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Open Gym program begins first week in schools across Digby County

Open Gym is a program where kids can play non-organized sports and get active in a free, safe space. It’s run by the Digby Area Recreation Commission, and currently operates out of Digby Regional High, St. Mary’s Bay Academy and Islands Consolidated schools.
Open Gym is a program where kids can play non-organized sports and get active in a free, safe space. It’s run by the Digby Area Recreation Commission, and currently operates out of Digby Regional High, St. Mary’s Bay Academy and Islands Consolidated schools.

DIGBY, NS – Open Gym is now open for use in schools across Digby County, and one of its organizers hopes people will take advantage.

Cara Sunderland is the Active Living Coordinator with the Digby Area Recreation Commission and is part of the team that oversees the Open Gym program, which offers spaces several times a week for people of all ages to use to get involved, and get active.

The program has expanded to now run in three locations – Digby Regional High School, St. Mary’s Bay Academy and Islands Consolidated School, so people across the county can take advantage.

“We’re looking forward to seeing youths and their families participate,” says Sunderland.

The program is run through a partnership with each school and with the Schools Plus Digby program, all via the Community Culture and Heritage Department of Nova Scotia, which provides some funding for the program.

Gyms are open for non-organized sports, like skipping, ball hockey, tag and others.

The one exception is basketball, which Sunderland says, “always seems to be the most popular,” which happens each Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at DRHS and SMBA.

While weekdays and times differ per school, the goal is the same, says Sunderland – to get people engaged and active.

Equipment is available for anyone to get out and use, and all activities are overseen by a facilitator, to ensure safety.

“We target families and students to come to these open, safe spaces to hang out and be active together,” she says.

“It’s also a great opportunity for those kids who don’t participate in an organized sport to still have fun, get out there, and get active.”

The Open Gym program is in its fourth year at DRHS, third year at SMBA, and seconds at ICS. With a little more added every year, things are steadily ramping up as more people get involved.

While a specific number is hard to determine, since each week draws different people, Sunderland says around 25 people regularly show up to each session.

“It’s been exciting to see this program grow over the past few years,” says Sunderland.

After School Open Gym has also been added in Digby, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., for students staying at school until school sports start.

“We try to be inclusive of all, and it’s been really great so far. This wouldn’t have been possible without the partnership from the schools, and we’re grateful for that,” says Sunderland.

For specific Open Gym dates and times at each school, contact the Digby Area Recreation Commission at (902) 245-5006, or visit their website at http://www.digbyarearecreation.ca/ for more information.

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