Guided by an Indigenous community development model, PLAY partners with communities to employ local community members and build capacity through training and on-on-one support. The PLAY team strives to support communities to achieve their positive goals for children and youth using sport and play as the vehicle. Each PLAY program is unique based on the needs and goals of each partner community, but all PLAY programs have a few common objectives that are guided by the holistic wheel (right) and its teachings.
What Does the PLAY Program Include
The PLAY program was designed to provide Aboriginal children and youth with the opportunity to participate in consistent, weekly, year-round programming to improve their self-confidence and enhance their capacity for leadership. In order to accomplish these goals, the structure of the PLAY Program has grown and adapted significantly over the years. To meet the interests and needs of our First Nation community partners we have offered youth programs focused on leadership and skill development, children’s programs focused on confidence building and teamwork and most recently began offering programs focused specifically on health promotion and sport-specific skill development.
This year, PLAY is proud to be offering more dynamic, relevant and customized programming options than ever before.
PLAY Programming for 2014-2015
Each community implementing the PLAY Program must choose at least 1 of the following core programs to implement over the course of the school year. These programs will begin in either September or October of 2014 and end in May or June of 2015.
The After-School Program
The After-School Program is the result of Right To Play’s partnership with local primary schools, as well as the on-going dedication of youth leaders and community Elders.
The program runs 3 to 5 days a week from 3:30 to 6:30 pm throughout the school year and is designed to offer children aged 6-12.
It includes a balance of indoor/outdoor recreation, arts/cultural enrichment, homework support, nutrition, and daily support.
It provides children with the opportunity to enhance their cognitive, social, physical, and emotional developmental outcomes.
The Youth Leadership Program
The primary goal of the Youth Leadership Program is to help youth recognize their ability to be positive agents of change in the community. To become positive agents of change in their community, it is necessary for youth to be inspired, motivated and hopeful.
At Right To Play, this means involving youth in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the program. In turn, youth will begin to understand the potential for leadership they have within themselves and the power of change they possess for their community.
The youth work together to plan, implement and assess 3 or more community events over the course of the program year.
This program may take place after school or in the classroom.
Sport For Development Programs
Sport For Development programs combine sport and play with other non-sport leadership development components to enhance their effectiveness. These programs are designed to support Community Mentors to plan, lead and assess regular sport (basketball, soccer, and lacrosse) programs in their communities. Sport For Development programs support Community Mentors in delivering fun, active and safe sport-based programming for children and youth. These programs empower children and youth to develop their sport-specific skills, enhance their leadership capacity, and understand the importance of sportsmanship and fair play. The goal of these programs is to bring new opportunities for regular sport involvement and leadership to children and youth in PLAY’s partner communities and urban organizations.
The Play for Diabetes Prevention Program
The primary goal of the Play for Diabetes Prevention Program is to help youth recognize their ability to become positive agents of change, specifically focused on issues of health and wellness.
To become role models for diabetes prevention, youth in this program increase their knowledge about good health and wellness habits through regular physical activity and nutrition education. They also participate in activities to increase their confidence as leaders.
Ultimately, just like the Youth Leadership Program, participants in the Play For Diabetes Prevention Program plan, lead and assess community events related to diabetes awareness and become positive role models agents of change in their communities.
Complimentary PLAY Programs
If a PLAY community partner is successfully implementing a core program, over the course of the year they will also have the opportunity to apply for a number of additional, complimentary programs to enhance what they are already offering or to extend their reach even further.
Summer Camps and Sports Leagues
Each summer, communities have the opportunity to shift the structure of their programming to a day-camp model for the months of July and August.
Community Mentors are fully equipped to design and implement regular summer programming in their communities through specialized summer training workshops that enhance their skills in number of ways. These trainings include sessions that support them in their role as Camp Director, focusing on positive behavior management strategies, safety, child protection, recreational program planning, inclusive practices, and staff management.
These summer camps and sport leagues are designed to provide safe spaces for children and youth to enhance life skills by tackling new challenges and having fun.
The Female Empowerment Program
The Female Empowerment Program (FEP) is a five day program designed with and for Aboriginal women and girls. Utilizing a variety of sport and play-based activities, outdoor education tools and guided group discussions, this program engages women and girls in a range of topics related to health, wellness, confidence and community-building.
Directed by Community Mentors and supported by a Public Health Nurse and Elders from the community, the ultimate goal of the program is to be a catalyst for long-term collaboration, connection, trust and empowerment among females young and old.
The content of the program varies from community to community based on the participants, the facilitators and the local context.