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Ten Tips For A Safe Winter

Monday, February, 2, 2015

With snow hitting the slopes soon and students waiting for the last bell before the break, OFSAA would like to remind everybody to stay active, safe and healthy this winter.

Here are Ten Tips from the Sport Information Resource Centre to follow this season...

There are many excellent winter activities for adults and youth to enjoy as a recreational pastime or competitively. Cold temperatures, icy surfaces and high speeds can be a risky business though, so we're sharing some tips for keeping you and your family safe outdoors this holiday season.

  1. Wear proper protective equipment such as helmets, goggles and wrist guards.
  2. Ensure your equipment has the proper fit and know how to properly care for it - loose or poorly fitting equipment increases the risk of injuries.
  3. Children and beginners should take lessons from a certified instructor before tackling a new sport.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings, many serious injuries result from colliding with trees, poles or other recreational athletes. Know the whereabouts of fences, rocks, open water, and ice patches so they can be avoided.
  5. Be aware of the weather and trail or slope conditions - deep snow, such as powder, fresh snow or groomed slopes/trails significantly lower injury rates.
  6. Know your ability and skill level and stick to trails and slopes that work best for you. This is difficult for children (they may not have the experience or judgment to determine their skill level), so the parent should help them with this assessment.
  7. Whether you are hiking, snowshoeing, tobogganing, skiing or snowboarding - never go out on the hill alone and stay on designated marked trails. 
  8. Learn how to fall. This may seem counter-intuitive but knowing how to fall safely and correctly takes time to learn and is a huge part of injury prevention. If you feel yourself falling, try to land on your side or buttocks. Don't fight the fall, try to roll somewhat naturally, and allow your head to turn in the direction of the roll.
  9. Pace yourself. Most sports are physically taxing to the body, be honest about your fitness levels and do some training before you head out. When you are out there, be sure to warm up and cool down at the beginning and end of your day.
  10. Many people injure themselves at the end of the day when they are tired from hours of physical exertion. If you are tired or in pain, resist the urge to ‘go for a last run’, call it a day and get some rest.

Winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, and skating can be exhilarating and offer fun and exercise for the whole family. With a little preparation, injuries can be avoided with some professional instruction, properly fitted protective equipment, and a little common sense.

Making Head Way - Concussion Videos

Thursday, January, 29, 2015

The Coaching Association of Canada now offers free online concussion safety education as part of their national coaching certification program. The modules, called "Making Head Way" come in sport specific versions for soccer, football, snowboard, skating and freestyle skiing as well as one version applicable to all sports. 

View the videos below in English or French then visit the Concussion eLearning page at coach.ca to register for access to these modules.

Play safe!

How Can We Encourage Youth To Participate In Sport?

Wednesday, January, 28, 2015

OFSAA encourages and rewards participation in high school sports across Ontario and strives to promote healthy active living among students.

This blog post by the Sport Information Resource Centre reinforces OFSAA's message of youth sports participation, and courages lifelong health:

There is extensive research on the health benefits of being physically active; despite this fact, a great number of Canadian youths are still not meeting the recommended level of daily physical activity. Being physically active not only improves physiological outcomes but research has shown it can also improve cognitive function and mental health.

For youth to participate in physical activity there are many factors that come into play. To best understand these reasons we have to examine some of the barriers.

  1. Personal barriers are usually under the control of the participant. These could include motivation, lack of time, energy levels, education and self-efficacy. Modifying ones’ behavior can have a positive influence on creating good habits.
  2. Environmental barriers such as a lack of facilities, unsafe neighborhoods, weather and occupation can influence sport participation, as they are not under the control of the individual. Supportive policies, safe facilities and financial resources can limit this barrier.
  3. Social barriers such as socioeconomic status, family influence and culture can limit involvement due to cost and attitudes towards participation. Proper financial and information resources can minimize these outcomes.

To address some of these barriers there have been several recommendations that policy makers, community organizers and other stakeholders may want to consider.

  1. The majority of youth spend most of their day in schools. Well-designed PE programs and trained instructors in the education system can accommodate the recommended daily moderate to vigorous physical activity. They also have the ability to promote active transportation and implement before and after school physical activity programs.
  2. Schools and community organizations can develop partnerships to provide physical activity before school, after school and during the summer holidays. Organizations such as the Boys and Girls club can oversee programs that take place outside of school hours promoting both structured and unstructured play.
  3. Preschool and childcare centers can play an integral part in promoting the active start stage of the LTAD model for children ages 0-6. Such programs provide an opportunity to develop physical literacy by teaching basic movement skills at an early age.
  4. Post-secondary institutions can provide great opportunities for physical activities by offering courses, intramural programs, club sports and accessible facilities.

To overcome sport participation barriers there are policies and programs that have been created both locally, provincially and federally in promoting physical activity. The education sector can be a driving venue to increasing youth participation and promote these policies and programs. By improving the health of our youth now we have a greater chance of producing healthier, active adults in the future.

Ontario Coaches Conference Breakthrough!

Thursday, January, 22, 2015

OFSAA's 2015 Coaching Symposium is coming May 12-13. BUT FIRST: a great opportunity from the Coaches Association of Ontario.

Join coaches from across Ontario and from every sport at the 2015 Ontario Coaches Conference, February 20-22!

An opportunity for school, community, and volunteer coaches to take their coaching to the next level.


  • Learn from National, International, and Provincial Coaches from over a dozen sports.
  • Hear from our most celebrated Canadian athletes as they share the moments when coaches made a difference in their lives.
  • Get insights from Pan Am/Parapan Am Coaches in our International Pan Am Panel. Moderated by Teddy Katz, Chief Spokesperson TO2015.
  • Exposure to emerging sports science through partner Canadian Sport Institute Ontario’s High Performance Stream.
  • Network with coaches from all over Ontario at our Saturday night coaches social.
  • PLUS Bonus NCCP Multi-Sport courses being offered throughout the weekend included with registration.

Early Bird price of just $215! (before January 31st, 2015)

Learn more at www.coachesontario.ca/conference

Character Athlete Award Winners Fall 2014

Wednesday, January, 21, 2015

OFSAA’s Character Athlete Award celebrates the efforts of the exceptional student-athletes in Ontario who best exemplify the characteristics that OFSAA is founded on.

Nominations come to the OFSAA office detailing the exceptional character of student-athletes across Ontario, inspiring those around them with their involvement on the playing field and in the classroom, in both school and community. 

Selecting just one boy and one girl recipient of the OFSAA Character Athlete Award is never easy, but the following two individuals stood out for their commitment to OFSAA’s values of leadership, equity, respect and sportsmanship. 

Download the OFSAA media release


Male Recipient: Zach Boswell | Nominated by: Katherine Parker

Zach is a grade 12 student at Milton District High School where he is a member of school sports teams year-round: Volleyball in the Fall, Basketball in the Winter, and Soccer in the Spring. 

When Zach’s not playing on the field or the court you’ll find the dedicated student-athlete on the stage where he sings and plays guitar at all of his schools events.

The musically-inclined senior is a member of the Acapella Music Group, Foster's Funk Bank, the traveling school drum line, Senior Jazz Band, and played at many other school events, socials, fundraisers, and plays.

He’s currently in the Music Audio Production Technologies Specialist High Skills Major program at Milton DHS and was essential to the set-up of a new recording studio for their music department this year. Putting the facilities to use, Zach created and recorded songs for school functions including a teacher’s retirement and Remembrance Day.

“Zach demonstrates excellent leadership on and off the court for Milton District High School,” said his nominating teacher-coach Katherine Parker. “It is not often that you find an individual who can balance being involved in such a wide range of activities, such as three school sports teams, many school music groups, the Specialist High Skills Major program, and a Wilderness North leader.”

He continues to show OFSAA’s values through school sport while building upon his music skills for his future music/school plans after graduation in June.


Female Recipient: Mackenzie Curran | Nominated by: Kelly Dixon


Mackenzie is a grade 11 student at Holy Cross in Kingston, so involved in sport and her community it’s difficult to know where to begin.

She volunteers to share her story Journey through Cancer and a Bone Marrow Transplant, spreading her message to other schools and groups: “never give in and you never give up.” She has given this message at Terry Fox runs, and as the welcome speech at the Relay for Life, and has become an active spokesperson for the donation of blood and bone marrow – all while maintaining at least a 90% academic average.

Through the “Miles for Mackenzie” program, the Canadian Blood Services and One Match raised over $30,000 for the Cord Bank for future Bone Marrow transplants. 

Other volunteer work includes a Christmas tree pick-up program that raised funds for Clothes for Kids, funding out of town care for kids through McKenna's Dream, regular visits to Sick Kids and Kingston Cancer Center, and encouraging other youth to be involved in their community.

On the sport side, Mackenzie has volunteered for the past three years to help run a local basketball league, was awarded the JUEL Ontario Basketball's first Community Service Award for Community Involvement and has had the award named after her. Mackenzie will select the future winners of the award. 

“Basketball was the motivating dream in her recovery,” said her nominating teacher-coach Kelly Dixon. “Many days she has come right from Doctors' appointments to practice and would not miss a minute unless she had to. When asked to be in the Santa Claus Parade for Canada Blood services, Mackenzie asked for our team to be included also.”

Mackenzie recently celebrated her one-year post-Bone Marrow transplant and it was announced by Canadian Blood Service that she would be the face for the advertising for the Christmas campaign to encourage others to give and continue to give blood.


Congratulations to the first pair of recipients of 2014-15 OFSAA Character Athlete Award. We will announce two more winners at the end of the school year. 
If you wish to nominate a student-athlete, please visit our awards section online and fill out an application form.

Let's Get Coaching! Registration now open

Wednesday, January, 14, 2015

High school sports wouldn't be possible without all the tremendous work and dedication by teacher-coaches. OFSAA is always encouraging new teachers to take on a sport and assist with coaching at their school, and for experienced coaches to brush up on their skills. Now there's an incredible opportunity to enhance your coaching with more certification courses being made available.

The City of Toronto, in partnership with Coaches Association of Ontario and MLSE Foundation, will be offering National Coaching Certification Program training throughout 2015, starting in January. The Fundamental Movement Skills workshop and 27 sport-specific training sessions will be available at community recreation centres and other facilities. Best of all, these sessions will be FREE for Toronto residents.
Click HERE to download the full Let's Get Coaching! brochure and read about all the programs and sessions that are available.

Let's Get Coaching! is part of Toronto's Host City Showcase Program. This Council-approved program designed to ensure a legacy of long-term community benefits and enhance the experience of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games for residents and visitors. Visit www.toronto.on.ca/panam2015 to learn more.

Study Connects Recreation to Resiliency in Youth

Wednesday, December, 10, 2014

OFSAA strives to create opportunities for students to live active, healthy, and involved lives through school sport.

The physical and mental impact of participating in sport is crucial in the holistic development of young people.

A new study by Resiliency Initiatives and Parks and Recreation Ontario reinforces the importance of physical activity even more.

From High Five media release:

"Recreation has always been known to make a difference in children’s physical health. Now there’s a link to their emotional health. A study by Resiliency Initiatives and Parks and Recreation Ontario released on National Child Day shows an improvement in children’s resiliency during recreation programs. 

The study, which involved a questionnaire and more than 200 children in recreation programs across Canada, showed improvement in core character traits such as adaptability and social connectedness. 

“These traits, when fostered, can make a big difference in the way children develop and can have a huge impact on positive mental health,” says Dr. Wayne Hammond, President and CEO of Resiliency Initiatives, co-author of the study. “A child’s success does not depend on avoiding crisis, but rather to be able to come through it stronger. One of the findings the study revealed was the enhanced capacity of the children to develop positive social relationships – especially with a caring adult which research clearly identifies as one of the more critical protective factors enhancing the development of positive mental health in children.” 

Parks and Recreation Ontario, through its national HIGH FIVE standard, partnered with Resiliency Initiatives on the study to look at the effects of recreation on child resiliency. The study had children aged 6 to 12 fill out questionnaires at the beginning of their recreation program, most which lasted at least 10 weeks. Then they filled them out again at the end of the recreation program. Some of the afterschool programs went on for 8 months. Only programs that completed pre and post questionnaires were included in the report. 

“This is just the beginning of our work in this area. We have learned a lot through this process and while it has further substantiated the research on which HIGH FIVE was based, we want to continue to study these trends. We are in a great position to ensure the findings in this study are reflected in new resources that we can make available to organizations working with children across the country,” says LJ Bartle, HIGH FIVE National Director. “Front line leaders have a real opportunity to impact kids’ lives by developing meaningful relationships with them and helping them to develop their core character traits. That nurturing is what will really make a difference."

Click the cover image below to download the full PDF report

Ontario Medal For Young Volunteers Available

Tuesday, December, 9, 2014

OFSAA invites outstanding student-athletes and teacher-coaches who are involved in their communities to apply for one of two volunteer recognition programs by the Ontario government.

The Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers

Presented to young volunteers between the ages of 15 and 24 for their actions and dedication to improve the quality of life in their communities and beyond. 

This year, seven youth will receive the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers — the highest honour a young person can achieve for their voluntarism contributions to the province.

Deadline for nominations is January 15 


Nomination forms and additional information are available on the ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade website. Click the link above for the specific award you want to learn more about. Help ensure that volunteers receive the recognition they deserve!

Pan Am Games Coming To Toronto!

Tuesday, December, 9, 2014

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games are coming! Where will you be?

Starting July 10, 2015, Toronto will host the largest sport event in their history – the 2015 Pan Am Games/Parapan Am Games.  The best way to witness the power of sport is to be there. Share the highs of winning a gold for your country, the thrill of a close race and the camaraderie of 7000+ athletes from 41 countries and territories.

General ticket sales phase is open from December 8, 2014 – March 9th, 2015, on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Tickets start at just $20, with 75% of tickets priced $45 and under. For more ticket information, visit TORONTO2015.org/tickets.

And not to be missed … the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will feature a one-night-only performance by Canadian cultural icon, Cirque du Soleil, and a few other surprises along the way.

Don’t miss your chance to see some of the world’s top athletes compete. Start planning for one of the greatest events Toronto has ever hosted. http://www.seetorontonow.com/toronto-2015-pan-am-games/


Watch the Pan Am Games promotional video



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