Tuesday, November 29, 2022

CNA employee brings popular new sport to Wellness Wednesdays

a group of CNA employees play disc golf in Stephenville, NL

When CNA’s new Public Relations (Social Media) Specialist, Chad Harnett, was told about Wellness Wednesdays during his employee orientation, he knew exactly how he was going to spend his time: playing disc golf!

Disc golf, one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, is a game much like regular golf. Players throw discs (or “frisbees”) at a target that resembles a large basket with hanging chains. The goal of the game is to get the disc into the basket with the least amount of throws possible. Just like regular golf, disc golf courses typically have nine or 18 “holes”.

“I started playing disc golf during the pandemic in the middle of winter. It was a way for me to get out of the house, socialize in a safe manner, and get some fresh air and exercise, “says Harnett. “I was immediately hooked.”

There are currently two disc golf courses in Stephenville. Blanche Brook Disc Golf Course is in Blanche Brook Park, a former residential area that was flooded and subsequently turned into a public green space. The other, Stephenville Disc Golf Course (AKA “The Jet”), is conveniently located behind the college’s DSB Fowlow Building. Both courses are free to play.

“I love that there’s a course just a minute’s walk from our offices,” says Harnett, who is also a director of the Bay St. George Disc Golf Association (BSGDGA). “I can quickly pop over to the course for Wellness Wednesdays and easily fit a round in before lunch.

“Having that hour in the middle of the week to get out and be active, get some sunshine and fresh air, it really increases my productivity. It’s the perfect little energy boost, mid-week,” he adds.

Harnett says he also hopes that Stephenville Disc Golf Course will be a great asset for new and returning students at CNA, given that the course can be seen from the windows of rooms in residence at Bay St. George campus.

And Harnett isn’t the only one from CNA who was taken to the sport. Employee Greg Hovey has also been using his wellness time to throw a few discs.

“I just started playing, but I’m already really enjoying it,” says Hovey, Manager of Institutional Research.. “It’s fun, it’s easy to get into, and it’s good exercise. I’ve even gotten my kids into it!”

One of the main philosophies of disc golf is to create courses that are environmentally friendly and have minimal impact on the land. Another is for the sport to be accessible to all genders, ages, and ability levels.

The two courses in Stephenville have either slotted into existing green spaces or revived older spaces that were unable to be used for development.

BSGDGA’s first official disc golf meet was held May 21, 2022 at Stephenville Disc Golf Course. It was fully inclusive and featured over 30 players of all genders, ages, and skill levels, including people with disabilities.

Harnett encourages any interested CNA employees to join the Wellness Wednesday group. They meet on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Stephenville Disc Golf Course.

“Definitely! Anyone who wants to come out and learn to play, just drop me a line through our internal communications. Everybody is welcome in disc golf, no matter who you are or what your ability level is.”

And for those who fear they don’t have the proper equipment to play, Harnett says players in their Wellness Wednesdays group have extra discs to lend for those wanting to learn. Alternatively, people can borrow discs from the Recreation & Wellness Division of the Town of Stephenville by contacting recreation@stephenville.ca.

Greg Hovey, Manager of Institutional Research at College of the North Atlantic playing disc golf at the course in Stephenville, NL.
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne recently moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.

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