City Centre Mirror
With a wealth of digital distractions, youth today are becoming less active than ever.
On Thursday, April 12, a group of youth from St. Stephen's Community House and CultureLink Settlement Services took steps to keep active when dubstep sensation Marquese Scott dropped by the Metro Central YMCA to teach them some moves.
Scott, whose dancing has been seen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and in a viral Youtube video where he dubsteps to Foster the People's 'Pumped Up Kicks', dropped by the centre as part of a partnership with ParticipACTION and Coca Cola.
The session was part of the two organizations' Sogo Active program, which aims to get teens 13 to 19 to be more active.
While there, the teens also caught a viewing of a new Coca Cola commercial featuring 15-year-old St. Stephen's regular Mackenzie Myles, one of several youngsters taking breakdancing classes at St. Stephen's thanks to funding from the Sogo Active initiative.
"St. Stephen's is one of the groups involved in the program that have made use of grants available to community centres across the country for programs that get kids physically active," said ParticipACTION spokesperson Megan Sutherland.
The programs for which the funds are earmarked are decided on by youth, with teens encouraged to choose what activities they would like to see.
"The goal is to get youth active and get them to have fun in ways that mean something to them," Sutherland said.
The program has reached some 30,000 youth through 2,000 organizations across Canada.
Scott said outlets such as dance can make a huge difference in the lives of youth in a number of ways. In addition to getting them active, which has long-term health benefits, participating in activities teaches dedication and determination and gives them an outlet for their energy and creativity, keeping them out of trouble.
"As long as they're staying active, they're going to get positive results," he said. "Whatever you want to do (to stay active), it's going to help you in your life."
Myles was the featured breakdancer in the commercial unveiled on Thursday, one of many participants in the St. Stephen's breakdancing program to appear in the television ad. He has taken part in the St. Stephen's breakdancing program for roughly a year and his involvement there earned him a spot in the commercial.
The teen said he enjoys the program for a number of reasons.
"We have sessions every Tuesday and some very good breakdancers come in and teach us moves," he said. "It's definitely helped me with confidence and also to get stronger physically, and it gives me something to do."
Thursday's event served as a reminder of the Live Positively campaign, which is looking for new youth programs to support. For more information, visit www.livepositively.ca