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Active program delivers on fun

Monday, 18th April, 2011

By Gayle Hogan

Providing fun activities such as swimming to get children active and engaged is the focus for David French.

Mr French took over as the Regional Co-Ordinator of the Active After School Communities Program for Western Region earlier this year.

He replaces Scott Umback, who has moved to Mildura with his family.

Last week with the help of Mudgee-based Active After-School Communities program Co-Ordinator Nina Nyitrai, Mr French has been delivering the Royal Life Saving Swim Teacher Rescue Award.

Mr French and Ms Nyitrai conducted a clinic in Tibooburra for six community members including teachers so that swimming could be conducted as an after school activity.

On Thursday, they ran the same clinic for four community members within Broken Hill, including Floorshow dance teachers Nicole Robson and Amy Clifford who are hoping to bring aqua Zumba to the local community.

Mr French said gone are the days of physical activity being a punishment - fun was now a major focus.

Run through the Australian Sports Commission, Mr French said Active After Schools was set up to engage "traditionally inactive" children.

"We provide them with opportunities for physical activity after school.

"Our program has them active for 60 minutes two to three times a week."

Mr French looks after schools from Tibooburra, Wentworth, Wanaaring, Louth, Wilcannia, White Cliffs, Menindee, Ivanhoe, Pooncarie, Palinyewah, and five schools within Broken Hill.

"We provide training for people from the community and teachers to become an accredited community coach."

Last week a training clinic was held for 20 community coaches.

"It gives us a quality pool of community coaches we can now draw on to support physical activity and having fun.

The community coaches run the afternoon activities at local schools including Burke Ward, Broken Hill Public School, Broken Hill North, Railwaytown and Broken Hill School of the Air.

Children participating are also provided with a healthy afternoon tea.

Mr French said the program is going strong, with participation rates at Broken Hill Public School doubling this year.

"That's thanks to the enthusiastic, energetic and wonderful teaching staff," he told the BDT.

Mr French said AASC aimed to introduce students to local sporting organisations in the hope they would continue their association with them on weekends.

Mr French was brought up near Olary and Manna Hill, worked in the corporate sector for a number of years and has a wife and two young children.

"We decided to move back into an area that suited our family," Mr French said of his recent move to Broken Hill.

"Its such an easy city to get around, it's friendly, it's got so much going for it - Broken Hill.

"I'm glad to be back."

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