Arrowsmith Community Recreation Fall Highlights
October - December 2017

Food Skills for Active Seniors

ACRA was proud to host the six-week Food Skills for Active Seniors program from October 3rd to November 14th in the Arrowsmith Hall kitchen on 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. The class achieved maximum registration with 12 participants. Because many seniors live on a limited income and must learn to cook for one, the seniors who attended appreciated learning new recipes, safe food handling and storage, meal planning, healthy snack preparation and much more.

Week five’s class was a visit to Save-On Foods to learn about reading labels and how to buy affordable and healthy products. Each participant received their own handbook full of cooking tips and delicious recipes. At the end of each class, the group sat down together at a family style table to share their prepared meal and socialize. 

Certified Food Skills for Families Community Facilitator and holistic nutritionist, Miranda Cockayne, continues to instruct the program. One of the comments from one of the participants was, “Miranda always made us feel very welcome and kept us busy chopping while we learned.” ACRA will be offering “Food Sense, Healthy Cooking on a Budget” in February and is appreciative of the confidence that Diabetes Canada has in ACRA to continue hosting these very valuable programs.

Parksville Qualicum Beach Arrowsmith News Insert

ACRA’s fall PQBNews insert, “Take a Walk in Arrowsmith” highlighted many of the magnificent regional and provincial parks in Electoral Area F with stories, photos and interviews. Area F Regional Director, Julian Fell, and School Board trustee, Julie Austin, continue to support the insert by submitting articles, and many of the not-for-profit organizations in Arrowsmith were pleased to showcase their fall events. ACRA is extremely grateful to Peter McCully, the PQBNews publisher, and the community businesses who sponsor the advertising.

Parksville to Coombs Rail Trail Opening

Although the day was windy and chilly, close to 100 brave community members attended the official opening of the RDN Regional Parksville to Coombs Rail Trail. After dignitary speeches, the ribbon was cut and celebration cupcakes enjoyed. ACRA contributed to this successful opening by attending planning meetings with RDN staff and welcoming walkers, cyclists and horse riders to refreshments at the Woodlot location, across from the Bradley Centre. ACRA enjoyed sharing the display tents with the Silver Spurs Riding Club, and visitors to the tent had the opportunity to pet a live horse and take home some pony souvenirs.

Dads’ Night Out

In partnership with Building Learning Together and Errington Elementary School, ACRA organized and facilitated two free evenings of gym play: October 17th and November 21st. From 6:30-7:30pm, Dads/Grandfathers and their preschool-aged children enjoyed free play with balls, mats and scooters. The attendance in the winter of 2017 had been small, but numbers increased to 13 and 11 for the fall sessions. ACRA will be hosting two more fun-filled Dads’ Night Out evenings, January 23rd and February 20th, 2018.

Adult Marimba

ACRA was pleased to welcome back accomplished Kumbana Marimba player and instructor, Caitlin Duggan, to instruct a six-week Introductory and Beyond Adult Marimba program, October 18th-November 22nd. The 90-minute classes were held at the Bradley Centre. Although the registration was very small, with only five participants, Caitlin was willing to teach the classes for a reduced instructor honorarium. This enabled the players to receive exceptional individual instruction, and all are looking forward to returning to the winter marimba program. For the first time, ACRA is also going to offer an introductory youth marimba program, following the adult program, February 7th-March 14th, 2018. The ACRA marimbas that are used for these classes are kindly stored by the Bradley Centre at no cost.
Errington Elementary School Arrowsmith Community Experience Club (ACE)

Following planning meetings in September and early October, ACRA Recreation Coordinator, Kristine Stephenson, together with EES and Building Learning Together staff, and a group of dedicated volunteers, welcomed 14 children to ACE Club, Mondays, October 30th-December 11th from 2:00-4:00pm. The children who participate in this program are selected by the EES staff. Kristine very capably organized seven weeks of special guests, crafts, games and nutritious meals. Guests included Brett Fee, from Cascadia Martial Arts; wood carver, Ron Dawley; and Liz Sahlstrom, from Arrowsmith Search and Rescue. On the final day, families and community guests were invited to a slide show and homemade appetizers and refreshments. This very valuable program 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 and Oceanside RCMP to offer the ACE Club program.
Coombs Candy Walk

The 49th annual Coombs Candy Walk, held, Tuesday, October 31st, at the Coombs Fairgrounds, was another overwhelming success. With thanks to the clear sky, over 600 people celebrated Halloween at this event. Families enjoyed the “Under the Sea” themed candy walk, the cakewalk, haunted house, photo booth, hot chocolate and the amazing fireworks put on by the Coombs-Hilliers Volunteer Fire Department. For the third year, the Ballenas Dry Grad committee hosted a “Scare Your Pants Off” haunted house and all donated proceeds were put towards BSS graduation events. The Candy Walk would not be possible without the dedication and passion of a dedicated organizing committee, which includes ACRA, community volunteers, support of local businesses and the RDN.

OAP Workshop

Recreation Coordinator, Kim Longmuir, was invited to attend the Oceanside Health and Wellness Network’s, “Charting the Course Together” forum on November 9th. This forum brought together community individuals and organizations working together to impact the health and wellness of Oceanside. The goals of the forum were to raise awareness, deepen understanding and build capacity for collective impact. Following guest presentations, the participants formed groups to specifically discuss two very relevant concerns: Food Security for School-Aged Children in Oceanside and Mental Health Among Young Adults in Oceanside. The next step for the group is to hold a second forum February 22nd, 2018, with hope of shifting from isolated leadership to shared leadership.
Breakfast at Munchkinland

ACRA Recreation Coordinators, Kim Longmuir and Kristine Stephenson, volunteered at Building Learning Together’s Munchkinland Breakfast Club, December 9th. This program gives families who are not able to attend any of the BLT programs throughout the week, the opportunity to come out and play, sing songs, listen to stories and enjoy a healthy breakfast. ACRA continues to work closely with Building Learning Together because many Arrowsmith families benefit from visits to Munchkinland and other BLT programs. BLT has always been a big supporter of ACRA programs, making this a very successful partnership.


Introductory and Beyond Beginners African Hand Drumming

The Introductory and Beyond Beginner African Hand Drumming programs continued until November 27th. Participants enjoyed instructor, Monica Hofer’s exuberance and expertise. Winter programs will be starting up again February 26th, 2018, at the Errington Hall.

Youth Drop-in Sports Programs

The continued support of RDN youth grant funding for the facility rental, gives community youth an opportunity to be active, playing basketball every Tuesday and Thursday in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Although the Youth Ages 11-15 program was small in numbers, most weeks the program still welcomed 7-10 participants. The Youth Ages 16+ was anything but small, with one week having attendance as high as 40 players. Experienced facilitator, Michael Briones, took it all in stride and organized the evening into a round robin tournament. The players are keen to return in February, and ACRA is hopeful to be able to find facilitators for the floor hockey and volleyball programs.

Sole Sisters Walking Program

The Sole Sisters drop-in walking program has exceeded our wildest expectations. Following the article in the PQBNews calls and emails continued to come, with over 130 women contacting ACRA for information. The walks in the fall consistently welcomed 40-55 women each week, and the volunteer leaders grew to be three, along with the ACRA Recreation Coordinators helping to lead many weeks.

The highlight of the season was the Sole Sisters Christmas Cheer Fundraiser Walk on December 13th. The group met at BoMé Cheese, walked a portion of the Parksville to Coombs Rail Trail, and returned to the restaurant for apple cider, coffee, German cheesecake, photos and conversation. The women kindly donated $445.00 to be put towards supporting children and youth programs in the community.
Community Meetings

ACRA Recreation Coordinators attended many community meetings, including ACE Club planning, Coombs Candy Walk planning, Family Day planning, as well as meeting with facilitators and community members. The Recreation Coordinators also attend the Building Learning Together and YouthLINK monthly 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.


ACRA would like to thank the RDN for grant funding for 2018 Youth Drop-in program facility rental.
Community Cupboard

ACRA continues to lend equipment and instruments to not-for-profit groups in Arrowsmith. At this time, marimbas are being borrowed by the youth marimba group, Zazu, for their weekly practices. Additionally, guitars are being borrowed by the BSS and KSS Musical Mentors program. The Musical Mentors program is a volunteer-led program in which high school students offer free singing, guitar and other musical instrument lessons to children who would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate. Traffic safety equipment was borrowed by the Coombs Fairgrounds, Coombs-Hilliers Volunteer Fire Department and Silver Spurs Riding Club.