WELCOME to the New Year.
If you are like the millions of people who make New Year’s resolutions, you will no doubt have decided to stop smoking, stop drinking, cut out the cakes and crisps and/or get fit.
It seems almost everybody who seeks to get fit decides to cut down on food intake and improve their waistline. But exercise plays a key role in this, too.
I doubt if there is anywhere else in the world where young people have so much access to sport. Obviously in schools there are ‘standard’ PE lessons but, nowadays, schools offer ever-wider opportunities for students to get involved in activities. Next we have the sporting clubs such as the more popular football, rugby, netball, hockey and the specialist clubs such as fencing and martial arts.
Then we have Manx Sport and Recreation (MSR), with all its wonderful holiday and after-school clubs, and all the regional sporting facilities where young people and families can go.
The National Sports Centre seems to win award after award and I doubt if there are better facilities anywhere in the UK.
People don’t necessarily think of our youth centres as places to pursue sport, yet we offer an amazing number of sporting activities.
A lot of our school-based clubs have sports halls attached to them and other clubs, such as Castletown, have their own sports hall.
The usual games of football take place, of course, but other sports such as badminton, short tennis, corner ball and dodge ball are commonplace.
We also have dedicated sports clubs such as Rushen Sports on Tuesday evenings plus a football session in Ramsey on Fridays and multi-sports sessions using the fantastic facilities at the new St Ninian’s Lower School on Friday evenings.
Another aspect of fitness and sports is drama and dance, which we offer at the Youth Arts Centre in Kensington Road. Dance can be much more physical than you imagine and being part of a dance troupe is just as beneficial as taking part in a standard physical activity.
Yet another aspect is what we offer at the Adventure Education centre at Ardwhallan in Baldwin. Sailing, kayaking, mountain biking and climbing are all very strenuous and you certainly need to be fit to participate in these types of sports. Ardwhallan offers tailored sessions for school groups and out-of-hours activities to those in Year 8 and over. A full list of what’s on offer there is available at www2.sch.im/groups/adventureed/ or via the facebook group Ardwhallan Outdoor Education Centre.
The Youth Service also participates in the Fit 4 the Future project, a joint initative with health, MSR and The Children’s Centre that helps young people who may not be all that active to find a sport they wish to participate in, encouraging them to work towards a healthier lifestyle.
All in all, the range and types of activities available to our young people never ceases to amaze me. For more information call 686057, visit www2.sch.im/groups/iomyouth or ‘like’ the Facebook group IoM Youth.