Ever Active Schools helps connect cultures through physical activity

Story by Jim Zang

Summer 2023

Airdrie’s Ed Eggerer Athletic Park was alive with Indigenous culture and physical activity at the Jumpstart Everybody Plays Track Meet and Traditional Games last Tuesday and Wednesday (May 30 and 31). The unique event was hosted by Ever Active Schools (EAS), a charity investing in healthy futures for every child by addressing physical, social and mental health at every level of the school community.

“We bring in schools from around the province, working primarily with priority populations, many of which are from lower socioeconomic status communities,” says Adam Pratt, a longtime Airdrie resident and Health and Wellness Consultant for EAS on secondment from his regular job as a teacher with Rocky View Schools.

“Our team at Ever Active Schools hosts the event with funding from Canadian Tire Jumpstart. We also reached out to three Airdrie high schools for student volunteers to help with the event, which included traditional track and field events like races, throws, and jumps, but is unlike more familiar meets as students also had the opportunity to participate in and learn traditional Indigenous games, facilitated by a team from Enoch Cree Nation.”

This is the third time EAS has hosted this type of event, which marked a number of firsts, including the first time it has been done with Canadian Tire Jumpstart funding, the first time since COVID, this year was the first time in Airdrie, plus the first time the event has included schools from Indigenous communities as well as other communities.

The event is intended as a “fun first” event encouraging participation, regardless of athletic experience in the events. The event also features “Closed” and “Open” categories, instead of traditional “male” and “female” categories, to make the event more inclusive.
For this particular event, approximately 130 grade 7-12 students from nine different schools signed up to participate, including:
● Manachaban Middle School (Cochrane)
● Holy Redeemer School (Ardrossan)
● Mini Thni Community School (Mini Thni)
● Chief Crowfoot School (Siksika Nation)
● Maskekosak Kiskinowmatowikamik (Enoch Cree Nation)
● Many Horses High School (Tsuut’ina Nation)
● Chief Aranazhi School (Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation)
● Kipohtakaw Education Centre (Alexander First Nation)
● St. Michael School (Calgary)

Approximately 60 volunteers assisted with the event, the majority of which were from Bert Church, George McDougall, and W. H. Croxford High Schools.

EAS leads innovative projects with national partners, provides professional development for school staff, and creates classroom-level resources.

“We work with schools across Alberta (and beyond) to promote health and wellness and to increase access to sporting and arts opportunities,” says Pratt. “Which is why we hosted this event in particular. We anticipate the event will happen again in Spring 2024, but there is no firm date yet. Given the success we had in Airdrie, we are likely to reconsider it for next year’s event as well.”
To get involved with this event, or for more information on Ever Active Schools, visit