Racines De L’EspoirPosted: January 3, 2012
From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.
Last weekend, fifty young francophone students attended Racines de l’espoir’s first ever health seminar in Edmunston. Racines de l’espoir is a new project started by the FJFNB (Fédération des jeunes francophones du N.B.) and the Tree of Hope (George Dumont Hospital’s popular cancer fundraising campaign). Racines de l’espoir, like FJFNB’s other projects, is youth-initiated; youth requested the project.
Although I was not among the fifty students to attend the seminar last weekend, I did get a glimpse of the seminar when I participated in the seminar’s ”trial run” in mid-September. A few other students and I had the opportunity to listen to conferences on health issues and to adopt a healthy lifestyle (meals were healthy and balanced; physical activity was part of the program) for the trial weekend in September, just like last week’s group did.
I found the concept of organizing a seminar for youth as a means of encouraging healthy living interesting. Rather than serving up a cookie-cutter message about healthy habits or finding ways to sneak physical activity into school days and nutritious food into cafeteria menus, the seminar focused on discussion and reflexion on health issues, in the hopes that awareness would lead individuals to choose healthier options for themselves and to encourage others in their communities to do so as well.
This approach may not be particularly effective for everyone (for example, people who have good intentions but lack self-control may have trouble motivating themselves on a daily basis). However, it might be more effective than other programs at reaching young leaders and in making health promotion an ”in” issue. Today’s students care about the environment and about people in need in the community; why shouldn’t they care about health, another important issue for individuals and society.
Laure Bourdon, project agent for Racines de l’espoir, says that this year’s seminar (the seminar ah will hopefully become an annual event) was a success. Participants were interested by the information and enjoyed trying new activities such as Tai-chi and climbing. For more information about the project, visit www.fjfnb.nb.ca
Originally published in the Times & Transcript on November 20th, 2010.