This past season, MLCFC participated in the Peterborough Public Health Unit’s Healthy Kids Challenge with 23 teams participating! One of our coaches even won the challenge and was invited to share her experience at the Rooting for Kids dinner hosted by Peterborough Public Health on December 7, 2017.
“Hello, thank you for the opportunity to speak this evening. I am grateful to be a part of this community and proud to be in a helping profession. I was introduced to Peterborough Public Health’s, Health Promotor Deanna Leahy a few years ago while working at the Cavan Monaghan Libraries as their Coordinator of Community Outreach Programming and Partnerships. Deanna was offering a program for children 5 years old and under reinforcing healthy habits and keeping active. I was impressed that Peterborough Public Health was offering free programming to the public and their process to get involved was so simple.
A few years later I see Deanna’s name again promoting the Healthy Kids Challenge, associated with the Maple Leaf Soccer Club. I remembered the simplicity of getting involved with her programming in the past so took the opportunity to make contact once again!
As a new coach to the Maple Leaf Soccer community this starter package was just what I needed to introduce myself to a bunch of U6 children and their parents, BRING FREE SWAG! Peterborough Public Health’s Healthy Kids Challenge provided a water jug, water bottles, and stickers, with information for each player and family. Our half-time challenge was simple, promote healthy half-time snacks, encourage healthy habits, and take pictures having fun! What a great challenge! We nicknamed our team “TEAM CANADA” because of our red jerseys, we took pictures each week enjoying soccer, showing off our new water bottles, and eating healthy snacks. We looked like a team and we ACTED like a team. The Healthy Kids Package started other team building initiatives for our soccer team. Weekly, we put on Canadian tattoos or stickers while playing the field, OR we would run waving Canada flags around the field before or after the game! On Canada Day we stood as a team and sung O Canada while other people on the field joined in. As a Coach, this was amazing.
The Healthy Kids Challenge was more than just healthy eating and habits, it was also about healthy hearts and minds. We gave words of encouragement on and off the field, we got excited about fruits and vegetables as our healthy half-time snack all because we were doing this together as a TEAM. All of our hard work paid off when we were notified we WON the challenge!! We won a gift card to a local grocery store. How was I going to offer a DIFFERENT reward of health and wellness to my hard working U6’s that we hadn’t already covered? So…I bought ice packs, kids snack containers, and filled them with of vegetables and fruits, I wrote words of encouragement and praise in each grab bag.
On the last day of soccer, I lined up the players’ prize packs on the sideline of the field. I congratulated them on their hard work and commitment to thinking, moving and eating healthy. They all broke out in O Canada, it was priceless. This challenge began as an icebreaker for me, as a coach, to introduce myself and start the soccer season off with a bang! BUT it turned into a challenge that not just filled our tummies BUT filled out hearts too.
Programs like these are so valuable for our community. It is easy to get involved, they are good for our health and wellbeing, and you our participation is FREE!! Keep up that great work Peterborough Public Health and count me in on your next initiative. :)”
~Coach Lindsay Molloy, MLCFC
Our club is so fortunate to have such amazing volunteer parent coaches in both our house league and rep division programs. MLCFC was thrilled to be invited to the Peterborough Public Health Rooting for Kids dinner to hear the success stories of other community partners and show our appreciation for the dedication and hard work of our local health promoters.
For more details about the healthy kids community challenge please visit the Peterborough Public Health website here.