There was a time when Kennan Larmand was interested in getting his degree in kinesiology. Then he switched gears and decided to study nutrition this coming fall instead.
In the meantime, he’ll graduate from Niagara College’s Fitness and Health Promotion Program, which lays the foundation for Larmand to pursue a career in either field — and many others, including as a certified personal trainer.
Larmand will demonstrate the versatility of his education during a virtual Fitness and Wellness Fair aimed at Niagara and Hamilton high school students who may be contemplating enrolling in the College’s two-year Fitness and Health Promotion Program.
The inaugural event, which happens during two online sessions on Wednesday, April 7, is expected to reach as many as 150 secondary students. Most of the attendees are in the wellness specialist high skills major program and on the brink of deciding what to do after graduating high school.
With the help of Larmand and his classmates, they’ll get an online tour of dedicated program spaces, including a weight room.
His classmates will present on a series of health and wellness topics. They’ll cover everything from screen time and posture to just how much sugar is in that popular coffee shop drink. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a brief exercise session and treat a sports injury with kinesio tape mailed to them ahead of time.
All in, it will give prospective students an idea of the many career paths they can take by studying Fitness and Health Promotion at Niagara College.
It’s the kind of recruiting tool Larmand wishes existed when he was considering what to study after graduating high school.
“They get to hear from students themselves,” Larmand said. “Usually when you apply to something, you hear about it from a teacher or a book. But this is students telling them about it so we can connect with them better. I find it really cool.”
The fair is about more than recruiting future students, however. It’s also a teaching tool for the College’s current cohort of 37 aspiring health and fitness professionals, explained instructors Jodi Steele and Carrie Schachtschneider.
The Fitness and Wellness Fair is the joint effort of Steele’s Marketing and Entrepreneurship course and Schachtschneider’s Health Promotion class.
Fairs are a significant part of the health and fitness industry, so Steele is using this one to teach event organization and planning. Students work in groups responsible for a different facet of the event, including putting together and mailing kinesio tape kits and exercise bands in advance of the fair.
Schachtschneider will evaluate the students on their presentations focusing on a fitness and wellness topic.
“It’s not just about recruiting for the program but gaining insight into the pathway of who a fitness and health professional is and the careers in the industry,” Steele said.
Added Schachtschneider, “I think it’s been eye-opening for them to see the other piece in our courses that can be highly involved in some of the jobs they’ll be performing in their careers.”
It’s having learning opportunities like this that compelled Farrantina Gatta to enrol in Fitness and Health promotion to become a certified personal trainer. Gatta is part of a group presenting about posture and screen time during the Fitness and Wellness Fair.
Gatta, who was a varsity wrestler at Brock University before switching to Niagara, could have done an online program to become a certified personal trainer. But she chose the College for the chance to work one-on-one with clients and gain hands-on experience throughout the program — something she hopes to convey to future students.
“I hope they learn from everything we’re working so hard to show them but also all the things they could do if they enrolled in this program.” Gatta said. “They would be running this event next year and that could be eye-opening for them, too. If fitness and health is their passion, this program is great for them.”
Niagara College’s Fitness and Health Promotion Program is a two-year program provides a combination of classroom, hands-on and placement experiences. These allow students the opportunity to develop skills to counsel, motivate and educate others on various components of a healthy lifestyle, preparing them for industry certifications required to assess, prescribe and evaluate exercise programs for individuals and groups.
Photo: Fitness and Health Promotion student Kennan Larmand leads a virtual tour for prospective students through the dedicated program spaces at Niagara College. Larmand and his classmates have put together a virtual Fitness and Wellness Fair meant to help with recruitment to the program while teaching current students how to organize a major industry event.