It’s summertime and that means there’s a new addition of the feline kind to Eastern Health’s Health Promotion Division! Recreation programs in St. John’s and surrounding areas are on the lookout for the big cat with the big heart, and are waiting for him to drop by to talk to children about Eating Healthy, Being Active, and Staying Smoke-free!
As health consultants working in health promotion, we know the importance of educating people about staying healthy. Good healthy practices from a young age have a meaningful impact on one’s overall health.
That’s why programs such as the Go Healthy with Ticker Tom Program are so important. This program is fun, interactive and designed to get healthy living information to children and youth between the ages of six and 12. It is put into action with the help of Ticker Tom… a cat with some cool healthy living messages to share! He seeks out children enrolled in summer recreation programs across the Avalon East region and shares information with them about how to eat healthy, be active, and stay smoke-free.
Through a partnership between Eastern Health’s Health Promotion Division and the Wellness Coalition-Avalon East, Ticker Tom has been taking his healthy living messages to children for 14 years.
This summer, with the help of Program Coordinator Kathleen Mercer, Ticker will visit over 30 camps and meet approximately 1,000 children! Kathleen, a student who is in the process of completing a degree in Community Studies, enjoys the hands-on experience working with community-based programs and is excited when the young campers are eager to tell Ticker what they do to stay healthy.
“It’s such a fun program and I love working with the children,” says Kathleen. “Being Program Coordinator for the Ticker Tom Program has been a valuable experience as I complete my degree.”
Some of Ticker Tom’s favorite games to play with the children are: “Move Your Body,” “Food Group Fitness,” “Guess that Food Relay,” and “Smoke-Free Brainstorm.” Children are even read a poem, The Tale of Ticker Tom, which was created as a part of the program.
In addition to hosting a visit from Ticker Tom, recreation programs receive a Go Healthy with Ticker Tom activity book and kit so they can carry out their own activities in support of promoting the healthy living messages throughout their programs all summer long.
Wellness Weeks, Wacky Workout Wednesdays and taking the Healthy Living Pledge are just some of the ways that camps continue to create supportive wellness environments for children throughout the summer.
If you’re interested in Ticker’s adventures this summer, you can follow him on Eastern Health’s Facebook or Twitter accounts; and for more information about the Go Healthy with Ticker Tom program contact Kathleen Mercer or the Health Promotion Resource Centre. ■
This story was written by Heather Powell and Christina Tucker, consultants with the Health Promotion Division at Eastern Health, and Kathleen Mercer, Ticker Tom Program Coordinator.