This summer, ACRA offered one summer camp. The Growing Wild Summer Camp was offered the last week of July. Twenty-one children between the ages of 8-12 attended. They built birdhouses, learned about horses and other livestock, discovered how to cast a fishing line, and enjoyed many crafts and gym games.
Under Michael Briones careful management, Thursday-night basketball continues to be one of ACRA’s most popular programs. The class maximum is twenty, and the program has been full every week that it has been offered. Often, weekly registration fills within a couple days and carries a short waitlist. Nine sessions were offered in the Winter Basketball season and the final day of the program was April 6th.
This was the second year since the pandemic that ACRA has organized the concession for the Oceanside Idler’s “Blast from the Past” Car Show. While last year’s fundraising profits were fairly minimal, this year, event attendance was much higher, and the concession was very well utilized, resulting in a very positive fundraiser for ACRA. Volunteers from ACRA’s board and programs came to serve pancakes, hot dogs, and hamburgers for breakfast and lunch.
The 110thannual Coombs Fair was held August 12th and 13th at the Coombs Fairgrounds. This year’s theme animal was the pig, and many of the activities and décor were focused around this animal. The Fair had a comprehensive range of livestock, homesteading, gardening, and craft displays.
For two action-packed days, ACRA oversaw the Kidz Zone. Working with two summer students and a small crew of volunteers, the recreation coordinators managed three bouncy castles, offered three simple crafts, hosted an educational scavenger hunt, and facilitated a fishing game and bean bag toss. ACRA received some much-needed fundraising income for its efforts to support the Fair.
Errington Hall’s “Hi Neighbour” Day event grew to encompass two days this year, making it a small festival. On August 18th Recreation Coordinator Tracy Cargo-White assisted with field games and children’s activities on the field. The following morning, Recreation Coordinator Kristine Stephenson and Summer Student Skye Gross helped facilitate a very busy zucchini race station.
The first expedition of the season is always held at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. Twenty-three women enjoyed walking through the woods next to beautiful vistas of the ocean. The weather was sunny and warm, much to the delight of the group. Weekly walks will continue until mid-December when a small pause is taken for the holidays.
This season is the first that long-time leader Kim Longmuir will not be acting as an official leader, although she will still be joining us as often as she can as a participant.
This fall, a group of eight drum enthusiasts signed up for Beginner African Hand Drumming. Compared to last spring’s class of fifteen, this group is smaller. Many of the drummers who signed up this fall are folks who participated in the spring session. This class is open to complete beginners, but also builds upon the material covered in the spring session.
Ever popular, this class continues to have strong numbers with seventeen people registering in Intermediate African Hand Drumming and seven signed up for Intermediate Dun Drumming. This group has been playing together for so many years, the class feels like a gathering of good friends. This fall, we welcomed one new drummer to the group.
CARDIO + STRENGTH
This fall, Shanan has joined the team as an instructor focused on fitness classes for those who are 50+. The Cardio + Strength class is offered on Tuesday mornings and focuses on building muscle, improving balance, and gentle stretches. Shanan believes that fitness should be welcoming to everyone, so she includes a variety of options to suit participants of all levels.
Thursday mornings at the Bradley Centre are for dancing. This new program, taught by Shana, is intended for people 50 and up. This fun, follow-along fitness class gets participants moving to the beat. The music is a blend of popular tunes through the decades, and encourages participants to get their heartrates up and the bodies moving in a fun, supportive environment. As word has spread, the class has been growing steadily.
Thursday mornings at the Bradley Centre are for dancing. This new program, taught by Shana, is intended for people 50 and up. This fun, follow-along fitness class gets participants moving to the beat. The music is a blend of popular tunes through the decades, and encourages paricipants to get their heartrates up and the bodies moving in a fun, supportive environment. As word has spread, the class has been growing steadily.
For the first time since 2019, Beginner Ballroom Dance has returned to the Bradley Centre. Once again, Andy and Maureen Mundy of Corta Jaca Dance will be teaching an introduction to Jive, Rumba, and Social Foxtrot. Some of the students who have signed up had participated in the 2019 class and were pleased to see this program start up again. The class is open to complete beginners. While Andy does cover elements of technique, he focuses primarily on helping folks gain confidence on the dance floor.
The four members of the Beyond Beginner Marimba class continue to share a deep love for music. In addition to their usual bi-weekly rehearsals, they will also be doing monthly workshops with Instructor Caitlin Shoring. Caitlin was on maternity leave for the past year, and the group is delighted to have her return.
ACRA’s AGM was held on September 17th. This is later in the year than usual, but the meeting was postponed due to illness. The Board has expressed total confidence in the work the team has done over the year, and all seven board members will continue to stay in their current positions for the 2023/2024 year.
This summer, ACRA had its first summer student. Long-time volunteer, Skye Gross was hired on a part-time basis to provide assistance at children’s camps, summer events, and running simple errands, such as hanging up posters. She has been a great addition to the team during a busy summer.
The recreation coordinators attended many community meetings including:
The recreation coordinators and Chair Janet Boley also received a tour of the new Meadowood Community Centre on September 19th. The tour helped the team better understand what activities would be suitable for the space, and the team is actively brainstorming and connecting with prospective instructors who would be a good fit.
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.
Unlike the rest of this year, this fall registration numbers have been lower. In order to see healthy registration numbers, the recreation team has had to put in extra hours to run additional ads, create email marketing campaigns, and hang extra posters.
ACRA manages a community lending cupboard where other non-profit organizations and hobbyist groups can borrow equipment on a by-donation basis.
Allison Shaw continues to use the ukuleles and a band-in-a-box for the children’s music programs at Errington War Memorial Hall.
The Arrowsmith Agricultural Association borrowed ACRA’s traffic directing equipment and tents for Coombs Fair on August 12th and 13th.
The Errington Hall used ACRA’s traffic directing equipment, art supplies, and outdoor games equipment at “Hi Neighbour” Day on August 18th and 19th.
Close to twenty years ago, ACRA helped install three highway signs that say “Welcome to Arrowsmith” in three key locations. In mid-July, the recreation coordinators spent an afternoon repainting the legs of the Bellevue sign and reattaching vinyl letters that had peeled up. All of the signs need minor cosmetic maintenance, and that work is ongoing.
ACRA applied for three RDN Recreation Grants at the end of September to support the Coombs Community Picnic, Gym Play Programs, and Youth Week festivities.
ACRA also supported the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association in applying for funding for a new workshop series that would help children develop skills such photography, cake decorating, spinning, and gardening.
A letter of support for Errington Hall was also written regarding their request for funding to the New Horizons Grant for Seniors to support a new senior marimba program and their ongoing music bus for seniors.