Give kids a sporting chance

With childhood obesity rates reaching alarming levels, parents across the country are frantically scrambling to pry their kids away from their iPods and computer screens to engage in more active lifestyles.

With childhood obesity rates reaching alarming levels, parents across the country are frantically scrambling to pry their kids away from their iPods and computer screens to engage in more active lifestyles.

Unfortunately for all too many, they aren’t even able to get into the game.

The problem was highlighted at this week’s Okanagan Skaha board of education meeting when District Parents’ Advisory Council president Daryl Clarke suggested corporate advertising as a way to make school athletics more affordable for students and their families.

Clarke pointed to the $56,000 debt faced by Penticton school sports programs ($32,000 at Pen High and $24,000 and Princess Margaret) to highlight the magnitude of the problem.

The school board was relatively tight-lipped on Clarke’s suggestion, preferring to push it to a later meeting for discussion. No doubt school trustees and district administration have been left in a precarious situation, as corporate sponsorship has long been a hot-button issue for the education system.

But unless the board has discovered a magic formula to deal with declining resources and escalating costs, something’s got to give. And unless there is a sudden revolt by British Columbians demanding higher taxes, that something is finding alternative revenue sources.

Corporate sponsorship has long been a way for minor sports associations to keep costs down, with even public facilities – such as Prospera Place – adopting corporate identities to help defray costs.

Today’s youth are remarkably well-adept at sifting through the relentless stream of corporate messaging and pop-up advertising. Where they could use a hand is with encouragement and support to lead healthy lifestyles. And that’s where we come in. Let’s at least give our kids a sporting chance.

– Penticton Western News