Have you forgiven Participaction? Sam hasn’t yet…

In theory I ought to like Participaction. I’ve been going to write and say nice things about their movement based activity encouragement programs.

Their list of 18 resolutions to make in 2018 is pretty good.

Here’s some text from them about 2018:

“This is the year to take charge and make change. We love the start of a fresh new year. It’s a time when many resolve to make positive changes, like exercising more. Yes! But, despite our best intentions, we often fall short. We lose momentum, motivation dries up, and too often, we end up right back where we started. This is where ParticipACTION comes in.”

If you’re not Canadian you might not know what they are all about: “ParticipACTION is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to help Canadians sit less and move more. Originally established in 1971, ParticipACTION works with its partners, which include sport, physical activity, recreation organizations, government and corporate sponsors, to make physical activity a vital part of everyday life.”

What’s to dislike?

And yet, I feel guilty and judged each time I look at their website. That’s weird. I’m a super active Canadian. I might even be one of the 1 in 5 Canadians who meets the weekly recommended amount of physical activity. I love their focus on outdoor activity, inclusive fitness, joyful movement across generations. There’s little (maybe no?) talk about weight loss on their website. They ought to be my people. And yet…

What’s going on then?

In truth, I haven’t forgiven them yet for the Canada Fitness Test which I failed each year through elementary school and I took that failure to heart.

The Canada Fitness Award Program was a national fitness test and evaluation program operated by the Government of Canada department Health and Welfare Canada from 1970 to 1992. It ended ten years after I graduated high school and it was replaced by something much more my speed, the active living challenge.

I don’t think Aimée has forgiven them either. You can abut her experiences in her post about finally coming to think of herself as athletic.

I was the kind of kid who loved school. I thought tests were a great idea. Give me a test and I do well on it. I had test taking down pat. I loved teachers too. I even tried at one point to run away and join the nuns who taught me.

But the fitness test? I cried every year, I think. It taught me that some people were athletic and others were not. I was not.

Here’s the test:

Pushups. No time limit. Maximum continuous reps.

10m Shuttle Run

Situps No time limit. Maximum continuous reps.

Standing Long Jump

50m Run

1-mile run

Flexed-arm hang for time

It was the flexed arm hang that did me in every year!

Here’s Jess and Chantal, two people like me, who failed the test as kids recreating it.

Here’s a defence of the test including a score sheet so you can take the test and rank yourself

From 1985

Do you remember the Canada Fitness Test? How’d you do? Scarred for life or not?

7 thoughts on “Have you forgiven Participaction? Sam hasn’t yet…

  1. I had to do some similar test in high school in 1999 or 2000. I have not forgiven it. It seems like the “dumbed down” Canada fitness test but that the PE program in my high school felt we needed to be tested on something. I did badly.

  2. Yes, scarred for life!!! The discussion of this has surfaced a few times in my adult life and it seems like everyone hated it, especially the flexed arm hang which was truly awful!!

  3. That test is vastly unfair to short people and people who are better at endurance (versus speed). The last few years that I had to do this test, I walked everywhere (to and sometimes from school, to our favourite shops and hangouts, etc). I also swam. I wasn’t a top athlete, but I was pretty fit. And, yet, I always failed. Like the others, I was left feeling like I wasn’t athletic (or even capable of being athletic) and like a failure. It has done more harm to my health than not, simply because of how it made me feel.

  4. Agreed! The hanging bar test was traumatizing – but the real thing for me (if my memory is correct) is that everyone watched while you attempted it. I was a pretty awesome hockey player and soccer player competitively, but couldn’t do that dman bar and it was embarrassing! Now, how about a post on the Health Hustle because that on the other hand was pure awesome!

    1. But what was the Health Hustle? You might have to guest post about it for us!

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