Alissa Penney

Alissa Penney

Mission Strong draws 80 kids

The challenge sent participants through an obstacle course in Centennial Park

More than 80 youth ran through an obstacle course at Centennial Park Oct. 19 to celebrate the end of the four-week Mission Strong program.

Beginning Sept. 23, participants worked out at the Leisure Centre three times a week either in the weight room, pool or gym.

They were able to see what the Leisure Centre has to offer, learned how to use equipment and not be intimidated, explained Stephanie Key, deputy director of Mission’s Parks, Recreation and Culture department. Some of the activities offered included battle rope and slam balls.

Youth of all physical abilities signed up for the challenge, which Key notes was not a race, although some ran through the “tough mudder-style” course as fast as they could.

“Hopefully they had some fun and realized being active is not just all stress and hard work,” said Key.

This is the second year the Leisure Centre has offered the  program for youth.

“We always did a fitness challenge in the spring called Spring Into Motion that had an adult focus,” explained Key. “We wanted to do something for youth to keep them active.”

It proved difficult to incorporate a youth component in Spring Into Motion due to weight room age restrictions. Mission Strong is a supervised program. An autumn event was chosen to coincide with the start of school when children usually fall back into a routine.

The event symbolizes strong minds and strong bodies, Key added. Kids can make new friends at classes and motivate each other to keep attending.

“Childhood obesity continues to be on the rise … We can’t solve the problem alone, but it is well documented and we can try to provide as many opportunities as possible for kids to stay active.”