Grande Prairie Regional Sport Connection providing on-line programs for locals in quarantine

Grande Prairie Regional Sport Connection executive director Karna Germsheid at the recent Northwest Alberta sports awards banquet at Evergreen Park earlier this month. The Sport Connection is providing on-line physical activity classes to adults and children, while offering website-based programs for parents dealing with quarantined school children. John Watson / Daily Herald-Tribune

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In response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Grande Prairie Regional Sport Connection (GPRSC) has created a number of different websites for local residents under some form of quarantine.

Titled the At-Home Sport and Recreation, GPRSC provides physical activity classes to adults and children, while offering website-based programs for parents dealing with quarantined school children.

There are four categories for age-appropriate activities: the ages range from children under five to 18-years of age and older.

“Last Monday was the first day our office was in quarantine, recognizing they closed down all the recreation facilities,” said Karna Germsheid, executive director of the Grande Prairie Regional Sport Connection. “So, right then and there, we knew we had to adjust and we knew organizations and small businesses were going to be suffering too, needing this support. We started the plan right out of the gates.”

Across the Floor Dance Studio, The Komodo Academy, Crossfit Grande Prairie, DansConnection School of Performing Arts, Shantara Dive Services, Ape Parkour, Stanley Boxing and Fitness and Heiho Dojo are some of the local organizations offering instruction, some through social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube.

Some of the activity classes are free, some have a fixed cost.

There are also websites dedicated to parents dealing with children 12-years old and under who are at home with topics like “100 Things To Do At Home During School Closures,” “23 Nature Activities For Kids to Create, Explore and Learn” and “130+ Free Outdoor Learning Activities For Kids That Are Unexpectedly Stuck At Home.”

The main page on the Sport Connection website makes one thing very clear in sessions dealing with multiple people.

“Some of the activities included in the resource lists may be group activities. During this time, please refrain from gathering in groups and only choose activities that you can participate in alone or with your immediate family (household). If you are outside, please maintain at least (two metres) between yourself and others.”

This venture was created with no pre-planning involved so Germsheid stresses patience from users as the Sport Connection attempts to streamline the system.

“We did not predict this (pandemic), not even one little bit,” Germsheid said. “We do recognize who our clients are and who we’re trying to support. Even some of the organizations who don’t depend on it for their livelihood, they depend on the sport for their connections, their social connections.”

Getting involved

Germsheid expects more organizations will join this attempt to make quarantined reality a little more palatable and manageable.

“Our communication is through our social media feeds as well as online sport database with (our) collection of email addresses. Information has gone out, and will continue to go out, but we do not want to bombard anybody’s email address,” Germsheid said. “We are trying to get the information out, but realizing, we’re curating this information. It takes us a bit of time to re-adjust the website. No matter what, it’s going to take a couple of weeks for all of us to adjust.”

For more information, go to gpsportconnect.ca

Many acting as one

Physical activity is a major component of a healthy lifestyle, the regional sport connection hoping to promote that lifestyle, despite the current health reality in the Peace region.

In response to the novel coronavirus, the Grande Prairie Regional Sport Connection brought together a collection of sporting organizations and online resources to help people of different ages stay active and engaged during the reality of local quarantine.

The website came together early last week and will continue to improve and provide more options as more local organizations come on board.

“Self care is one of the most important things,”GPRSC executive director Karna Germsheid said. “We are all in the same boat, whether you’re an adult caring for children or not caring for children. We believe, fundamentally, that sport and physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle. So, we want everybody to have access to these resources.”

The executive director is well aware there are multiple on-line activities available for utility but Germsheid hopes people will support and buy local.

“It’s really important, we know, through this that all of our organizations are going to continue to survive because they will adapt and become innovative by going online and servicing their membership online,” Germsheid said. “But they need help with the exposure, they need help with the getting out there but we want to encourage people to support locally. I want people to support our community in northern Alberta.”

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