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    Golf was one of the few sports that could be offered as normal, or at least as the new normal. Here Emily Whalen prepares to tee-off. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

    A person prepares to tee-off
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    4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) Commander Colonel (Col) John Vass and 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major (FSM) Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Jack Durnford joined Personnel Support Programs (PSP) staff at Dundonald Hall to take part in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Sports Day in Canada event on Oct. 22. Soldiers and their families were encouraged to do sports on their own time, explore the Garrison Fitness trail, play a round of golf or join a virtual class. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

    Group shot of participants with Canada flag hangining in the background



Garrison CAF Sports Day in Canada event brings participants together both virtually and outdoors

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday November 5, 2020

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Sports Day in Canada at Garrison Petawawa went virtual, encouraging military members to get outside or just get moving on their own time.

Instead of cancelling this tradition, the eighth annual Sports Day was moved to an online platform on Oct. 22, upping the safety factor while maintaining the spirit of the event.

In-person, people could either sign up for the Four Person Golf Scramble at the Petawawa Golf Club, or a Trail to Wellness Scavenger Hunt on the Garrison Fitness Trail. If neither of those looked appealing, classes incluig yoga, sports supplements, core workout, nutrition, and basketball shooting were streamed online.

“We want to celebrate Sports Day with our CAF family across the Nation and in Europe,” said Rebecca Olstad, Personnel Support Programs (PSP) Military Sports Coordinator. “To just really promote healthy, active living and to celebrate the power of sport, how it contributes to CAF members and their dedication, strength, morale. That’s what we are here for.”

Going virtual also has the benefits of allowing Canadian Armed Forces personnel who are deployed or posted overseas to partake in this Canadian event.

Colonel (Col) John Vass, Commander 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) and 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major (FSM) Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Jack Durnford joined Olstad and many other PSP staff to celebrate the day.

He commended the efforts of this group of trainers, coordinators, facility maintainers, health promotors, and sports enthusiasts.

“PSP is ... leading the way as far as business resumption is concerned,” said Col Vass, adding that he appreciates all the work staff has done.

The initiative displayed by the entire staff and leadership team to continue to push the envelope and make programs available and accessible over the past few months has impressed him. Though he acknowledged the difficulties in maintaining a fully functional gym in these unprecedented times, he knows that a physical outlet such as Dundonald Hall has been crucial in helping many keep their spirits high and mental health stable.

“You are the key to the morale on this base right now, you are absolutely key,” echoed CWO Durnford, adding so many other events have been taken away from the members and their families.

Multiple studies have shown that sports and physical activity as a whole can do wonders for lifting a person’s mood and helping them cope with the stresses around them.

“Even though we have to wear a mask, we can still be together in groups and enjoy sports,” said Olstad. “Fitness can be done individually, or as a team, so again I just encourage people to stay active mentally, physically, spiritually - however they do that - and take this day to enjoy.”