First birthday reflections: The 4 most important lessons we’ve learned

First birthday reflections: The 4 most important lessons we’ve learned

Active for Life is one year old this month. As parents of any one year old will attest, remarkable and magical changes can happen in that first year. Helpless infants turn into interesting, hilarious, active humans contributing so much to the world around them.

And looking back to June 2012, it’s really amazing how much we’ve grown. Our team has gone from 5 to 15, our content has gone from sparse to abundant, and the number of visitors to the site has quadrupled!

Another thing that most parents will agree with is that the first year is better when you have some support, whether from family, doctors, neighbours, or friends that help you focus on your little creation. We have been so fortunate to have the backing of B2ten since the beginning in the form of funding, but also in terms of guidance and encouragement. More recently we’ve been endorsed by Sport Canada, which is a major achievement and something we are extremely proud of.

But, as with children, the real growth resides in what we have learned.

When we embarked on this adventure, we knew that we could only succeed if we listened to you. Since the beginning we’ve asked for your thoughts and opinions about Active for Life. We wanted to know what you liked and, more importantly, what you didn’t. We want to improve. Your comments and feedback are the greatest gift we could have asked for.

Here are the most valuable pieces of wisdom you have shared with us in the past year.

1. Parents don’t really know what physical literacy is

When we began to build this initiative, we consulted with marketing firms and they warned us that no one had heard of physical literacy, that the concept was too complex, and that the term wouldn’t catch on with parents.

They were right about one thing. We recently conducted an informal survey of our readers, and you told us that more than 75 percent of you had never seen the words “physical” and “literacy” put together before. But even though the term was unfamiliar, something about it resonated with you.

2. But parents “get it” quickly and realize why it’s important for their kids

Again and again, we have witnessed parents going through similar steps.

First, you are intrigued by the term “physical literacy”. Then you put together what it means. And that leads you to seeing why physical literacy was something every kid should be.

In a sense, we took a chance with Active for Life. It paid off, though, because once you understand what physical literacy is, you believe in it.

3. Keep it simple, practical, personal

We want to continue growing. We want to get better. To help us figure out how to do this, we asked first-time readers of Active for Life for their impressions. They told us that they found our content interesting and valuable, but that they were overwhelmed by the way things were organized.

As a result, you will see some changes to AFL over the next few months. We’ll continue to deliver the same content and resources you’ve come to expect, but we’re looking for ways that we can make it easier for you to find what you need.

4. On a personal note …

As the publisher, editor-in-chief, and project lead of the Active for Life initiative, it has been a busy but uplifting first year. The greatest gift I have received personally from being part of this unique project is the realization that I am doing something for the greater good. Seeing the term physical literacy show up in the news more and more shows me that the word is getting out and that is something that Active for Life is in part responsible for.

It’s also been rewarding to develop strong relationships and collaborations with other like-minded organizations – Canadian Sport for Life, PHE Canada, Savvy Mom, and Today’s Parent among them – that share the common purpose of getting kids active.

In the past year I’ve spoken at dozens of conferences and gatherings, and everywhere I have received – in the name of all of us who work on Active for Life – the same kind comments. Parents tell us they find us innovative and necessary and that we are providing them with valuable content to help them guide their children to health and success.

What’s ahead?

As we embark on our second year, our promise is simple: we will continue to publish simple activities, inspirational stories, and jargon-free summaries of news and science that is important for you to know.

In return, we hope you will continue to help us shape Active for Life through your comments, opinions, and advice. Looking at our real life babies we know that year two brings with it changes that can be just as huge as the first.

It’s with excitement and anticipation that we roll up our sleeves and start working towards our second birthday and everything it will bring.

Happy birthday, Active for Life!

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