It’s amazing what optimism and community spirit can accomplish. Working with AAA and the Family Day Planning Committee, ACRA helped to organize its first ever online Family Day event. In total, eighteen local non-profits, community organizations, and hobbyist groups participated. There was no shortage of creativity in the exhibits. Scavenger hunts, activity booklets, and educational videos were all available. True to the spirit of the event, there was something for “kids of all ages.” One unexpected perk of this model was that families were able to enjoy the activities in the Facebook event for weeks afterwards, including the time over Spring Break.
Since inheriting this program from the RDN in January, ACRA has offered after school care on Mondays and Thursdays to students at EES. Families sign up in two-week increments, and the children get the chance to participate in gym games, free play, crafts, and outdoor activities. The program started small with only a few children signed up, but the superb work done by facilitator Tammi Gentry has caused the program to grow to a full class of ten. Tammi’s schedule will not allow her to facilitate the April dates, but Recreation Coordinators Tracy Cargo-White and Kristine Stephenson are looking forward to facilitating the last few sessions. It is anticipated that Oceanside Building
Learning Together will be opening their new on-site daycare near the end of April, which means ACRA will stop offering this program. ACRA has been happy to support and connect with EES families in the interim.
This group of women sure does love to walk! Rain or shine, the members of this group meet every Wednesday. Aside from one snow day cancellation, the program has been able to run consistently since it restarted on January 13th. The ladies have visited Little Qualicum Fish Hatchery, Nile Creek, Lighthouse Regional Trail, and Craig Bay to name a few highlights. Sole Sisters has been ACRA’s most popular program through the winter, welcoming anywhere from fourteen to twenty-three people each walk. Many of the participants have mentioned how grateful they are that programs like this are running so they can safely socialize and connect with people their own age on a weekly basis.
Because of the new province-wide restrictions that limit adult outdoor fitness programs to ten people, in spring the Sole Sisters will divide into two groups of ten, with one departing at 10:00am and the other departing at 10:30am.
With facilitators Jessica and Aaron Burke at the helm, ACRA launched its new youth basketball program on March 8th. The free program, intended for youth ages eleven to sixteen, runs every Monday evening and focuses on a variety of skill-building drills. The recreation coordinators were tremendously impressed by the sheer range of activities and drills the facilitators came up with. After stretching to warm up, the group dives into a variety of socially distanced dribbling drills, throwing and catching exercises, and hoop shooting activities. This preregistered program has had anywhere from nine to eleven youth in attendance depending on the evening.
The recreation coordinators were invited to participate in the “First 2000 Days Reflecting Back & Looking Forward” online forum held over Zoom on February 18th. The event was a continuation of an online forum that occurred in November, 2020. Joanne Schroeder gave an excellent presentation on Compassionate Systems Leadership and Trauma Informed Practice. The recreation coordinators enjoyed the discussion in the break out rooms and are looking for opportunities to implement what they learned at this important meeting of the minds.
It was hoped that Spring Break 2021 would see the debut of a new music camp focused on African hand drumming and marimba. The week-long program would have been for ages eight to twelve and would have been held at the Errington War Memorial Hall. However, in February, the decision was made to cancel the camp. In the end, the facilitators decided they weren’t comfortable to instruct at this time. The recreation coordinators are optimistic about offering the camp during Spring Break 2022.
ACRA recreation coordinators attended many community meetings, including Family Day planning, ACRA Board Meetings, 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. Recent additions to ACRA’s website include a “Program Proposal” page where facilitators can propose new programs through an online form. Recreation Coordinator Tracy Cargo-White also created an Instagram account for ACRA.
The recreation coordinators receive and reply to phone calls and emails regularly and manage all of the registration for programs independently. The recreation coordinators also regularly check for updates to BC’s Covid-19 Health and Safety Guidelines so that they can adapt programs as needed.
ACRA continues to lend equipment and instruments to not-for-profit groups. Over the last few months, Heartwood Home Leaners has been accessing ACRA’s sports equipment at the Coombs Fairgrounds for their afternoons of physical play at the gym. In spring, a group of home schoolers in Qualicum Bay will be borrowing the marimbas. Recreation Coordinator Kristine Stephenson has been focused on ensuring that all of the instruments are in excellent shape and was also able to recommend a local youth to instruct the program.
No grants were applied for during January-March, 2021.