Connecting Community Through Sports, Arts, Culture

Arrowsmith Community Recreation Spring Highlights 2017

April - June 2017


Youth Drop-In Programs

Ten weeks of enthusiastic youth drop-in basketball, volleyball and floor hockey wrapped up in early April. Participation continued to be 10-20 players each week. All of the youth and families were very appreciative of the support from the RDN grant funding for ACRA to be able to offer these valuable programs close to home.

Errington Elementary ACE (Arrowsmith Community Experience) Club

The final session of the ACE Club was held April 24th-June 5th. ACRA Recreation Coordinator, Jessica McLaren, together with Building Learning Together’s Hayley Webster and a group of dedicated volunteers, planned a jam-packed six weeks of special guests, crafts, games and nutritious meals. Fourteen EES children were selected by the school administration and staff to participate. ACE Club continues to provide vulnerable children at EES the opportunity to feel respected, valued and build self-esteem. ACRA is proud to continue its partnership with SD69, Building Learning Together, Island Health and District 69 RCMP to offer the ACE Club program.

Marimba Program

Accomplished Kumbana Marimba player, Caitlin Duggan, taught an intermediate six week marimba program April 5th-May 10th, in the Bradley Centre. Although the class was small, with only five participants, all enjoyed the individual instruction they were given and were able to advance their marimba skills significantly. Caitlin will return to teach more marimba classes in the fall.


Drum Circle

Accomplished drummer and drum maker, Robin Shackleton, continued to offer Monday evening drop-in jamming drum sessions in the Errington Hall for the month of April. Ten to fifteen enthusiastic drummers would join in the rhythms each week. All types of drums were welcome and the group had a belly dancer join in one evening. Robin will be available to start up drum circle in the fall again.

Sole Sisters Walking Program

The Sole Sisters walking program welcomes 15-30 women each week for an hour long walk through many of the beautiful parks and trails in Oceanside, Arrowsmith and beyond. Two of the original Sole Sisters, from the very first Sole Sisters fitness program offered by ACRA, continue to lead the group each week. All paces are welcome and no one is left behind. One highlight of the spring walks was hiking to see Bonnell Falls. This hike was an adventure, with the challenging terrain, but the 18 women who attended all said they would like to do it again. The walking program has ended for the summer and will restart in September.

Sole Sisters Fitness Classes

The Sole Sisters fitness programs are on hiatus at KickStart Fitness. The owner was going through some challenging times and required a minimum number of ten in each class to be able to offer the classes. This requirement was not just for the ACRA classes, but included all the trainers’ programs. Unfortunately for ACRA, almost all of the Sole Sisters opted to buy drop-in passes for the spring, due to busy schedules and the minimum number of ten could not be met, because the registration for the Sole Sisters classes had to be for a ten-week program. ACRA is proud to have encouraged so many older women to join the classes and the gym and continues to have a positive relationship with KickStart Fitness for possible future programs.

Pete the Cat First Steps to School Event

In partnership with SD#69, Building Learning Together, the RDN, SOS, and many other community organizations and agencies, ACRA helped to plan and host the second annual Pete the Cat First Steps to School Event, April 20th in The Pond and foyer of Oceanside Place. Close to 150 upcoming kindergarten students, parents/caregivers and siblings attended. The purpose of the event was to attract children aged three to five and their parents/caregivers to learn about what is offered in the community in terms of resources, and what families can do to help make the transition easier as they get closer to their journey into kindergarten. “Pete the Cat”, from the popular children’s book, was the theme of the event, with Pete the Cat making a return appearance. Parents were given informative pamphlets and information at each agency table to take home for reading. With the kind donation of a carnival style popcorn maker from the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association, ACRA popped and bagged over 150 bags of “Pete the Cat” popcorn. ACRA was very popular at this event!


National Youth Week - May 1st - 7th

ACRA hosted the second annual Extreme 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament, May 2nd, in the Activity Building Gym at the Coombs Fairgrounds, as part of the RDN’s National Youth Week event. The participation doubled in size from 2016, with 16 teams registered and 45 youth taking part. This event is only made possible with a generous grant from the RDN, the support of the Old Country Market, and other community businesses who donated prizes, and a group of dedicated volunteers, led by ACRA Board member and volunteer basketball facilitator, Michael Briones. The round robin tournament featured a junior court (Ages 13-15) and a senior court (Ages 16-18) and was full on excitement and energy, with parents and siblings cheering on the fast-paced play. Everyone who participated received a prize and the winning teams from each court received gift cards. As many of the youth were leaving the building, they could be overheard talking about returning next year. The success of the event exceeded ACRA’s imagination.

Drums Alive

Unfortunately, the spring Drums Alive class could not be offered, because the minimum number of ten registrants was not met. Past participants are eager to return to the program in the fall. Like many fitness programs, when the warm spring weather comes, people move to outdoor activities.

African Hand Drumming

Drum diva, Monica Hofer, from Courtenay, facilitated another incredibly successful sixweek African Hand Drumming program. This “Beyond Beginners” class welcomed 19 people to the Errington Hall, May 8th-June 19th. Participants were challenged with more difficult rhythms and also introduced to the duns (Bass drums). Monica will be offering summer workshops at the Errington Hall, on Saturday, July 22nd, if there is enough interest.

Recreation Coordinator/ Jessica McLaren

Unfortunately, ACRA Recreation Coordinator, Jessica McLaren, had to resign from her position in mid- May, due to health risks with her pregnancy. ACRA is very happy for Jessica and her partner to welcome their first baby, but sad to lose this vibrant and resourceful coordinator. ACRA posted the position in late May, and interviews were held June 26th. Six very diverse and accomplished people were interviewed and ACRA is pleased to welcome Kristine Stephenson to the Recreation Team.


Coombs Community Picnic

Families of all ages came together June 9th, at the Coombs Fairgrounds for the 27th annual Coombs Community Picnic. It was decided by the picnic committee to move the picnic back to the Fairgrounds, from the old French Creek Community School site, for safety and convenience reasons. The Fairgrounds has a commercial kitchen, stage, picnic tables and large play area, all which are well maintained and easily accessible. Over 400 people were treated to hamburgers, hotdogs, popcorn, ice cream and cake. The celebratory cake honoured Grace United Church, which has served the Coombs community for 71 years.


People of all ages found something to enjoy, from Coombs memorabilia, the uplifting music of Jangano Marimba, Hamilton Hobby Farm pony rides, decorating cookies and the Children’s Interactive Garden Railway. A highlight of the evening was a guest magician who entertained a very appreciative audience.


This wonderful evening of connecting community friends would not have been possible

without the kindness and generosity of many community people and businesses,

including the Coombs Old Country Market, RDN Recreation, SD69 Operations, KSS and BSS International Student Programs, Arrowsmith Agricultural Association, Creekmore’s Coffee, the Coombs General Store, Wallpepper Design, the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department, the East End Track Gang, and the outstanding volunteers who planned the picnic, moved picnic tables, barbecued, cleaned up and pitched in wherever their help was needed.


 Community Grants

 An RDN Recreation Community grant and Mid-Island Co-op grant was submitted in April by ACRA on behalf of the Coombs Candy Walk Committee, to help with the shortfall for the October 31st Candy Walk at the Coombs Fairgrounds. ACRA also submitted an RDN Community Recreation grant to ask for facility rental assistance to be able to continue to offer the Food Skills for Families programs. ACRA was delighted to learn that the recreation coordinator effort put into the United Way grant for the Errington Elementary School ACE club program was successful and funding will be available for a minimum of one more year for the program.

Community Cupboard

ACRA continues to lend community equipment to non-profit groups in Arrowsmith. Most recently, traffic signs, vests and sandwich boards were used by the Coombs Farmers’ Institute for their annual fundraising auction and guitars were borrowed by a KSS leadership student who started a mentoring program for children who are not financially able to take music lessons. Marimbas were borrowed by the Errington Heartland Home Learners to build on the marimba program the children were introduced to in 2016. The children were proud to perform at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre’s Family Day event.

Community Meetings

The Arrowsmith Recreation Coordinators continue to participate in, and contribute to the monthly Building Learning Together and YouthLINK community tables. Other meetings include planning sessions with community members for events and programs, Recreation Coordinators team meetings and ACRA Board meetings.