Oak Bay hosts Right To Play board meeting

Movement aims to empower children through sport

A group of celebrity athletes is leading the charge to get two million children active by 2017.

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel played host to Right To Play’s International Board of Directors, which includes Canadian Olympic legends Clara Hughes and Silken Laumann, who joined the charge along with Right To Play founder, president and CEO Johann Koss, to put a final stamp of approval on the goals and objectives of the organization’s new five-year plan.

The official aim: to help two million children by 2017.

“The three of us are Olympians, and we want to set high goals, so we are looking forward to working with the Canadian government to achieve this,” said Koss.

The Canadian-based organization uses “the transformative power of play” to educate and empower children facing adversity across more than 20 countries world-wide. Right To Play programs are facilitated by more than 600 international staff and more than 13,500 volunteer coaches.

“I remember when Johann said his goal was to help one million children by 2012, and I thought, OK, that’s a lot of children,” said Laumann, who was thrilled to welcome the board to her hometown. “And we’re not talking about just getting these children moving, we’re talking about quality, life-altering educational programming – and we did it.”

The board consists of a group of international business figures and world-class athletes. But while work happened in the boardroom, the group live the practice. GoodLife Fitness and Frontrunners supported the meeting so directors were able to utilize the city’s outdoor landscape and health facilities.

“It’s so important that we have this time to reflect how we can best serve these kids, because everyone needs a safe place to go and be active,” said Koss. “This is not something nice – this is a right.”