TORONTO, Ont., May 22, 2014 ISN – Athletics Canada announced today a new five-year partnership with The Hershey Company that aims to get children excited about physical activity. A key component of the partnership is the expansion of Run Jump Throw, Athletics Canada’s official grassroots program that introduces youth ages 7 to 12 to the fundamental skills of running, jumping, throwing and wheeling through track and field-inspired activities and games.
Run Jump Throw currently reaches 100,000 Canadian children annually. To further grow participation, Athletics Canada is developing resources and partnerships that allow schools, municipalities, facility operators, after-school programs, track and field clubs and other sport organizations to deliver the program. A new fun and interactive web-portal will further connect participants and instructors from coast to coast and promote physical activity.
“We are ecstatic to have Hershey on board to work together in attaining our mutual objective of getting Canadian kids active and providing them with a sound foundation for a lifetime of physical activity,” said Gord Orlikow, Athletics Canada Board Chair. “This game changing partnership will position Run Jump Throw as an entryway to sport and recreation through a try track concept, positively affecting the youth of this country from coast to coast.”
“Athletics Canada is a longtime partner for Hershey in our commitment to youth activity through track and field,” said Bernie Banas, who serves as the Chair of Hershey’s Track & Field Games. “Our founder, Milton Hershey was passionate about youth development through learning, and we look forward to creating more learning opportunities through the expansion of Run Jump Throw.”
The partnership announcement was made in Mississauga, Ont., at the Hershey Centre SportZone. Athletics Canada Sport Ambassadors Donovan Bailey, Perdita Felicien, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Mark McKoy, who own a combined total of four Olympic medals and twelve World Championship medals, were on hand leading 150 kids from local schools and track clubs through Run Jump Throw activities.
“I was blessed to have parents that acknowledged that education and physical activity go hand in hand,” said Donovan Bailey, one of the world’s all-time greatest sprinting legends and world champion. “If it was playing basketball with friends or competing on the track, being surrounded by friends created an environment of competition and admiration. Today, there are so many distractions these young kids can forget the excitement of being active. This commitment from Hershey is a step in the right direction.”
“As an Olympian and mother of two young children I am very happy that Hershey is supporting the Run Jump Throw program,” said Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist. “It is great to see organizations investing in youth, especially in a program such as Run Jump Throw that delivers all of the necessary tools to establish habits for lifelong activity.”