What an HT session looks like!

Ann is running the Healthy Together programs at the River District Center, Fraserlands Drop In. She was kind enough to share a ‘typical’ HT session and how it’s working at the South Vancouver Family Place.

Getting ready for the HT session at South Vancouver Family Place!

Their Program goes as follows:

  1. Arrival and Introduction– Children and adults settle in with the children doing as art project which focuses on the Food of the Day and/or the Physical activity. We discuss the Message of the day and go over the hand-outs for the session such as “Detours” for example. We also talk about the physical activity and the Food Project that is happening at this session.
  2. Physical Activity – Children and adults participate in this together after cleaning up their art project. We have done Tennis with balloons covered with nylons and the tennis rackets are hangers covered in a nylon (the participants made them together), Bubbles Outside,  Music and Dance, Bean Bags with music, Wiggly Ribbons with copying and music, Kites (hand made) indoors. All of these were very interactive and fun for both adults and children.
  3. Hand Washing and help set up the food project. Children can cut with plastic knives if the food item is soft enough.
  4. Food Project – recipes we’ve done so far are Yogurt Parfait, Hummus and Veggies, Pinwheels and Bugs on a Log (Cream cheese and veggies/Fruit).
  5. Clean up time.
  6. Outside time.

Ann (L) & Jen (R) enjoying the sunshine during some outdoor play time!

It has been very successful and gaining attention from various Families. At this time I have about 12 or so Families registered. It has been very busy with Moms, Dads, Grandmothers and Grandfathers. They are really enjoying their time together. The hand outs are good and we share Healthy Food ideas and Physical Ideas together.


~ Thanks so much to Ann & Jen, who are doing an amazing job of promoting Healthy Together and supporting their families in living a healthy lifestyle!

The new Healthy Together Toolkit

So what is this new Healthy Together toolkit we’re talking about?! And how does it differ from the original HT facilitator manual?

After 3 years of training and implementation using the original HT facilitator manual we collected a mass of feedback from our facilitators and implementation sites about how great the program was, some shortcomings, sections that needed more information or clarification and even additional topics that you’d like to see in the program.

The new toolkit was piloted in Kingston in October 2016, we then made some last minute edits and launched the final product in March 2017. The new toolkit is now also available ‘en Français’!

The Toolkit is housed in a 3-ring binder making it easy to pull out a specific page for your session or for copying. There are 3 main tabbed sections;

  • Learning Activities (green tab) containing 30 activities
  • Cooking Activities (red tab) containing 36 activities 
  • Physical Activities (blue tab) containing 21 activities

There are also 2 more sections at the back of the binder containing the Appendices and the Facilitator Training Guide.

Each section incorporates many of the activities & recipes that you’ll recognize from the original facilitator manual but we’ve spent some time on the design so there’s a new, improved layout that’s easy to read and each activity is on it’s own page for ease of use.

We’ve had great feedback from our facilitators so far, but would love to hear what you think, contact us using the link in the top menu bar!

If you’ve previously been trained as an HT facilitator then you will have access to the new toolkit. All our facilitators have been sent an email update with instructions for creating a new registration for our website. This will enable you to access the login-only area of the HT website where the toolkit and all program resources are available to download. If you have not received your email or are having difficulties creating a registration then please contact us.

Facilitator Training in Kelowna

Our first training event of 2017 took place last month in Kelowna. We were excited to showcase our new and improved facilitator toolkit which we’ve been working on for the last year. We’ve welcomed the feedback over the last 3 years and have finally been able to incorporate the changes into something new and different. In late May we trained 25 facilitators from 12 different organizations across BC and Alberta. We were happy to welcome several new implementation site partners as well as welcoming back some familiar faces.

The new toolkit now has 30 learning activities and recipes and over 20 physical activities. It is designed so that facilitators can ‘mix and match’ the activities that are most suited to the interests of their group for greater flexibility and engagement.

Everyone got the opportunity to lead and practice a learning activity and we made sure to take plenty of breaks whilst at the same time show-casing some of our simple fun physical activities from the program!

Assessing Social Return on Investment in health promotion: Findings from the Healthy Together Program

You are cordially invited to attend a Partnership in Research Seminar

Assessing Social Return on Investment (SROI) in health promotion: Findings from the Healthy Together© Program

WHAT:  Dr. Anima Anand, Project Lead, Healthy Weights for Children, The Bridge Youth & Family Services, Kelowna, and Ms. Stephanie Robertson, Founder & President, SiMPACT Strategy Group, Calgary & Toronto, will discuss the use of SROI to evaluate health promotion programs for scale-up.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 16, 12 – 1:00 pm PST
WHERE:  Room 129, Reichwald Health Sciences Centre, UBC Okanagan
To attend in person or via webinar
Register at:  http://sroihealthy.eventbrite.ca  
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC – Everyone is welcome!

Community Site visit to Bearskin and Caribou Lake

Have a look at Michele Hopkins as she traveled to Bearskin and Caribou Lake for a community visit. Michele was in Thunder Bay for the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Reclaiming Our Right To Food Self-Determination meeting during the summer.

Michele joined a group of people who are committed and passionate about finding solutions that address needs in northern communities experiencing food insecurity related to high food cost, poor quality food, low food variety and difficult food growing conditions. This visit highlighted some of the conditions experienced in these communities that contribute to reduced quality of life and health outcomes related to food insecurity. The Bridge hopes to support better health outcomes by preparing and supporting northern communities to offer the Healthy Together program for families.


Canada releases world’s first 24-hour movement behaviour guidelines for children and youth

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has just released new guidelines…Research strongly shows the need for a new movement paradigm that emphasizes the integration of all movement behaviours occurring over a whole day, shifting the focus from the individual components to emphasize the whole (all physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep). This new research supports the ParticipACTION 2016 Report Card, also recently released.

24 Hour Movement Guidelines

What are the new guidelines?

The new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth encourage children and youth to “Sweat, Step, Sleep and Sit”.

For optimal health benefits, children and youth (aged 5–17 years) should achieve high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour, and sufficient sleep each day. A healthy 24 hours includes:

  • Uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years, with consistent bed and wake-up times;
  • An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity involving a variety of aerobic activities. Vigorous physical activities and muscle and bone strengthening activities should each be incorporated at least 3 days per week;
  • Several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured light physical activities;
  • No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time;
  • Limited sitting for extended periods.
  • Preserving sufficient sleep, trading indoor time for outdoor time, and replacing sedentary behaviours and light physical activity with additional moderate to vigorous physical activity can provide greater health benefits.

Healthy Together in Kelowna

The kids were enjoying some physical activity time with the fun Activity Dice game at the Healthy Together session in Kelowna. It’s a set of 3 dice – one has 6 different exercises on it (from push-ups, to toe-taps) and the other two dice were regular dice with numbers – whatever number you roll is how many reps you do of your exercise! Anything from 1-12!

Parent Place Dice Game

If you don’t have the specific activity dice like we did you could easily modify it. You could use regular games dice for the number and then either a spin wheel selector (from a board game) or even just playing cards with the activities.

You can purchase activity dice from here or here or if you’re feeling crafty there’s some details about making your own here!

Welcome to… Vista Family Resource Centre, Westcoast Family Centres Society & Froude Ave Community Centre

The Vista Family Resource Centre serves families with children aged 0-6 living on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula. The Centre’s main site is in the town of Bonavista with outreach sites in the towns of Catalina, Port Rexton and Musgravetown. The Centre opened in 1999 and receives provincial funding through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Programs include a prenatal support and nutrition program called Healthy Baby Club as well as a variety of play-based, family-oriented programs and parent education and support programs.

Westcoast Family Centres Society (WFC) offers intensive parenting programs to high-risk families throughout the Lower Mainland of BC. We provide Family Preservation and Reunification services, Clinical Counselling and Play Therapy, Supervised Visitation, and numerous community based programs to families who may be dealing with issues that make parenting more challenging, such as mental health issues, addictions, poverty, newcomer status, abuse, trauma, or divorce. As one of the first organizations to receive accreditation standing with the Counsel on Accreditation (COA), we are now in our 32nd year of service, with offices in Vancouver, the North Shore, the Tri-Cities and Maple Ridge. Their mandate states that “Westcoast Family Centres contribute to the healthy development of children by providing services to strengthen the relationship between children and families and between families and their communities”.

WFC_Color logo

The Froude Avenue Community Centre is a non profit facility that is dedicated to providing opportunities and resources for people of all ages and backgrounds, by developing diverse programs and service that encourages citizen involvement and a strong active community while striving to promote the social, cultural, and healthy lifestyles of its residents and visitors. The thrust of this program was, and still is, to encourage the tenants in different housing projects to become more involved in their community.The mission of Froude Avenue Community Centre is to encourage the involvement of tenants in their housing projects through the use of programs and activities implemented through the centre; to create a positive atmosphere, community spirit and co-operation; to help develop a better social environment by providing recreational, educational and social programs, as well as training and referrals.



Making Hummus

It is April 1 and a wonderful day to start a Healthy Together program. The South Vancouver Family Place in Vancouver BC did just that…they brought together 38 families and introduced a healthy snack of hummus, pita and veggies on beautiful sunny day! Everyone was outside digging in the garden and playing in the sandbox. Many people tried hummus for the first time…some had never had chick peas before. They are going to offer Healthy Together for families in one of their play-based family support programs. We can’t wait to see what exciting activities and learning this group enjoys in the coming weeks. Here is a recipe for Hummus if you want to try making and eating this with your family;



  • 1 can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbsp sesame tahini
  • 1 tsb sea salt


  1. Open can of chickpeas and pour out some of the liquid into a cup and set liquid aside for later
  2. Pour chickpeas into a blender with the lemon juice, garlic, tahini and olive oil
  3. Blend, add salt to taste
  4. If hummus is too thick then add some of the water you set aside in step 1 and blend again until you get the right consistency
  5. Enjoy with fresh veggie sticks or pita chips


There is a fun video of a young child making this recipe here;


We have 15 new Healthy Together programs running across Canada starting today…we are very excited to enjoy the journey towards health with each of these programs.

Watch for our introductions in the next two weeks…we will tell you a little bit about each organization as we welcome everyone to the Healthy Together program.

what is moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity?

Recently ParticipACTION revealed the most frequently asked question was, “what is moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity?”

The Healthy Together program teaches families about the importance of physical activity based on the information found in the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines . The term moderate-to-vigorous may be new for some people or you may not understand what exactly is meant by this term.

Dr. Allana Leblanc answers the question for us in her recent blog about this popular question.

She recognizes that “The question is totally valid” and she goes on to explain that:

“ – to meet Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines of 150 minutes per week, your activity has to be at least moderate intensity. And there’s pretty good evidence to suggest that higher intensities (i.e., vigorous intensity) is even better for your health. But the full answer is complicated. The short answer is that moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity is anything that:

  • Makes you breath heavy
  • Feel warm and start to sweat
  • Makes it possible, but hard to have a conversation with someone (moderate-intensity)
  • Impossible to sing out loud to yourself (vigorous-intensity)

If that’s enough guidance for you then STOP READING!

If you want a bit more information, or still don’t quite understand, read on!”

Click here to read the more in depth answer if you are interested.