The specialization occurs in the second year of diploma studies, and graduates will gain the skills to work with older adults at a wide range of capabilities – whether they are training for a marathon, hoping for more independence at home, or residing in an extended care facility.

Since the very successful Fitness Leadership diploma program was established here a few years ago, faculty have been discussing the idea of training fitness professionals specifically to work with older adults and seniors. The aging demographic of our population is presenting an increasing need for the services these Fitness Leaders will provide. The faculty of Physical Education, Athletics and Kinesiology – especially instructor Bethe Goldie - saw an opportunity, and have worked long and hard to offer the program at GPRC.

“I am very excited to be celebrating the launch of this diploma today,” says Bethe Goldie. “People from across the province, across the country have been in touch with me, looking forward to the specialized fitness trainers this program will prepare. I have already spoken with several students who are very excited about the career potential of this diploma – this is going to be great!”

The 21 courses in this program have been developed not only for the classroom, but also to be accessible online, and cover topics from gerontology and the physiology of aging to activity adaptation, adventure tourism, nutrition and pharmacology. Students will develop personal skills, and will be at the forefront of a rapidly developing industry.

“I am very proud that our institution has developed this program,” said Vice President Susan Bansgrove while making the official announcement, “and I know we will all be proud of our future graduates, as they work to improve lives in our communities, and to help our society to be active and healthy – life-long!”

“People are stooped, pooped, off balance and shaky when they walk, with atrophied muscles and bones, and breathless to boot,” says featured presenter Dr. Sandra Hartley. “This is not how aging is supposed to look. This is how sedentary living looks!” Dr. Hartley is a special guest of the Fitness Leadership program, and participated in the Fitness Fair and launch ceremonies announcing the new program.

The noted expert on active aging has been sharing her strong message in Grande Prairie this week in both public presentations and in meetings with GPRC faculty. She has been consulting with the College in the development of the curriculum, and is a keen supporter of the new credential. Everyone is also invited to hear Dr. Hartley speak as the guest of the College and Community Lecture Series on Wednesday, February 25.

A wide range of presenters committed to healthy lifestyles and lifelong active living participated in the Fitness Fair, which offered everything from Wii-Fit to blood-pressure testing, and demonstrations ranging from sit-and-be-fit exercises and restorative yoga to fall prevention.

“We are exceptionally proud to be making this announcement,” says Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO of GPRC. “The term “leadership” is not just an accident in the title of this program – what we are celebrating here today is true leadership by the people of our institution – and the first diploma of its kind in North America.

For more information please contact:

Susan Bansgrove, Vice-President Academic
Grande Prairie Regional College


Bethe Goldie, Instructor
Physical Education, Athletics and Kinesiology
Grande Prairie Regional College