Parents Pick Up Pace at IT Sligo


Students’ parents are “lapping up” a keep fit outreach activity at IT Sligo.

And to seal their new found energy, they did a 400 metre victory lap of the Institute’s athletics track with each winning a certificate at the end of a rigorous 12 week walking exercise programme.

 It was all part of “Walking Mums and Dads”, a project that provides a flavour of what their daughters and sons experience on the popular Bachelor of Business in Recreation and Leisure course.

 As well as leading to a degree, the course helps students achieve coaching qualifications that are nationally and internationally recognised.

Lecturer Kerry Larkin has spearheaded the “Walking Mums and Dads” initiative in the past few years as a way of introducing what he calls “the forgotten faces” to third level education. The 12 week programme promoting the social and health benefits of exercise, is delivered by Year 1 BB Recreation and Leisure students as part of their course.

The annual presentation event has become a regular feature of IT Sligo’s outreach calendar with presentation of certificates for successful completion, learning and participation, and followed by the celebratory lap of honour.

Throughout the 12 weeks, the students coach their trainee, who is generally a parents or a relative. The programme becomes more intensive each week, covering topics such as walking technique, aerobic walking, how to maintain or increase the intensity of the programme, flexibility for walking and walking for strength.

Kerry explains the thinking behind the initiative: “Although they are often financing their children’s education, many parents have not had the same opportunities as their sons and daughters. For some, their involvement in the walking exercise programme could even be their first opportunity to experience third level education.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” he says. “Participants get to complete a 12 week health enhancing walking programme to improve their fitness levels and give them a better understanding of what it’s like to be a student at IT Sligo; the students have an opportunity to develop their coaching skills and give something back to people who have supported and encouraged them.

“From the Institute’s perspective, it allows us to build on our engagement activities within the local and regional community while showcasing the students’ coaching techniques.”

Ms Ann Higgins, Head of Department of Marketing, Tourism and Sport said: “Not only does this module promote the Sport for All philosophy that is integral to the Recreation and Leisure programme, it also provides an insight into the world of third level education to family members who support the student on their educational journey.”

Ms Higgins also congratulated Kerry on being shortlisted for a national teaching award for his work in the development and delivery of this innovative module.

Group 2 (2)

Relatives and students at IT Sligo point the way to fitness and health after completing a 12 week “Walking Mums and Dads” project delivered by the 1st Bachelor of Business Recreation and Leisure undergraduates as part of their course. The outreach initiative was introduced by IT Sligo lecturer Kerry Larkin to give relatives a flavour of the course that their sons and daughters are studying and to promote the benefits of exercise