There were a lot of speeding tickets handed out at Ellenwood Provincial Park last week and those on the receiving end couldn’t have been happier.
“I got a speeding ticket!” yelled out one young person.
“I got three!” said another in response.
And both were grinning from ear to ear.
More than 250 students from six elementary schools in Yarmouth County took part in a finale event at Ellenwood Provincial Park on June 4 as part of their school year involvement in the Doctors Nova Scotia Kids Run Club. The run club is an initiative that happens at schools across the province to promote physical activity with young people.
Schools closer to Halifax usually use a component of the Bluenose Marathon as the event their students train for. Locally, it was decided to hold a finale event in Yarmouth County to give students who took part in the run clubs throughout the school year something to strive for as well.
The students trained throughout the year with volunteer coaches, who are mostly teachers and/or staff from their schools.
The involvement of the RCMP was a unique twist added to the Yarmouth finale event. Aside from running with the kids on the 2.1K and 4.2K routes, the RCMP gave out many tickets – there were speeding tickets given to fast runners and runners who passed the RCMP members. There were also tickets handed out for walking in a running zone. The students could negate those tickets by picking up the pace and running instead.
“It was a good opportunity for the kids to get to know RCMP members, so they know that we’re here for their safety, we’re more than just faces arresting people,” said Constable Mario Gougeon, who is also an RCMP school liaison officer in the schools. “There are seven of us doing the run.”
“I gave a ticket for someone who had an untied shoe,” he said. The tickets were used to enter students into draws for prizes. “I had a couple of kids pass me in the final stretch, they got speeding tickets.”
Jackie d’Eon of Plymouth School was thrilled with how the event went, not to mention that it was actually a great day weather-wise.
“Because it’s our first year we just did the Yarmouth County schools, but we hope it grows,” she said.
D’Eon had been at a fundraiser for Special Olympics in Halifax where the RCMP took part and she thought it would be fun to involve them with this event.
“We also partnered up with ParticipACTION Canada because they have their big community challenge going on, so we get to count all of these minutes today,” she said. The Health Promoting Schools initiative also provided support, as did Doctors Nova Scotia.
Asked for what she hoped would be the biggest takeaway of the day, d’Eon said, “It’s just got kids so excited about being out here. When we had no event you’re trying to convince kids to run around the soccer field every week. So with this we had a really fun, motivating event for them to train for.”
Students in Grades 3 to 6 are involved in the Kids Run Club.
At the end of the event Meadowfields Community School was presented with a banner for being involved in the run club for 15 years. It was also mentioned that local teacher Mitzy Grimshaw-Poole who is one of only six teachers who has been with the Kids Run Club for all 15 years.
As for the kids who took part, it was a lot of fun to be involved in the Kids Run Club.
“I really enjoy the running,” said Jackson Wyman, a Grade 3 student at Plymouth. “Today is perfect weather condition,” he said, noting the tickets he got covered a wide range. “I got a ticket for walking in a running zone and I got one for running too fast.”
About the Kids Run Club
Kids Run Club began with 3,500 participants and 58 schools in 2004 and has grown to reach more than 17,000 youth in 220-plus schools and groups across the province. At its peak, the program has engaged more than 80 per cent of Nova Scotia’s elementary schools.
Implemented in all regional education centres across Nova Scotia, generally as an extra-curricular program but can also be done school-wide during class time.
A walk-jog approach is encouraged and fun is emphasized. Many participants train to complete a final fun-run of 2.1, 4.2 or 5 kilometres.