“I do feel more physically active now that I’m in Trailblazers because when my friends come over we usually sit inside and watch TV or play on our electronics. But now that I have cool Trailblazer games, we can go outside and I can teach them to my friends that aren’t in Trailblazers and we can have fun”.
— Shaelynn, student
The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) has released a report to tell the tale of the Trailblazers program.
What you will find:
- images and stories of its young participants, parents, instructors and principals learn
- inspired tales of the benefits of getting kids outside, playing and learning.
“I would absolutely join again because of everything that we’ve talked about today and because of the wonderful people instructing it and how kind they are and supporting. And I just love everything about it. There is literally nothing I could say wrong about it. It makes me teary eyed to think of a world without Trailblazers”.
— Emelia, student
Trailblazers is a free outdoors after school program for children in grades 4 through 7 that takes place in wooded areas on or adjacent to school property at rural and community schools in Lunenburg County.
Program goals are to increase participants’ physical activity, develop their outdoor and leadership skills, and foster a stronger connection with the natural world.
Trailblazer programs, with slight variations, are in several communities such as the Village of Bible Hill and Kentville.
Need some guidance? Are the kids active enough and are we offering a quality program?
These are the first of its kind in Canada and are offered as a guideline to support and guide inclusion of physical activity in the after school time period. There are two handy checklists in the document to assess areas of strength and improvement.
What is a quality after school program?
The Canadian Active After School Partnership (CAASP) has developed a working description of what it means to offer quality after school programs.
The full report can be found here.
- provides an intentional, child centred, community based and needs driven environment
- provides a safe environment
- is led by caring, trained and skilled adults
- can be supported by mentored youth leaders
- provides daily opportunities to enhance well being
- ensures physical, social, emotional and intellectual development.
- is fun and challenging and designed to bring about improvements in health and skill delivers a minimum of 30
- minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.
- Food is healthy and portions are appropriate.
- plans and budgets for inclusion of all children.
- nurtures friendships and positive social interactions
- ensures maximal access to a variety of indoor and outdoor community
- facilities which are safe accessible and secure, and have well maintained
- and modern equipment.
- balances both play and sport and physical activity skill instruction,
- is directed in part by valuing input from participants and their parents.
- is regularly evaluated
- has policies and procedures
Let Them Play: Lessons from After School Programming in King's County