Middle school is a tough time to find activities to participate in. It can be nearly impossible in rural communities. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality Recreation Department along with the Department of Communities Culture and Heritage decided to mend this gap for young girls ages 12-16 with the program “After The Bell” (ATB). ATB is a program designed to engage young girls and occupy their time after class with meaningful recreation opportunities. Equally important is having a good role model as described by their program facilitator Megan:
“I love being part of the After The Bell program. It’s great being able to help young girls live healthy lives but the best part of the program is seeing how much fun the girls are having during each session. This program does so much for young girls, it gives them a safe place to go after school, they get to meet new people, try activities that they normally may not get to try and most importantly, they get to be part of something.”
This program offers new opportunities for the girls to experience in their own community. This program operates twice a week with intentional programming focusing on physical activity such as hiking, visits with a dietitian and yoga for kids. The program has a perfect balance between having fun and giving young girls learning opportunities and benefits back into their daily lives.
There are many advantages to ATB program, but seeing the girls from two of the most rural schools in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality come together to create friendships is truly wonderful. It is equally important that the program supports them while going through junior high.
When the program participants were asked what they liked the most about ATB they had this to say:
“Were so lucky to be able to have the opportunity to come to all these activities. Our favourite activity was swimming or the ones that included snacks. We made new friends, were able to meet our leaders and have fun with an all-girls group.”
-After the Bell participants, 2019