Healthy Living in the North

Regional Spirit of Healthy Kids program launches October 1

Prince George Cougar hockey players interact with school kids as part of the Spirit of Healthy Kids program.

Using local hockey players as role models, the Spirit of Healthy Kids program helps kids to be as active, kind, and as healthy as they can be. (photo credit: Prince George Cougars)

“Dad! I met the Hockey Cougars! I could win a chance to meet the whole team! I need to read and exercise every day!

These words, from a young participant in the Spirit of Healthy Kids program, sum up what makes the program successful and important: the program gives kids positive role models to look up to and rewards them for making healthy choices, and it can have a tremendous impact on their lives. Up until recently, Spirit of Healthy Kids was only available in Prince George, but now it’s going regional, to communities throughout Northern BC!

Program now available to all of Northern BC

The first ever intake for the Spirit of Healthy Kids Regional Program will be open from October 1 to October 31, 2019. Here’s how it works:

  • Interested schools in Northern BC can apply, and six schools will be selected to participate in the challenge, based on healthy kids’ projects they want to accomplish (see Criteria).
  • Students will view a video that has health, wellness, and philanthropic messages from the PG Cougars, then record their healthy activities in tracking sheets for the next two weeks.
  • At the end of the challenge, the school with the highest level of participation will receive a $5,000 grant from the program to complete a project in their school that will help students make the best possible choices every day.
  • The other competing schools will each receive a $1,000 grant.
  • Kids from schools that weren’t selected can still complete activity forms and enter a random draw for a $500 grant.

While this funding is important, the real win is getting kids to be active, kind, and as healthy as they can be. It’s no secret that building healthy habits in kids leads to healthy habits in adults. By supporting schools to encourage these habits in their students, the Prince George Cougars, the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, and Northern Health aim to build a happier and healthier Northern BC for years, and generations, to come.

Spirit of Healthy Kids background

In 2015, the Prince George Cougars wanted to give back to the community. They introduced Read to Succeed, a program focused on getting elementary school children to spend more time reading and being physically active. The program was a hit and, in 2016, a new partnership between the Cougars, the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, and Northern Health came together, and the Spirit of Healthy Kids program was born.

This new program built on the foundation of Read to Succeed, adding new areas of focus including philanthropy, smoke and vape reduction, and injury prevention, among others. Since the program began, over 4,100 children have participated and read their way to rewards, like enjoying Cougars hockey games.

For more information

Visit the Spirit of Healthy Kids program for more information, and application details and forms.

Andrew Steele

About Andrew Steele

Andrew Steele is the Coordinator of Community Funding Programs for Northern Health. He is passionate about community development, and believes that healthy communities are the result of many people working together toward common goals. Outside work, Andrew loves mountain biking, teaching Ride classes at The Movement, and enjoying art, culture and food with friends and family.


NH employees team up and earn $500 for the Spirit of the North Foundation

Claire and Angela

NH team members, Claire Radcliffe and Angela Wheeler.

On Sunday, July 15, 2012, Northern Health staff Claire Radcliffe and Angela Wheeler, both from Vanderhoof, participated in the Pomeroy Inn and Suites Inc. Prince George Triathlon held at West Lake Provincial Park. Entered as a two person team in the Olympic-distance triathlon which involved a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run, Radcliffe churned up a froth in the calm West Lake waters, then wound her way up and down a very challenging bike course while Wheeler warmed up to bring it all home on the hilly run portion.

Before the Prince George event, Radcliffe had participated in five previous triathlon events, but recently has been suffering from a running-related injury in the backside which officially announced itself as a problem not be ignored in a Terrace triathlon she completed just the previous weekend. Prior to the injury in the Terrace tri, Radcliffe had already signed up for the Prince George event and would face losing out on the race fees and all the fun. As Radcliffe felt she could still swim and bike, a solution was found: teaming up with Angela Wheeler, who, for several years, has been a willing and eager runner who participates in several races each year, ranging from trail runs to half-marathon road races.

For Radcliffe, the Olympic-distance event meant racing a distance twice as far as she had ever done before. For Wheeler, it was another run but in a fresh context of a triathlon.

The team woke up to freshly rained upon highways under black clouds to drive the hour into West Lake. Just over three hours after the 9 a.m. race start, a pleasantly tired and smiling Radcliffe and Wheeler were walking up to the post-race BBQ when the race organizer called them over. To their surprise, it turned out Radcliffe and Wheeler, who on a whim chose to enter the corporate challenge category as a Northern Health team, ended up earning the sole prize of a $500 dollar donation towards a charity of their choice.

And so, because Radcliffe didn’t let one of life’s “pains in the butt” prevent her from participating in an active life, and because Angela Wheeler was doing what a friend and coworker does, helping out in any way she can, the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation will receive the definitely not-insignificant cash donation.

How did Radcliffe feel about winning the donation opportunity?  She said she’s “excited and very pleased…tickled pink in fact!” And Wheeler said, “Take part in some good fun and great exercise and win money for a good cause while doing it? Sign me up for next year!

Greg Tone

About Greg Tone

Greg began working for the former version of Northern Health in 1999 in the field of environmental health where he continues to work today, except for a three year gap doing the same job in the Yukon. His favourite activity in the summer is to swim in the local lakes and rivers with the kids, and in the winter to go tobogganing and cross-country skiing – especially now that the kids (now 10 and 7) are old enough that they cannot convince him that they need to be pulled back up! Greg is always willing to try a new sport, such as biathlon or triathlon, and when relaxing he likes to read an old discarded paperback picked up for a quarter from the local library, particularly when he knows he should be doing the dishes.