Snowsports Industries America (SIA) has launched a new initiative, Winter Feels Good, a public relations component of Project Kids, the association's industry-wide program designed to encourage snow sports participation among youth.
Winter Feels Good is a nationwide public awareness campaign that promotes the health, fitness, social aspects and benefits of snow sports participation. This initiative, targeted at kids under 14 and their parents includes: an educational component through the website, (www.winterfeelsgood.com), a community outreach program, and a media relations component.
The media relations component of Winter Feels Good kicked off in May with visits by SIA to 28 national magazines located in New York City, including Shape, Self, Fitness, Sports Illustrated for Kids, and Nick, Jr. Other national media as well as regional and local media will be receiving the Winter Feels Good information now and through the fall.
Mary Jo Tarallo, Director of Public Relations and Education for SIA told SNEWS, "The media have been very receptive to our message. During the winter, folks are the least active and this program offers up an alternative for folks to do something other than sit on their duffs."
Another part of the message SIA is pushing forward is that snow sports should become part of the planning a family does to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
"We are working on knocking down the misconceptions by communicating to the parents of the under 14 age group who are active, those typically in the 25 to 45 age bracket -- that snow sports are not too hard, not too cold, not too expensive, and not too exclusive and should become part of what a family does in the winter to stay healthy together," added Tarallo.
"Kids certainly are interested in the fun aspect of snow sports," said Tarallo. "We're banking on the fact that parents will be more interested in activities that can keep their kids healthy. In fact, a recent study conducted by the National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) found that optimal health for their children was of utmost concern for the parents involved in the study."
A part of selling and working on that healthy lifestyle message and reaching out to the community, SIA is pursuing partnership opportunities with national organizations that are already addressing the lack of physical activity issues in the United States including American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, Girl Scouts, Boys Scouts, The National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA), Winterkids and others.
"There is strength in numbers, and it is clear that as associations band together we have a much stronger voice," Tarallo told us following SIA's second meeting with the NCPPA.
Fact sheets included in the Winter Feels Good information kit cover getting in shape for snow sports, advances in equipment and apparel that make participation user friendly, calories burned while skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, innovative and affordable learning programs and much more. According to SIA, the web site will be expanded during the summer to include links to resorts and retailers with programs that encourage snow sports participation.
Retailers, resorts and other organizations involved in the winter sports arena are encouraged to use the Winter Feels Good messages in their own promotions and are urged to participate in the campaign through their own programs that target their customers and members. A public relations "tool kit" is now being prepared for distribution to retailers later this summer. A similar package will be available for resorts.
SNEWS View: Outstanding!! The obesity and health issue are hot topics right now, as well they should be, so now is the time to capitalize on that message and SIA is jumping in with both feet. We fully applaud the association's efforts to partner with the NCPPA -- www.ncppa.org. The coalition is, as they say, "an extraordinary group of national organizations that independently address a host of issues pertaining to physical activity including health/science, education, environments, population specific outreach, and activity behavior." Their membership already includes: the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; the International Health, Racquet, and Sports Club Association; the National Athletic Trainers Association; the National School Fitness Foundation; the National Recreation and Park Association; PE4Life; and others. Now, we know that OIA is funding a study on how and why youth participate in the outdoors. Hmmm, perhaps getting fully involved with a coalition such as this might make sense too? After all, just two years ago, a CDC official, speaking during a Rendezvous, told us that the outdoors should be a health care initiative if we could muster the troops. Let's see, obesity, health care initiative , outdoors trying to reach youth, SIA reaching out, the NCPPA already doing the leg work -- makes sense to us. We know that SIA and OIA have had their differences, but this time, we'd say "go for it, OIA!"