With the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association providing comprehensive “re-start” guidelines in the late spring, the door was opened to begin planning recreation programs. ACRA felt confident that with strict Covid-19 protocols and a detailed Safety Plan in place, some limited programming could begin. Many extra hours were devoted to planning and hosting programs. The participants have been extremely happy to be connected and active again and are appreciative of knowing that their safety is a priority for ACRA.
The fourth annual Growing Wild Camp, for children ages 8-13, was held July 20th-24th, at the Coombs Fairgrounds. Arrowsmith Recreation Coordinator, Kristine Stephenson, and Oceanside Elementary School teacher, Josh Siemens, facilitated the camp. Covid-19 protocols contributed to some significant changes in the camp. Participation numbers were limited to ten children. The camp was offered as a half-day, morning camp, rather than a full day, and no guests or animals could be invited to visit. The children still had a wonderful time, enjoying a science-themed camp, filled with creative socially distanced games, crafts and experiments. Some highlights for the campers were making and flying kites, doing an egg drop and setting off paper rockets.
The Arrowsmith Community Recreation Association held its Annual General Meeting at Grace United Church on July 29th. All seven of the 2020 ACRA Board members volunteered to continue on the Board going into 2021. Janet Boley will continue as the ACRA Chair; Donna Furneaux, treasurer; and Barb McLaughlin, secretary. Janet Boley and the Board expressed their appreciation and respect for the work that the Arrowsmith Recreation Team delivers to the community.
The 107th Coombs Fair will go down in history as being the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association’s first virtual fair. In addition to online activities, the AAA also organized a drive through Fair on August 9th. ACRA was invited to participate in both activities. The Recreation Team planned, acted in and filmed a science egg experiment. Kristine played the Farmer, Kim took on the role of Hennie the Chicken, and Randy filmed and directed. It was not something that the team ever imagined in their job portfolio, but it made for a very enjoyable experience and was well received online. For the drive through Fair day, ACRA was asked to set up a static display, due to the limited number of fifty people being allowed on the property. Although the AAA lost significant revenue, due to the Fair being their biggest fundraiser of the year, they were proud to be able to keep the Fair alive.
The video can be viewed on the Coombs Fair Facebook page: facebook.com/CoombsFair/videos/1256359684723498/
With the majority of the participants in the African Hand Drumming programs being in the vulnerable age group for Covid-19, an interest list was compiled to be sure participants would be comfortable to register. Many people were very excited to be able to return to drumming. The programs quickly filled to the maximum of ten participants, and with everyone socially distanced, facilitator Monica Hofer is once again filling the Errington Hall with the rhythm of the drums.
Initially, ACRA was not sure how the drop-in Sole Sisters program would be offered, due to the large numbers of participants this program has attracted in the past. In the end, ACRA decided that the only way to keep the program safe was to require participants to register online each week, limit the numbers to twenty (not including the walk leaders) and ask the participants to walk in socially distanced groups of two or three. Locations for the fall season were chosen for their large parking areas and wide trails. The first walk on September 30th, held at Rathtrevor Park, welcomed seventeen Sole Sisters and six leaders. Everyone was very careful about social distancing and was happy to be together again. The social coffee time that so many of the Sole Sisters enjoyed after the walk is on pause for now.
Some of the annual summer programs that ACRA helped to organize and host were cancelled, due to the pandemic. The popular Errington Hall’s Youth World Music Camp was cancelled because the facilitators travel from all over the world to teach. Errington’s Hi Neighbour Day was cancelled, due to the large numbers that attend. ACRA’s popular drop-in youth basketball programs were cancelled for the fall season, but will be offered
in January as skill based programs using viaSport guidelines. The Food Skills for Families program, Dads’ Night Out, ACE Club, and the marimba programs are also on hold until ACRA and their program partners are confident they can be offered safely.
The ACRA Recreation Coordinators continue to participate in the Building Learning Together meetings, ACRA Board meetings, and planning meetings online or by telephone.
The Recreation Coordinators are responsible for maintaining the ACRA website and Facebook page and managing promotion and registration for programs. They receive and reply to phone calls and emails regularly and continue to manage all of the registration, notices and cancellations for programs independently.
ACRA continues to lend equipment and instruments to non-profit groups in Arrowsmith. During the summer months, traffic equipment and safety signs were shared with the AAA for the drive through Coombs Fair and sports equipment was loaned out to the Heartland Home Learners.
ACRA supported the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association by writing and submitting an RDN Community Recreation Grant, on their behalf, for the 2021 Coombs BC Family Day event as well as submitting ACRA grants for Youth Basketball and the Coombs Candy Walk. The Basketball and Coombs Candy Walk grants were withdrawn upon cancellation of both of these programs.