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Encourage people to participate in sport and physical activities through collaborative partnerships

This is an excerpt from Public-Private Partnerships in Physical Activity and Sport by Norman O'Reilly & Michelle Brunette.


ParticipACTION mobilizes the support of multisector partners to increase the physical health of Canadians by encouraging people to participate in sport and physical activities. ParticipACTION does not deliver programs directly, but in its leadership role, ParticipACTION facilitates collaborative partnerships through communication (e.g., delivering consistent and unified health promotion messages), capacity building (e.g., supporting the development of healthy programs), and knowledge exchange (e.g., research and reporting to appropriate stakeholders) (ParticipACTION 2009). ParticipACTION's

Get Inspired. Get Moving” multimedia campaign combined television commercials featuring renowned Canadian athletes and an online corkboard wall where athletes and ordinary Canadians shared stories to inspire others to be more active. Through formal, coordinated, and collaborative partnerships with Active Healthy Kids Canada, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, Canadian Space Agency, Coca-Cola, GreenGym, Loblaw Companies, SportChek, Sun Life Financial, Wilson Sporting Goods, and others, ParticipACTION develops, expands, or sustains physical activity programs though financial support and engagement with other not-for-profit partners (ParticipACTION 2009). According to ParticipACTION (2009), their partnership includes several initiatives, such as those presented in the following sections.

Improve the Grade

Improve the Grade is a report to parents on how to increase physical activity levels of their children through fitness, fun, and family. An insert detailing the findings of Canada's Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth and advertisements in 600,000 copies of the Globe and Mail and La Presse were coupled with web resources, online promotions, and radio advertisements to encourage parents to increase movement, which, the initiative touted, could bring better academic results. See the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth (2009) for more information.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program

With the support of Wilson Sporting Goods and the Boys and Girls Club, ParticipACTION-branded basketballs, soccer balls, and footballs were sold at Canadian Tire. Proceeds were devoted to helping children in financial need participate in sport and physical activity through the Jumpstart program.

Get Fit for Space With Dr. Bob Thirsk

Partnering with the Canadian Space Agency, ParticipACTION challenged Canadians to enter their fitness data on the Canadian Space Agency website to virtually travel the 340 kilometers to the International Space Station. Each participant received a ParticipACTION pedometer and a personal (virtual) tour of the space station by Dr. Thirsk on their arrival.

Sogo Active

ParticipACTION partnered with Coca-Cola Canada Ltd. to reverse the declining sport and physical activity participation and the increasing time that children and adolescents spend in front of a computer or television screen. Through the Sogo Active program, teens (aged 13 to 19) could create and track their physical activity goals and network with friends or find physical activity resources, organizations, facilities, and equipment in their local areas. According to ParticipACTION (2009), “between November 2008 and June 2009, over 1,000 Sogo Active participants were selected by Coca-Cola Canada Ltd. to carry the Olympic Flame in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay” (p. 28).

GreenGym Partnership

Through ParticipACTION grants and its partnership with GreenGym, municipalities, schools, local organizations, and businesses were encouraged to install easy-to-use and weather-resistant outdoor fitness equipment in public spaces. GreenGyms are free to use and offer a wide range of activities to suit all needs using a person's own body weight for resistance.

Inspire the Nation

ParticipACTION and Sun Life Financial's coordinated and extensive communication efforts used an Inspiration Booth Caravan to bring to life the message “Get Inspired. Get Moving.” Visiting 31 communities for media outreach, distributing 30,000 pedometers, and recording motivational physical activity stories from ordinary Canadians were all part of the campaign. Local partners, including YMCAs and recreational and public health departments, helped build excitement for the program.

The Partnership Protocol

The Partnership Protocol provides principles to guide the implementation of effective partnerships. Although ParticipACTION's Partnership Protocol is broad based, the unique strengths, goals, and design of organizations will also influence how the recommendations can be put into practice.

The Partnership Protocol doesn't aim to answer the question of what is right for your organization, but to give you tools and information to help your organization find the best solutions possible for your needs. In the process, The Partnership Protocol provides an opportunity to debate, discuss and learn from other groups' partnerships. The ultimate goal of The Partnership Protocol is to increase capacity in the physical activity and sport sector, helping more Canadians to be more physically active.

ParticipACTION's Partnership Protocol (see figure 2.1) addresses three areas. Section 1, Why Partnerships? addresses the increasing need for not-for-profit organizations to enter into partnerships. Section 2 is titled Guiding Principles for Partnerships. Section 3, Approach to Effective Partnerships, suggests how to put those principles into practice in your organization. See appendix B for a complete discussion of The Partnership Protocol.

Read more from Public-Private Partnerships in Physical Activity and Sport edited by Norman O'Reilly and Michelle Brunette.

More Excerpts From Public Private Partnerships in Physical Activity and Sport