TORONTO, November 25, 2013 – Recognizing there is a widespread lack of physical activity among Canadian youth, and sport participation rates continue to decline, today, RBC is launching the RBC Learn to Play Project. Taking a new approach to getting kids more active, this Project will focus on ensuring they learn basic movement skills that will build their confidence to get out and play.
"Whether kids want to be bankers or baseball players, scientists or figure skaters, they need the confidence to pursue their dreams," said Jane Broderick, chief brand and communications officer, RBC. "We believe in supporting the whole child - mind, body and spirit and through this Project, we will help give kids the confidence to be active and healthy at home, at school and in the community during their younger years and into adulthood."
RBC Learn to Play will enable a national movement to improve the quality of sport and physical activity in Canada, ensuring kids learn fundamental movement skills and develop physical literacy to be more happy, healthy and active for life. Partnering with ParticipACTION, as well as a number of other experts and strategic partners, RBC will implement this wide-ranging initiative which will include donations to community-based charitable organizations for physical literacy programs, sponsorships of events that promote play such as RBC Sports Day in Canada, and support for employees who volunteer coach with sport organizations.
Lack of physical literacy is considered a root cause for the growing problem of inactivity in Canada. Physical literacy describes a foundational set of activity skills such as running, hopping, throwing and catching, which enable children to participate in a wide range of sports and other physical pursuits and help them develop the competence and confidence to participate in sport.
"Physical literacy is just as important to a child’s development as learning how to read and write," said Kelly Murumets, president and CEO, ParticipACTION. "We need to ensure that our kids are set up for success by helping them develop the right skills from day one which will enable them to become happy, healthy, and active for life."
In its first year, the RBC Learn to Play Project will make a total of $750,000 in grants available to local organizations, initiatives and communities across Canada. Grants will range from $1,000 to $25,000 and will focus on improving the delivery of quality sport programming, and supporting the development and implementation of physical literacy principles in communities across Canada. The call for applications for RBC Learn to Play grants will take place in February 2014. Those interested can find more information at rbc.com/learntoplay .
This week, in the lead up to RBC Sports Day in Canada on November 30, the RBC Learn to Play Project will provide a $10,000 grant at each stop on the cross-country media tour. These grants showcase the types of transformative programs RBC will support to directly impact children's physical activity in Canadian communities. The first recipients include:
City of Hamilton – Hamilton Physical Literacy for All Steering Committee - The grant will fund ten workshops for 240 teachers, coaches, leaders and instructors in the Hamilton area with a focus on delivering quality physical literacy programming for more than 6,500 children ages 2 to 12.
Ability NB - Para NB Sport & Recreation – New Brunswick has the second highest rate of disability (17.2 per cent) in Canada and this grant will provide proper support mechanisms to encourage participation in positive parallel sport and recreation experiences for New Brunswick youth with a physical disability.
Winnipeg Community Sport Policy – Learn to Bike Program - A unique program where Headingley Correctional Centre inmates rebuild bikes for disadvantaged youth. The grant will ensure 550 bikes are provided in 2014, along with helmets, locks and proper bicycle instruction.
The Ray Cam Cooperative Centre – Vancouver is one of Canada's most multicultural cities and this grant will help connect more new immigrant youth to sport and recreation programs, plus train more than 125 leaders and facilitators on physical literacy.
WinSport Canada – The grant will help WinSport expand its current programming to provide under serviced youth in Calgary, the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of winter sports by expanding staff training and providing new equipment.
About the RBC Learn to Play Project
The RBC Learn to Play Project is a wide-ranging initiative to help children develop the confidence and skills they need to enable them to play, and become happy, healthy and active for life. It is part of the RBC Believe in Kids pledge, a five-year, $100 million commitment to improve the well-being of one million children and youth. RBC is a long-time supporter of amateur sport in communities across Canada, from recreational to competitive activities, and from grassroots to elite-level athletes. RBC is proud to be the longest-standing corporate supporter of the Canadian Olympic Team, since 1947, as well as a premier sponsor of Hockey Canada.
RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2012, we contributed more than $95 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $64 million and $31 million in sponsorships.
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For more information, please contact:
Jackie Braden, RBC Brand Communications, 416 974-1724,
Emily Vear, Veritas Communications, 416 955-4590,