Pitkis - the joy of exercise

Text: Essi Keskitalo Photos: Pitkis-Sport

The amount of exercise children and teens engage in creates extensive discussion. People are worried about time spent in front of computers and televisions and scared of becoming passive. Do children get enough exercise?

Lounais-Suomen Liikunta ja Urheilu ry, or LiikU, works to promote exercise in the Satakunta and Varsinais-Suomi regions. Organised by LiikU in the summer, the Pitkis-Sport camp allows participants to experiment with a diverse range of sports from horseback riding to cheerleading and ball games. Versatility is the ace up Pitkis-Sport's sleeve,

In addition to the camp, the Pitkis family of exercise includes several events throughout the year. Mini Pitkis on winter and fall break, Pitkis Sport Clubs and Pitkis Single Sport Schools in the summer, as well as various tours, family exercise and adventure days by order make people of all ages move.
- The purpose is to familiarise children and the youth with various types of sports and inspire them to move, says Jurkka Virtala, Camp Activity Leader at LiikU.

Liikunnan ilo © Pitkis-Sport

Making exercise a habit for the whole family

Safety, renewability and ethics are keywords at Pitkis-Sport. The camp has offered the joy of exercise to children and the youth since 1963. Activities are constantly developed, keeping traditions in mind. 
- In particular, we want to encourage parents to join us in exercise. The energy is contagious so children will become inspired and exercise becomes a way of life for the whole family.

For many children, participation in a camp takes them away from home for several days for the first time. The feeling of responsibility improves when you have to do your own dishes and your parents are not there to help. 
- We have adopted the role of an educator, supporting families and schools, Jurkka explains. Following the rules and taking others into consideration are skills that improve at the camp.

Over 200 volunteers

Approximately 15,000 children, youth and adults participate in Pitkis events every year. Participants arrive from outside of Satakunta as well. Due to their popularity, some Pitkis-Sport events are sold out within minutes of when registration starts.

All this is possible thanks to the over 200 volunteers. The so-called Pitkis spirit makes employees return to the camp year after year. 
- Children's joy of exercise combined with the traditional camp life is a wonderful experience, Jurkka summarises. 
- The most important thing is to have fun and learn new things with exercise as the medium.