Pierre Lavoie’s physical activity challenge

Pierre Lavoie’s physical activity challenge

How can one man inspire 250,000 kids to get active? Just ask Pierre Lavoie, who’s Big Challenge – or le Grand défi Pierre Lavoie, as it’s known in Québec – just took place for the fifth consecutive year.

The contest challenges school-aged children in Québec to be as physically active as possible from the end of April through to the end of May. For every 15 minutes of physical activity they undertake, children earn an energy cube. If a child encourages a family member to be active for 15 minutes, that child earns another cube for her school.

The schools that earn the most cubes per student at the end of the month are placed in a draw to win an amazing weekend in Montréal.

The Big Challenge has grown exponentially over its five years. In 2009, kids earned 17 million cubes. They earned 22 million in 2010, 37 million in 2011, and a whopping 71 million last year. That adds up to more than 12.5 million hours of physical activity.

After 2012’s success, Lavoie set the 2013 goal at 80 million cubes. More than 1260 schools from across the province took part, and by the time all that activity had been tallied, the children from these schools ― along with their families ― had collected over 90 million cubes … meaning they had participated in over 22.5 million hours of physical activity in one month. In a single province.

Though popular in Québec, the Big Challenge isn’t well known across the rest of Canada. Lavoie would like to see that changed. If Québec children and their families can get active for that many hours, think of what this country as a whole could do.

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