GAA Football

Armagh initiative invites the world to join 'movement for movement' in Healthy Kidz Global Challenge

Armagh's Kieran McGeeney has given his backing to the 'Movement for Movement'. Picture by Philip Walsh.
Andy Watters

WITH many thousands of children in Ireland and millions worldwide out of school and denied access to organised sport, former Armagh player Paul Carville, Orchard county coaching officer Liam McCorry and teacher Kevin Creery have come together to produce an App which will engage with kids and families throughout the globe.

The Healthy Kidz ‘Global Challenge' has been designed to fill the void left by the spread of Coronavirus and encourage children to get involved in excercise with a healthy competitive outlet that will see countries throughout the world compete against each other.

Points are awarded for physical (eg GAA, soccer or rugby practice or simply going for a walk), emotional and general health (eg brushing teeth, drinking water) activities over a seven-day period and collated on a country-by-country basis and there are some great prizes for the winners.

Liam McCorry explains: “Before this virus kicked in we were ready to present to the Government a full in-school health programme for kids which is tried and tested and backed by the universities. “That programme consisted of physical health activities, football, rugby etc, emotional health, which is very important for kids, and general health, eyesight and oral hygiene.

“We had created this unique and comprehensive programme for schools which we were ready to go into every school in Northern Ireland in September. When this virus came we said: ‘We will take this programme and create a global challenge'.

“There are millions of kids who are sports addicts who are now idle. There are millions of families at home who don't know what to do. What is missing is a focus, a focus for families to actually do something. In a year when there is no Olympics, there's no Euros, there's no GAA, no soccer we said ‘Let's create a challenge where a country can focus all its citizens into doing physical activity and if you do that you gain points on our App.

“If you gain points it goes towards your country's overall target. So Ireland will take on the rest of the world to see whose citizens can be the most active.

“Within the timetable that we have created, anybody can do anything, so if you're a Gaelic footballer you can do your football skills and any time you do an activity you score points and those points go towards your country's score. Your children, no matter what activity they do, will be representing Ireland in a global challenge.

“We have created a timetable so when a child gets up in the morning and brushes their teeth they get points for that. They get points for eating fruit, drinking water, points for practicing sport, going for a walk or a cycle with the family… Every activity gains points in the App and every family in Ireland put together in our App is the Irish total.”

McCorry, Carville and Creery met through their work in coaching circles in the Lurgan and Portadown areas and came together to form the ‘Healthy Kidz' programme which is now very popular in primary schools throughout the North.

The starting point was Tannaghmore PS in Lurgan and from there the programme has extended to 120 schools across all six counties with 16 full-time coaches, four full-time on placement and 35 part-time after-school coaches.

A host of sportsmen and women have given the ‘Movement for Movement' their backing, including

Conor McManus, Paddy Mullins, Kevin McKernan, John Kavanagh, Kieran McGeeney, Stephen Ferris and Kerry footballer Killian Young and countries including Ireland, South Africa, Iran, Dubai, Canada, USA, Scotland, England, France, Portugal, South Korea and China are now taking part.

“There has been so much positivity with the ambassadors that have come on board,” said Kevin Creery.

“We want Ireland to lead the way. We want Ireland to be able to say: ‘We are the most active country in the world.

“We want to dovetail or Global Challenge with all the existing providers out there. Dublin GAA have a very good platform, Munster Rugby have too, Joe Wicks is on every morning… All activities count and we want to show that during this crisis people can take part in something represent their country in the absence of any other sporting competition going on in the world.”

Getting involved is straightforward. Go to the Healty Kidz website (healthy-kidz.com) which will bring you to Event Brite and from there users will get free access to the user details for the App.

“You'll get an email back with your username and password, then download the Healthy Kidz App and you're away,” Paul Carville explained.

“You do a seven-day programme and as long as you log your activities for seven days in-a-row you'll be entered into a draw and the first prize next week is a Fitbit Versa.”

Go to www.healthy-kidz.com to get involved.

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