Youth Basketball 16+
Throughout the fall and winter, instructor Michael Briones facilitates basketball for ages 16+ every Thursday night at the Coombs Fairgrounds. Traditionally, this program would conclude in March. However, due to popular demand, it was extended by eight weeks. The players were grateful for the extra opportunities to play, and most sessions were full with twenty players.
Youth Basketball 11 - 15
Tuesday-night basketball for ages 11-15 was extended by six weeks into the spring. Tuesday-night basketball wrapped up slightly earlier than the older group to accommodate the instructor’s schedule. A small, but committed group of five to eight players attended each week. After being on pause for two years due to the pandemic and staffing issues, rebuilding this program to its previous attendance levels has been a gradual process.
3-on-3 Basketball Tournament
In honor of National Youth Week, ACRA hosted a 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament for youth ages 13-18. The tournament welcomed six teams which were divided into two divisions: Junior (ages 13-15) and Senior (ages 16-18). There were three teams in each category, and in total, twenty-one youth and twenty spectators attended the event. Historically, more teams have signed up, but the smaller group size allowed for a Round Robin-style of play, which meant that every team had two opportunities to play. Youth and parents commented on how much they enjoyed the extra time on the court. Community sponsors such as Canadian Tire, Natural Glacier Waters, RDN, Coombs Old Country Market, and Landmark Cinemas were very keen to support this event through in-kind donations which meant that every player who attended was able to enjoy free food and a prize.
On Monday, April 4th ACRA’s new Gym Play program launched. Instructor Jessica Burke and student leader Caelyn Corcione, both have a background in gymnastics. The Preschool Play class (intended for ages 3- 5) reached full registration and had twelve children. The Child’s Play class (intended for ages 6-10) consisted of nine children. The six-week class provided the children with the opportunity to explore new movements, games, sports, and activities.
The “Pete the Cat” First Steps to School Fair returned to Oceanside Place on April 21st . Unlike previous years, the event was divided into two preregistered sections, with 100 children in each portion. The first section was almost full, while the second section offered a quieter experience. OBLT calculates that 124 children attended the event. The recreation coordinators shared a booth with the RDN Recreation Team. The booth featured button making and bean bag toss. This event provides an opportunity for ACRA to connect with young children and raise awareness about affordable recreation opportunities in Area F.
ACRA’s usual marimba instructor, Caitlin Shoring, is on parental leave, so the four women who comprise the Beyond Beginner Adult Marimba group have been holding informal rehearsal sessions every two weeks. They devote the time to practicing familiar favorites and polishing their repertoire of tunes. The plan was to pause rehearsals over the summer, but the ladies were so delighted with their sessions, they decided to extend their Thursday gatherings into July and August.
Meeting every Wednesday in the sun, rain, and snow, there’s no doubt that this group is dedicated to their weekly walks. Sole Sisters continues to be preregistered on a weekly basis, and most weeks the program has been full. Thirteen sessions were offered between September and December, and twelve trails throughout Oceanside were visited.
The final walk of the season was held on December 15th. The ladies walked the French Creek Trail in Coombs and then met back at BoMé Cheese for a last day celebration. Cake and a warm beverage were available for a suggested donation of $7. The ladies love how this program provides an opportunity to explore new places and foster friendships. The recreation coordinators are grateful for the seven volunteer walk leaders who guide the group each week.
Job interviews were held on May 16th at the Grace United Church, and on the first day of June, Keenan Bevan joined the team as a recreation coordinator. Keenan was hired to fill in for Recreation Coordinator Tracy Cargo-White who welcomed her third child in early July and will be on leave until June 2023. Keenan has worked in recreation in the Oceanside area for close to a decade and brings lots of knowledge and enthusiasm to his new role.
On May 13th, ACEbc hosted a very informative workshop with Katy Bigsby over Zoom. Recreation Coordinator Kristine Stephenson attended to learn more about REIL Engagement Model. The model aims to increase engagement in the classroom by encouraging leaders to build rapport with children and involve children in decision making. Although the presentation was primarily intended for school teachers, Kristine found that many of the concepts were also applicable to children’s camps and recurring weekly programs.
On Thursday, June 9th, 2022 the first Coombs Community Picnic since the start of the pandemic was held from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Coombs Fairgrounds. A hard-working staff of volunteers served free hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice cream provided by the Coombs Old Country Market. Exhibitors included local singer/guitarist Bev Finch, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue, Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department, and Vancouver Island Regional Library. This year’s guest of honor was 92-year-old Doris Stephens, a longtime supporter of the community. Unfortunately, the day of the event coincided with an atmospheric river, and the weather had a strong impact on event’s attendance. Despite the rain, approximately 200 people attended. The leftover food was donated to Ballenas Secondary School.
On June 28th, ACRA partnered with local yoga instructor Jessica Burke to offer a ninety minute evening of restorative yoga, meditation, and dance for women 40+. At the conclusion of the exercise portion, tea and cookies were served. The program was held at the Coombs Fairgrounds. Unfortunately, although ten registered, only six attended.
The Sole Sisters enjoyed their final walk of the season on June 29th at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park. The last walk was followed by a picnic social under the gazebo.
This incredible group of women has gone on a total of thirty-six walks over the course of the walking season, which extends from September to June. This program has many members who have been walking with the group for several years, and the group continued to grow throughout the year, with a few new members signing up every month. On average, there has been about thirty women at each walk in the spring.
On June 22nd, Recreation Coordinators Kristine Stephenson and Keenan Bevan attended the Seniors Recreation Round Table at the Bradley Centre. The event provided an opportunity for organizations that support seniors to network and connect over common challenges and interests, such as Active Aging Week. Approximately fifteen different organizations were represented, and it was exciting to see how many opportunities for seniors there are in the Oceanside area. There are plans to have future meetings focused on specific topics such as volunteerism, grant writing, and marketing.
In partnership with Parksville Librarian Susan Pierce, the recreation coordinators filmed a number of story times, sing-a-longs, craft tutorials, and educational videos. The videos were organized into four sets which were released throughout the spring.
Videos released between April and June include:
Poetry Month: April 2022
o Poetry Month Story Time
o Felt Bird Tutorial
o Birdcage Sculpture Tutorial
o Hanging Bird Feeders
o Poetry Fridge Magnets
o KnowBC Tutorial
o Black Out Poetry
Gardening Series: May 2022
o Butterfly & Garden Story Time
o Butterfly Windsock Tutorial
o How to Use PebbleGo: Plants Edition
o How to Make Seed Tape o Seed Bomb Tutorial
Unicorns & Bubbles: June 2022
o Unicorn & Bubble Story Time
o Bubble Wand Tutorial
o Riding Unicorn Tutorial
o Rainbow Book Tutorial
Summer Reading: June 2022
o Summer Reading Kids
o VIRLmanji Teen Reading Challenge
o Adult Summer Reading Challenge
When this project began, the videos were primarily intended for children. Throughout the spring, the goal has been to expand the audience to teens and adults by providing craft tutorials and educational videos for those age groups. Across the board, viewership has grown steadily, and at the time of writing, each video has between 80 and 120 views. The intention for these videos is to provide a free recreation resource for those who may not have reliable access to transportation or who struggle to fit structured programs into their schedule. The majority of the crafts and activities in these videos can be completed with household items at the viewer’s convenience.
The recreation coordinators attended many community meetings including:
The recreation coordinators are responsible for maintaining the ACRA website and events calendar, Facebook page, and Instagram account as well as promotion for programs. The recreation coordinators receive and reply to phone calls and emails regularly and manage all of the registration for programs independently.
ACRA manages a community lending cupboard where other non-profit organizations and hobbyist groups can borrow equipment on a by-donation basis. In the last week of March, the Heartwood Home Learners borrowed a number of marimbas. The homeschoolers had a delightful time incorporating the uplifting sounds of the marimba into their education throughout the spring.
No grants were applied for in this period. .