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Increasing Physical Activity and Sport for Ontario Women 55-70+
Funded Pilot Projects

Sport for More Program - Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport: May 2010 to March 2011 projects

The following projects focused on increasing sport and physical activity for Women 55-70+ took place between May 2010 and March 2011. These projects were made possible through a grant from the Sport for More Program of the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport.

The Voyageurs 4 Season Trail, Dokis First Nation (near French River)
A Walking program to encourage more women 55-70+ to use the trail as well as train Women 55-70+ Elders to lead groups focussing on: looking for plants; birds based on the different seasons; studying mushrooms; socializing through the preparation of wild mushrooms- soups & caps, etc. Taking place fall and winter and targeted at: women of Dokis (55-70+) and surrounding First Nation communities – Henvey, Nipissing and Temagami First Nations, Wasauksing First Nations.

Contact Information:
Group/Organization: Dokis Young Senior Women
Contact Person: Bernadette Restoule
Email: Bernadetterestoule57@hotmail.com

Chicks with Sticks, Woodstock
This is a program focused on engaging women 55-70+ in the sport of pole walking taking place in 6 week sessions with beginners progressing to intermediate. The program is led by women 55-70+ and takes place at locations throughout the community, making it more accessible to more women in the community.

Contact information:
Group/Organization: South Gate Centre Woodstock’s 50+ Recreation and Community Centre
City: Woodstock ON
Email: chris@southgatectr.ca

Heart Healthy Seniors, Sioux Narrows
The aim of this program is to enhance the physical activities that already exist at the Seniors Centre. A trained leader will show the women how to play golf, as the community has a golf course that is accessible and how to cross country ski, as there is a provincial park with ski trails accessible in the winter. Peer leaders (women 55-70+) will be the trained leaders that will do the instruction.

Contact Information:
Group/Organization: Sunrise Echoes Seniors Center
Contact Person: Holly Kropelin
Email: hkropelin@nwhu.on.ca

OSCC’s Women Learn to Play Series, Oshawa
Through this project the Oshawa Senior Citizen Center’s (OSCCs) will offer a number of Learn To Play Clinics for senior women focusing on techniques, methods, skill building, equipment, rules, confidence building for women to learn to play sports such as tennis, canoeing, cycling, golfing, horseshoes and slo-pitch. Program coordinators found that senior men are the majority of attendees at these recreation programs so the hope is that through learn to play clinics, more women will attend by building their knowledge, skills and confidence. A kickoff to this project would be a sports and fitness fair where each sporting group would present what they have to offer for women 55-70+ in sport and fitness. As part of the project a committee of senior women will be formed to work with staff to select the clinics, put together the sports fair, measure the outcomes and evaluate the results.

Contact information:
Group/Organization: Oshawa Senior Citizens Centres (OSCC’s)
Contact Person: Kim Evans
Email: kevans@oshawa.ca

En Mouvement avec les Vipères, Sudbury (Moving with the Vipers) Promoting physical activity among women aged 55 to 70+ years
Coordinated by Collège Boréal, this program builds a relationship between students and women 55-70+ in the community who are interested in getting more involved in sport and physical activity. As part of the project the students will conduct questionnaires with the women to find out what they are interested in and then work with community partners to engage francophone women 55-70+ in activities that are of interest. The focus of this project is on francophone women in and around Sudbury.

Contact information :
Groupe organisation: Collège Boréal Promotion de l’activité physique et santé (PAPS)
Personne-ressource: Emilie Coulombe
Courriel: Emilie.Coulombe@collegeboreal.ca

Zoomers in Motion, Windsor
Through this project, introductory free trial sessions and demonstrations to be held on September 12, 2010 to coincide with ‘Grandparents Day’ at Devonshire mall for women 55-70+. This event will include programs and demonstrations of activities offered in the Windsor-Essex area. Partners will set up booths and demonstration/participation activities. Each of the partners will also have opportunities to complete on-site registrations for programs specific to women 55-70+. The first 100 attendees will be given a free pass to try out any one of the partners’ programs. All partners offering programs at the event will be invited to submit program and registration information to the www.SWOntarioinmotion.ca website, a one stop site for physical activity related information in southwestern Ontario. This project hopes to increase registration in local programs and offer new programs for women 55-70+; Develop ongoing strategy and continuity for ‘Zoomers’ through in motion; Develop relationships with service providers and groups who provide programs for women 55-70+; Develop some ‘best practices’ approach to future programming of events for women 55-70+; Increase awareness to a diverse population of opportunities to participate in Seniors Games (Note: Pickle Ball is a recent addition to the Games). Through the In motion strategy, an ongoing campaign targeting Zoomers will be launched in conjunction with this event to help ensure continuity of the message for programming and opportunities for participation in the area.

Contact information:
Group/Organization: SWARG
Contact Person: Cathy Copot-Nepszy
Email: cnepszy@Wechealthunit.org

Fun, Fabulous and Loving 55+, Sarnia
Through this project a community “Try It, Find Out About It” Sport and Activity Expo for Women 55 and better will be organized with a multitude of mini “Try It” sessions (approximately 15 minutes in length). The sessions will include Tai Chi, chair volleyball, pickle ball, pilates, Nordic walking, chi walking and chi running, rowing, NIA ( an exercise program incorporating, dance, martial arts and healing arts movements), stretching, build your bones, zumba, hip hop, tennis, table tennis, aquatic exercise, belly dancing, cycling, boot camp and more. The expo will also include information tables featuring the importance of exercise on topics such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, proper footwear for sport and activity, nutritious snacks and eating for energy and health. As part of the Expo there will be a questionnaire to find out what women 55 to 70+ want in the community to make them get and stay active. A working group of women 55 to 70+ will plan, implement and operate the Fun, Fabulous and Loving 55+ Women’s Sport and Activity Expo to ensure the interests and needs of this group of women are met and use the results of the Expo questionnaire to formulate and implement a sport and activity strategy to get women 55 to 70+ in Sarnia Lambton more involved in sport and activity.

Contact information:
Group/Organization: Strangway Community Centre
Contact Person: Miriam Carmody
Email: mcarmody@sarnia.ca

Fitter, Faster, Further, Thunder Bay
This project is designed for women 55 to 70+ to get fitter, walk faster and go further. Two (2) walks @ two (2) locations (Thunder Bay North and South) per week for 6 weeks will be coordinated (one in the spring and one in the fall). Fitter, Faster, Further walk volunteers will be women 55 to 70+ who have overcome obstacles to lead a fitter life. Their stories will figure prominently in the promotion campaign. The Fitter, Faster, Further volunteers will serve as positive role models to women in the program and in the community. There are currently ad hoc walking groups in Thunder Bay but this project will be different – it will be based out of a restaurant where people 55 to 70+ gather and will be encouraged to regroup there after their walk. Walking routes would be designed by walk leaders with the assistance of Lakehead University kinesiologists. Walks will feature varied routes, speeds and terrains. All walks would fit within a 30-minute walk time frame. Some walks would incorporate equipment such as walking poles to work the upper body. Walkers will be encouraged to set goals for their participation. By partnering with the Lakehead University Kinesiology department pre and post measurements will be gathered. Walkers would be surveyed at the beginning of the project to gather their walking frequency and walking barriers. This project was featured in a ParticipAction webinar on October 20, 2010.

Contact Information:
Group/Organization: City of Thunder Bay Recreation & Culture Division, Older Adult Unit
Contact Person: Nancy Angus, Community Program Developer – Older Adults
Email: nangus@thunderbay.ca

Mississauga Senior Games (MSG) Engaging Women 55-70+ in Sports
This project is focused on engaging and training women 55-70+, with a view to increasing involvement in that demographic, to participate in the MSG. The project involves information gathering; program development & modification; communications planning and implementation; “try it”; and training opportunities. Facilitator led focus groups will gather information from women currently involved and not currently involved in Senior games in Mississauga to determine: the benefits of being involved in Seniors Games; why they are able to/unable to participate in Seniors Games; what resources are required to promote Senior Games to women 55-70+; determine what would be required for current participants to expand their participation in sports activities; develop a team of women to correlate the focus group information and create and implement a plan to move forward on the information provided; host free Try It ongoing training sessions of various sports. The plan would include training individuals, increasing partnerships and creating resources to promote the benefits of various Senior Games sports in a sustainable manner.

Contact Information:
Group/Organization: Mississauga Senior Games
Contact Person: Catherine Holland
Email: info@sportsmississauga.org

Making Rusty Blades Shine
This is a refresher skating program for women 55-70+. A training coach 55-70+ will lead this 16 week skating program specifically designed for women 55-70+ to improve their skating skills and confidence. For those women already competent in skating, they will be encouraged to join the synchro team. Once piloted, this program will be added to the annual Skate Canada roster of offerings which will increase numbers and lower costs overall.

Contact Information:
Group/Organization: Mount Forest Community in Motion Committee
Contact Person: Suzanne Trivers
Email strivers@mountforestfht.com

Fitness 55+ Program, Toronto
This project will encourage isolated, vulnerable, ethno-specific women 55-70+ to participate in Yoga and Exercise programs exclusive to their needs. Program objectives include: increasing participation in recreational, social and leisure activities amongst women aged 55 to 70+; increasing volunteer support amongst various ethno-specific groups as volunteer leaders to sustain the program; conducting and participating in public forums on specific needs for recreation, social and leisure programs for ethno-specific women 55-70+; advocating on behalf of older adults and disabled adults for increased support for recreation, social and leisure programs especially geared to women 55-70+. Women aged 55 to 70+ are members of the Steering Committee, will be involved in the hiring of instructors, determining of places to operate the programs, volunteering to administer, providing outreach for the programs and conducting final evaluations.

Contact information:
Group/Organization: York-Fairbank Centre for Seniors
Contact Person: Lisa Tobio
Email: yorkfairbank@on.aibn.com

Heart Wise Exercise – Active Women 55 Plus Program, Ottawa
The ‘Heart Wise Exercise – Active Women 55 Plus Program’ is designed to inform and encourage women 55-70+ who are currently inactive and may have risk factors related to heart disease, stroke, diabetes or obesity to take part in a safe, effective and on-going physical activity/sport program that has been designated as ‘heart wise’ in their local community. The focus of the project will be to target inactive women 55 to 70+ (especially those in rural communities) to take part in one of their local ‘heart wise’ programs. This may be a school or mall walking program, a local aqua-fitness or yoga program, a women’s intro to paddling program, a recreational badminton or cycling program or an on-going aerobic program offered by one of the local fitness clubs or Y. Coordinators of this project will work closely and be supported by the current Heart Wise Exercise program staff and volunteers in Ottawa, Renfrew County and Prescott-Russell. Women 55 to 70+ will be involved in discussions and promotion of the project in their local community. As appropriate, some of these women will be asked to volunteer to help promote the program and provide assistance in the running the programs.

Contact Information:
Group / Organization: Heart Wise Exercise Program – Champlain District
Contact Person: Jane Brownrigg (University of Ottawa Heart Institute) or Anna Fuite (National Capital Region YMCA-YWCA
Email: jbrownrigg@ottawaheart.ca/ annafuite@hotmail.com




Photos courtesy of CAAWS - Mariann Domonkos Photography
© Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, 2006-2011