This year marked the fourth year of Special Olympics BC running the Fit Families & Friends program, which was created to help athletes stay active in the summer in a fun environment. This program provides great opportunities for Special Olympics BC athletes to get out with their families, friends, and social supports to meet as a group and exercise together, creating an engaging atmosphere to encourage each other and meet health goals together.
Groups meet for fitness-building hikes, sports or other healthy activities depending on the Local, with the common goal to get participants moving and get that heart rate up! Langley’s program leader Tanis Thiessen says, “Every session we had the participants laughing and smiling and happiness is a big supporter of health.”
The value of Fit Families & Friends extends beyond the summer months, as the program instills healthy habits that participants can carry with them moving forward. Participants form a social network where they can discuss health and nutrition tips. In many communities, each week participants and their supporters signed up to bring a recipe, with enough copies for everyone in the program to take one home with them. One of Langley’s most popular snacks were Chef John’s Chocolate Energy Bars. “We were able to educate both the athletes and the parents / family about how easy it is to get out and be active and we provided a good base of knowledge that can be used out beyond the Fit Families & Friends program and in their everyday lives,” Thiessen said.
Locals that offered Fit Families & Friends this year include; Campbell River, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Kelowna, Kimberley/Cranbrook, Kitimat, Langley, Mackenzie, Prince George, Quesnel, Smithers, and Terrace. They have done a great job of offering this program, and participants have been having tons of fun staying active and exploring their communities.
“Fit Families & Friends has been a big hit in Chilliwack,” program leader Megan Owens says. “The athletes and their families love exploring the walking trails our city has to offer. Along with the walks I encourage healthy habits, and we all have great conversations!”
Through Fit Families & Friends many athletes are making the transition into their local Club Fit programs that run from October to June and keeping the ball rolling on their healthy lifestyle. Check with your Local for more information on Club Fit!
Even though Fit Families & Friends programs are ending for the season, participants – and all athletes and families – can still have a great time staying active together all year round! Many thanks to all of the participating volunteers, athletes, and supporters who made this program so much fun and so helpful for health and fitness!