Every Monday morning and Thursday evening, the Errington War Memorial Hall is vibrating with high-energy dance music and instructor, Jen deHaan’s enthusiasm. With the new option of a punch pass, participation fluctuates between eight and twenty people each class. Everyone who attends Jen’s classes leaves feeling like they have had a great workout and a lot of fun. Jen will continue to offer her classes at the Errington Hall, in the Fall. Spring finds her managing her gardening and online vegan food business.
Every Tuesday throughout October-March, different community organizations take turns hosting a Dads’ Night Out evening. ACRA is pleased to partner with Building Learning Together and Errington School to offer an unstructured gym playtime, from 6:30-7:30pm. Dads and Grandfathers, along with their preschool-aged children are invited to play with balls, mats and scooters. ACRA organized two free evenings of gym play for Dads, Grandpas and their young children, on January 29th and February 12th. After a surprisingly low turn out for the fall sessions, 22 participants arrived to the January program. Unfortunately, the February 12th evening had to be cancelled, due to the icy road conditions. ACRA has participated in the Dads’ Night Out program for eight years and is looking forward to continuing to support this program again in the Fall.
A new session of ACE Club was held at Errington School, Mondays, 2:00-4:00pm, January 21st-March 11th. Recreation Coordinator, Kristine Stephenson, planned an exciting seven-week program for the 14 children who were selected by the school staff. The children enjoyed playing cooperative games, making cheese, learning to play a ukulele and making suet birdfeeders. A highlight each week is working in the kitchen with volunteer chef, Helen Hiltout, preparing a healthy meal for everyone to enjoy. ACRA continues to be very proud to coordinate this valuable program at Errington School. This program would not be possible without the financial support from the United Way, partnerships with Building Learning Together, the Oceanside RCMP, SD#69 and the many dedicated volunteers.
ACRA coordinator, Kristine Stephenson volunteered with Building Learning Together’s Breakfast for Munchkinland, Saturday morning, January 26th. This very valuable free program provides children ages 0-6, and their caregivers, the opportunity to play together in an interactive setting, enjoy a healthy breakfast and spend time with positive adult role models. Kristine enjoyed meeting some families from Arrowsmith, who visit Munchkinland regularly.
The winter basketball program, in the 6000-square-foot gym at the Coombs Fairgrounds, continues to be vibrant, with weekly attendance of 10-30 energetic players. The Tuesday night, 6:30-8:00pm drop-in program welcomes youth ages 11–15 and Thursday nights, 7:00-9:00pm, youth 16 and older are hitting the hoops. ACRA Board member, Michael Briones and community volunteer, Johnny Mendoza, continue to dedicate their time to providing a safe and respectful atmosphere. The play is high paced, but the competition is friendly. ACRA is looking forward to hosting the very successful Youth Week 3on3 Basketball Tournament at the Coombs Fairgrounds, on Tuesday, May 7th.
Unfortunately, after intensive planning, the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association had to make the very difficult decision to cancel the 2019 Family Day event, due to unsafe icy parking and walking conditions at the Coombs Fairgrounds and the surrounding area. Participant and volunteer safety was understandably their first consideration. The “Year of the Horse” Family Day event was shaping up to be the best ever held, with many new exhibitors and activities. The AAA and ACRA are not discouraged and will plan for an exciting event in 2020!
ACRA has partnered with the Parent Support Services Society of BC to offer a weekly, Tuesday evening parent support circle group at Grace United Church. Parenting is often a challenging job and the purpose of this program is to bring parents together in a safe, supportive place to share ideas and information with others who are parenting. The group is led by two trained volunteer facilitators and subsidized with support through The Province of British Columbia and Grace United Church. The circle was started in February, and although the numbers are small now, the goal is to continue to welcome parents on an ongoing basis until the end of June and then restart the group in September.
Uplifting marimba music is being played in the Bradley Centre every Wednesday afternoon. The Beyond Beginner class plays 1:30-3:00pm and the Beginner class 3:15-4:15pm. Instructor, Caitlin Duggan, makes everyone feel like a professional by the time the program is finished. The Beyond Beginner class is going to continue to perfect their repertoire by continuing on with a Spring session. Their goal is to perform at The Gardens Seniors’ Care Facility at the end of May.
Instructor, Monica Hofer, continues to share her passion and expertise for drumming, with a dedicated following of drummers from the community. The groups meet on Mondays at the Errington War Memorial Hall. Many of the participants who have taken the Beginner class a number of times feel very proud when they can move into the Beyond Beginner class. Monica will continue to offer the Beyond Beginner class and Introduction to Dun Drumming in the Spring, as well as her brand new Introduction to Buckets Drumming. The Buckets class will appeal to a cross section of ages because of the vibrancy of the music and simplicity of only needing a plastic bucket. Monica will supply the drumsticks.
Although the snow and icy trail conditions were a bit of a challenge in February, with two weeks of walks being cancelled, the Sole Sisters continue to meet every Wednesday morning, from 10:00-11:30pm. The walks had originally been 60 minutes in length, but as the group is getting stronger and more adventuresome, some walks have been extended to 90 minutes. This is also a group that loves to stop and take photos of the breathtaking scenery! Participation numbers have been 20-40 people each week.
The Food Skills for Families program, “Food Sense-Healthy Cooking on a Budget” was held for six weeks, February to April, in the certified kitchen in the Arrowsmith Hall, on the Coombs Fairgrounds. The program was full, with the maximum number of 12 participants. Instructor, Miranda Cockayne continues to share her nutrition expertise with her kind and caring manner of facilitation. The participants all start as strangers and leave as friends. The program has been made possible with generous support from Diabetes Canada, which manages the program for the Provincial Health Services Authority, the Regional District of Nanaimo Community Recreation Grant and the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association. In early March the Food Skills for Families program and staff was transitioned from Diabetes Canada to the BC Centre for Disease Control. ACRA was recently informed that the Arrowsmith program would continue to be supported, because it is one of their most successful programs.
In partnership, with the new owners of the KickStart Fitness and Wellness Centre, ACRA organized an eight-week fitness program, Tuesdays, March 26th-May 14th, suitable for people who are new to a gym setting, recovering from an injury or health issues, or just wanting to get back into a healthy life style. Certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, Pam Hadikan guides the 16 participants through some cardio, strength and flexibility exercises all at each person’s own pace and fitness level. The program has only just begun and the participants are already taking about a fall program.
ACRA Recreation Coordinators attended many community meetings, including ACE Club planning, Family Day planning, Play Oceanside, as well as meeting with facilitators and community members. The Recreation Coordinators also attend the monthly Building Learning Together and YouthLINK meetings.
The Recreation Coordinators are responsible for maintaining the ACRA website and Facebook page as well as promotion and registration for programs. They receive and reply to phone calls and emails regularly and manage all of the registration for programs independently.
ACRA continues to lend equipment and instruments to not-for-profit groups in Arrowsmith. At this time, marimbas are being borrowed by the youth marimba groups, Zazu and Jangano. Additionally, ukuleles are being borrowed by ACE Club, for instruction by Juno nominated local musician, Gerry Barnum. Traffic safety equipment, sandwich boards and canopies were borrowed by the Coombs Fairground, Silver Spur Riding Club and Coombs Farmers Institute for community events.
ACRA assisted Errington School with their Youth Recreation grant for their Recess Leadership program, as well as assisted the Parent Support Services Society of BC with the Parent Support Circle Community Recreation Grant. Letters of support were written for the Errington Hall’s summer Youth World Music Camp and ACRA applied for an RDN Community Recreation grant to support the Coombs Community Picnic.