According to Darwin Murray, after sitting in a desk all day, it is fun to get up and run, play games and meet new people before heading home from school.

Tuesday after school, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., an enthusiastic group of children from Grades 4 and 5 participate in a Skookum Jim Friendship Centre program that takes place at the Jack Hulland Elementary School.

Dodge ball seemed to be the favourite activity when I stopped by to see the program in action. But yoga, soccer and floor hockey are also sports on the agenda.

There are usually about 12 participants. I was impressed with the yoga session – the children focused and tried various poses under the direction of Codi Ingram. I am betting that the other sports they participate in, such as hockey or squash, will benefit from the focus, balance practice and self discipline of yoga.

David Dugas, recreation director at Skookum Jim Friendship Centre is accompanied by Codi Ingram and Nicole Grossinger to keep the children focused and participating. Nicole is a student in Grade 11 at the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre. She has lots of babysitting experience and enjoys working with the children.

The objective of the program is to provide a safe and positive environment for participants. The physical activities are designed to foster friendship and teamwork.

Skookum Jim Friendship Centre is a non-profit organization with a building in downtown Whitehorse. In addition to downtown programs, Skookum Jim Friendship Centre has reached out to the community involving children and youth in healthy lifestyle activities in two Whitehorse elementary schools. In addition to the After School Program at Jack Hulland, there is a similar program at Elijah Smith Elementary School on Wednesdays. The Skookum Jim Friendship Centre also runs a ski program at Mount Sima. The Recreation Department also runs a Mount Sima Program that is free for for youth 12 to 18 on Sundays.

The Skookum Jim Friendship Centre vision is to better the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well being of First Nations People. Programs foster friendship and understanding between peoples.

The After School Program is planned again for the 2017-2018 school year. If your child attends Jack Hulland Elementary School and wants to have fun after school check back in September for program details.