By Alicia Gosselin

Fitness and health promotion students will have the opportunity to earn continuing education credits towards YMCA-YWCA certifications if they attend a fitness conference on March 29 at the Ottawa Convention Centre.

Connexion 2014 is an annual conference hosted by the Y Fitness Education Centre and is meant to educate and encourage growth within the fitness and health industry.

Along with being a lot of fun and a great educational experience, it’s a great networking opportunity, as well,” said Jane Fitzpatrick, co-ordinator of the Y Fitness Education Centre. “That type of opportunity is invaluable.”

Twenty fitness experts from all over North America will present educational lectures and lead interactive workshops based on specialized fitness and health areas – including yoga, aqua fitness, triathlon training, cycling and nutrition.

Students who attend will earn six CECs towards the YMCA-YWCA certification, which can be helpful when looking for jobs in the fitness industry. Any student with an interest in fitness can earn credits. In order to earn complete certification, 10 credits must be earned within two years. Certification credits for Can-Fit Pro and Canadian Aquafitness Leaders Alliance Inc. can also be merited by attending the conference.

Wayne Boucher, fitness and wellness program co-ordinator, said he recognizes Connexion conferences as a way to be introduced to specialty areas of fitness, as well as to keep up with the latest fitness trends and research.

Connexion conferences are great,” said Boucher. “The more you learn, the more you earn.”

The purpose of the event is to train, connect and encourage fitness-minded students and professionals.

Ichih Wang, a Lululemon ambassador and an Ottawa-based yoga instructor, is a featured presenter at Connexion who is returning to the event for her second year. She has been teaching yoga full-time for 11 years now and will be leading the “Strengthen Your Core Yoga” workshop.

It is my life purpose to teach, educate, offer (and) give,” she said. “People that attend Connexion are drawn to learning and growing their possibilities to infinity. I am absolutely honoured to be invited back to teach this event with some of the greatest facilitators in our community.”

The Y is also trying to encourage attendance by offering a discount exclusively for Algonquin students.

I get quite a few fitness students from Algonquin calling the Y and inquiring about their next steps,” said Fitzpatrick. “The Y has various connections with the college, but this is all about helping the students propel themselves into a busy industry.”

Registration opened in December of last year, and will continue to remain available until March 26. It includes a selection of three workshop activities or lectures, a lunch and certification credits.