Nakusp’s recreation department mobilized quickly to organize a handful of events in recognition of National Health and Fitness Day on Saturday, June 2. Recreation Assistant Codie Jones took on the task as a pet project and tapped into the fitness community for willing volunteers. Several Nakusp ladies offered to donate their time and a schedule was drawn up to include three sessions of yoga, a couple of beginner runs and a guided bike ride.
National Health and Fitness Day is the brainchild of the Kootenay’s legendary former Senator Nancy Greene Raine, whose website says, “My background in sports has given me a passion for the promotion of health and fitness among Canadians. In 2014, my Bill to establish the first Saturday in June as National Health and Fitness Day every year across Canada passed unanimously in both the Senate and House of Commons.”
Greene Raine counts among her accomplishments being an Olympic gold medalist in skiing, membership in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the United States National Ski Hall of Fame. She retired from the Senate in May 2018 when she reached the mandatory retirement age of 75, but still keeps continues with important projects such as this.
The senator’s office emailed the Village of Nakusp on April 30 to invite participation, and Jones took the idea and ran with it even though there was such a short timeframe within which to organize the event with only five weeks to plan and promote awareness.
Because of the short notice, organizer Codie Jones said, “We didn’t have as many people as I would have liked to have seen. But as it was the first year, there was very little time for organizing and executing the entire day.”
Jones was able to work some magic and created a number of free events. She sent out invitations and requests to various members of the health and fitness community to volunteer their time.
“The yoga community was amazing. We had three instructors that were willing to give an hour of their time; Terri McLeod, Carlee Hughes and Koots Roots Yoga’s Kristi Williamson. Sufferfest’s Janis Neufeld offered up two running sessions. We were hoping to target the people that maybe would be interested and wouldn’t mind a little bit of direction or support along the way so we went with two kilometer runs and then a 5km bike ride through Shon’s Bike and Ski..”
Village Council has proclaimed the first Saturday of June to be National Health and Fitness Day annually. Jones says she learned a lot about what to change for next year and would like to add more activities such as tennis, pickle ball, and street hockey. Because Nakusp doesn’t have a recreation facility like many communities do, the challenge is to come up with activities that can be offered at no charge. The Village thanks the people who came out to take part and to the members of the fitness community who donated their time.
The National Health & Fitness Day website says, “Canada is facing an inactivity crisis. Daily physical activity is on the decline and preventable illness is on the rise. It’s time to get up, get out, and get active!” Nearly four hundred communities from across the country have already joined the initiative.