Active Start ( 2 – 6 years) and the FUNdamentals (7-12) programs. These programs are two steps of a nationally accepted physical activity and development program called the Long Term Athlete Development Model, and have in fact been adjusted for athletes with an intellectual disability.
WE will be looking to assist these schools and community groups to identify young athletes and volunteers who would benefit from the establishment of an Active Start or FUNdamentals program in their community, or from existing local Special Olympics Programs. All athletes and volunteers will be registered with their regional SONB program to provide them with additional local support, additional play and development opportunities and administrative support for the realities of play such as appropriate insurance coverage.
This approach, a marriage with established SONB programs will enhance our existing programs and regional club system and provide: more teams per region per sport; more competitive and play opportunities for new and existing athletes as our leagues and clubs expand with the increased numbers; introduction of new sports into the regions; additional training opportunities for coaches and volunteers; new opportunities to engage our athletes in mainstream sporting clubs and opportunities as we discover new talent; increased socialization opportunities with other athletes of similar interest and ages.
• Provides active participation for fun
• Athletes develop play skills through movement and daily physical activity
• Skills - walking, swimming, running, jumping, balancing
• At the end of this stage, the goal is for the participant to have the physical skills and fitness level to allow physical activity for 60 minutes on a daily basis
• Provides specific training and educational opportunities for young athletes
• Athletes develop more sport-specific related skills that will contribute to future sport participation
• Skills – sport-specific jumping, throwing, kicking, running, catching, striking, agility, balance, coordination, speed
• At this end of this stage, the goal is for the participant to have improved in one or more of the following areas: physical skill acquisition, physical fitness, social skill development, decision making, and knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of physical activity
The Active Start and FUNdamentals programs contribute to improved social, physical and cognitive abilities and build the foundation for future sports success by introducing children at a younger age to the world of sport and allowing for earlier development of fundamental movement skills.
The programs will also provide the opportunity for young children to interact with peers in a fun environment while learning and improving upon basic motor skills. Participants and caregivers will be educated about nutrition and the importance of a balanced lifestyle, which will help them stay healthy throughout their lives.
For additional information please contact Mallory Driscoll, Volunteer and Athlete Coordinator – email@example.com (506) 478-3917