Arrowsmith Community Recreation Winter Highlights
January - March 2018

Youth Drop-in Basketball Programs

The Activity Building Gym at the Coombs Fairgrounds continues to welcome enthusiastic basketball players every Tuesday and Thursday night. Participation in the ages 11-15 group has increased to 15-20 players each week, and the popular ages 16 and older group consistently has 20-30 participants. It is refreshing to see many International students participating and all levels of skill respected. Planning meetings have been held to organize the upcoming RDN Youth Week 3 on 3 basketball tournament on May 1st. ACRA is anticipating 45-55 players to register and participate in this high energy evening.

Errington Elementary School Arrowsmith Community Enhancement Club (ACE)

ACRA Recreation Coordinator, Kristine Stephenson, continues to coordinate the ACE team of staff and volunteers to organize and host ACE Club. The winter session ran for seven weeks, from January 22nd - March 12th, with 16 children participating. The children enjoyed Cross-Fit, Cardio Dance, woodworking, crafts and family-style meals. Some of the goals of ACE are to build self-esteem and confidence, establish positive adult role model relationships and nurture kindness and respect in these vulnerable children. A spring session will begin once the students return after their school break.

Dads’ Night Out

In partnership with Building Learning Together and Errington Elementary School, ACRA organized and facilitated two free evenings of gym play, January 23rd and February 20th. Children (ages 0-6) and their Dads joined ACRA Recreation Coordinators, Kristine Stephenson and Kim Longmuir to play soccer, ride scooters, build mat forts and enjoy parachute games. The numbers were very low for both programs due to inclement and snowy weather, but the brave Dads who came out had a fabulous time with their children.

Sole Sisters Walking Program

Who knew that such a simple program would develop into such a successful one? Led by three dedicated volunteer facilitators, twenty to forty women and one Sole brother, meet every Wednesday morning rain or shine, 10:00-11:00am, for this free drop-in program.

In asking the participants why they enjoy the program so much, their answers range from, “It gives me the opportunity to walk trails that I would never do on my own” to “I have made some really good friends.”

The walk location is posted each week on the Arrowsmith Recreation website. Winter walk locations have ranged from The Hole in the Wall in Port Alberni to Enos Lake in Nanoose Bay in addition to many beautiful trails in Arrowsmith. Walks will continue until the end of June and restart in September.

Family Day


Following the cancellation of Family Day in 2017, due to unsafe ice and snow conditions, it seemed families marked Family Day as a “not to miss” event on their calendars for 2018. The Arrowsmith Agricultural Association, in partnership with ACRA, welcomed over 2000 people to the “Year of the Goose” 7th Annual Coombs Fair Family Day. Families of all ages were treated to demonstrations from exhibitors, including the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Silver Spur Riding Club and Thursday Spinners. The Activity Building was bustling with the excitement of the interactive Children’s Garden Railway, hammering for treasures with the Rock and Gem Club, and sieving for gems in the treasure hunt. Participants had the opportunity to learn the proper care of farm animals with 4H Club members and Hamilton Hobby Farm. A new highlight this year was the dog dancing show, and each performance had a full house. Families appreciated being treated to hotdogs, popcorn, cookies, tea and coffee. The huge success of this event would not be possible without the generous support of many volunteers, local businesses and community grant funding from the RDN.

Marimba Program


The participation numbers in ACRA’s adult marimba classes go up and down, depending on the time of year. With offering the program in the winter, the hope was to attract people looking to try something new during rainy days. This idea worked because interest peaked. In the end, two classes were offered, an Introductory Marimba program and a Beyond Beginners program. Talented Kumbana Marimba player, Caitlin Duggan, shared her passion for this uplifting music with the group on Wednesday afternoons at the Bradley Centre. A keen group is going to continue their marimba learning in the spring.

African Hand Drumming

The sound of African hand drums can be heard every Monday afternoon at the Errington Hall. Courtenay drum diva, Monica Hofer, brings her expertise, energy and enthusiasm to every class. Both Beginner and Beyond Beginner djembe classes were offered during the winter and will continue into the spring. Drumming is scientifically proven to relieve stress and enhance your immune system. The introductory program includes basic hand drumming techniques and rhythms and jamming amongst a circle of friends. No drumming experience is necessary, just a willingness to learn and have fun. The Beyond Beginners class is better suited for players with some background with djembe playing. The class moves at a faster pace and explores more complex rhythms. The participants recognize how fortunate they are to share each Monday with Monica.

Oceanside Health and Wellness Community Forum


Following the very successful November, “Charting the Course Together” forum, the Oceanside Health and Wellness Network hosted a community forum, February 22nd at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre. The focus of the community forum was to bring together interested community members and organizations to discuss and identify specific recommendations for two priority action items that OWHN has identified: Food Security for School-Aged Children in Oceanside and Mental Health Among Young Adults in Oceanside. The participants at the forum were divided into two groups to brainstorm ideas and narrow down action items that a committee could follow up with. ACRA coordinators, Kristine Stephenson and Kim Longmuir, were selected to be in the Food Security discussion group. Bobbi Coleman, past Errington Elementary School principal and current ACE Club volunteer, shared a heartfelt presentation about the importance of food for the children in ACE Club. She spoke very kindly about ACRA’s dedication to the program. With a shared vision, both groups were able to identify several tangible suggestions for OWHN to refine and work towards. Neither priority area is a quick fix, but with the dedication of OWHN and a volunteer committee, collective action will bring some of the suggested ideas to reality.

Breakfast at Munchkinland


ACRA coordinators, Kristine Stephenson and Kim Longmuir happily volunteered to help with Building Learning Together’s Breakfast for Munchkinland, Saturday morning, February 24th. This very valuable free program gives children ages 0-6 and their caregivers the opportunity to play together in an interactive setting, enjoy a healthy breakfast and spend time with positive adult role models. The program is made possible by both the United Way and Northern Vancouver Island grant funding. The BLT staff was very appreciative of the extra help Kristine and Kim provided because that particular Saturday had record numbers of children, parents and grandparents, all very hungry. Kristine and Kim were kept busy cutting fruit, making coffee and refilling the breadbasket. There were many smiling faces as the children left with a hand stamp and a free book donated by the Parksville library.

Food Skills for Families


ACRA continues to be very proud to host the Food Skills for Families programs. Food Sense: Healthy Cooking on a Budget was offered February 28th-April 4th in the certified kitchen of the Arrowsmith Hall at the Coombs Fairgrounds. This free program is funded by the Ministry of Health, managed by Diabetes Canada and supported by the RDN and Save-On Foods. Certified Food Skills for Families Community Facilitator and Holistic Nutritionist, Miranda Cockayne, welcomed twelve adults of all ages. One mother participated with her high school aged daughter, one participant was a Special Olympics medal winner and one was an elderly Coombs gentleman who arrived the first class with his pails to be able to take home the compost for his chickens. Miranda said it was the most fun she has had with a group of participants. The 2018 curriculum was brand new, so Miranda was excited to try the new recipes with the group. Week five’s class was a visit to Save-On Foods to learn about reading labels and buying affordable and healthy products. Each participant received their own handbook full of cooking tips and delicious recipes. The highlight each week was sharing a family-style meal together after the camaraderie of chopping and baking together.

Parksville-Qualicum News Insert


The Recreation Coordinators began interviews and event compilation in January for the spring publication and distribution of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News insert in March. The theme of the insert was “Let the Music Move You in Arrowsmith.” Needless to say, finding people to interview and stories to highlight was a pleasant task in this musically rich community. The PQB News always provides extra copies for distribution in Arrowsmith stores, post offices and restaurants.                            

Cardio Dance Fitness


Upon meeting energetic instructor, Jen de Haan, in a dance class, ACRA coordinator, Kim Longmuir approached her to see if she would be interested in teaching a dance class in Arrowsmith. Jen jumped at the idea, and the very popular Cardio Dance Fitness class started at the Bradley Centre, March 5th with 24 women and men registered.

The class is a fusion of Zumba, U-Jam, and aerobics, taught to upbeat music. With Jen’s incredible enthusiasm, the participants are sweating and laughing at the same time. Based on the success of this program, the goal will be to offer a fall program. With Jen having made the move from San Francisco to a farm in Errington, she is especially excited to teach close to home.


Grant Writing


Recreation Coordinator, Randy Longmuir, is kept busy writing and researching grant opportunities.

Most recently ACRA will be partnering with the Errington Hall to apply for a MusiCounts grant and working closely with the Qualicum Community Education and Wellness Society on their Musical Mentors program.

Community Cupboard


ACRA continues to lend community equipment to non-profit groups, most recently traffic safety equipment to the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association and marimbas to District 69 for an after school program at Springwood Elementary School.

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.

Promotion and Registration


The Recreation Coordinators are responsible for maintaining the ACRA website and Facebook page as well as promotion and registration for programs. They receive and reply to phone calls and emails regularly and manage all of the registration for programs independently.