The Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Lambton-Kent District School Board, St. Clair Catholic District School Board, Sport for Life, and the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario are thrilled to announce that the YMCA is the recipient of the Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant of $519,400 for the Physical Literacy Action Plan for Chatham-Kent. All partners are working together, with the support of this grant, over a 36-month period. This strategy aims to build a multi-sectorial alliance of community stakeholders from partners in health, education, sports and recreation.

The long-term goals of the project will aim to:

• Create a community where people understand, value and develop physical literacy and participate in physical activity that supports their well-being, and
• Create a community where parents, teachers, coaches, and practitioners are informed, trained, and supported in delivering quality physical literacy experiences for children and youth.

“I’m excited about this initiative and its goal of promoting physical activities for our local young people,” says Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey. “It’s very rewarding to see the YMCA and its partners joining together to encourage more active lifestyles in our communities.”

Physical literacy is more formally defined as the “motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” (Canadian Physical Literacy Consensus Statement, 2015).

Physical inactivity is linked with a number of chronic diseases and conditions including obesity and heart disease. In Chatham-Kent over 60% of adults and 40% of youth are overweight/obese, 49% of people age 12+ report being physically inactive, and many rates of chronic disease and related deaths are higher than the provincial average. These significant gaps in local health status require a physical literacy approach to increase movement ability and confidence for lifelong participation in physical activity. By building capacity of those working with children and youth in Chatham-Kent, this project will assist all sectors to deliver quality physical literacy experiences which positively influences the early development of youth, and set children on the path to a healthy and successful future.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded more than $100 million to some 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.