Arrowsmith Community Recreation Spring Highlights
April - June 2018

Errington Elementary School Arrowsmith Community Enhancement Club (ACE)

The spring session of the ACE Club, April 16th-June 4th, welcomed 15 children to the program. Each week, volunteer guests facilitated crafts, music, and cooperative games. Family-style meals were lovingly planned and prepared by volunteer food coordinator, Helen Hill-Tout, and her dedicated group of ACE students. A highlight of the spring program was on the last day when ACRA/ ACE Club coordinator, Kristine Stephenson, showed the children, their families and invited guests, a slide show of all of the fun times they had enjoyed together. There was laughter and even a few tears as the children and their facilitators said good-bye. This valuable program has touched the lives of many vulnerable children in Errington and ACRA has been very proud to play a big part in the success of the ACE program, along with SD #69, the Oceanside RCMP, and Building Learning Together.

Musical Mentors

During the school year, ACRA worked closely with the Qualicum Community Education and Wellness Society’s Musical Mentors program. ACRA recreation coordinator, Kim Longmuir, met with QCEWS member, Gil Sampson, to coordinate the lending of musical instruments and help with grant writing. Musical Mentors is a not-for-profit program that partners children ages five to twelve with volunteer musicians from Kwalikum and Ballenas Secondary Schools. Lessons, instruments and music books are provided free of charge. This program gives children whose families are not able to afford music lessons, the opportunity to learn to sing and play guitar, violin and piano. QCEWS also very kindly donated money to ACRA for a portion of the refurbishment of the instruments that program uses.
Pete the Cat/ First Steps to Kindergarten

In partnership with SD#69, Building Learning Together, the RDN, SOS, and numerous other community organizations and agencies, ACRA helped to plan and host the third annual Pete the Cat First Steps to School Event, April 19th in The Pond and foyer of Oceanside Place. Over 170 “future” kindergarten students, parents/caregivers and siblings attended. The purpose of the event was to welcome children ages three to five and their parents/caregivers to resources in the community to help make the transition easier as they get closer to their kindergarten journey. Popular children’s book character, Pete the Cat was the highlight of the event for all of the children. Parents were given informative pamphlets and information and given a recipe and all the ingredients to make a healthy and affordable lentil soup. With the kind donation of a carnival-style popcorn maker from the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association, ACRA Recreation Coordinators, Kim and Kristine, were very popular and popped and bagged over 200 bags of popcorn.
Marimba Program

Kumbana Marimba player and instructor, Caitlin Duggan, continued to work her magic with a dedicated group of marimba players. Caitlin offered her six-week “Beyond Beginners” program at the Bradley Centre, and although the group was small they all appreciated Caitlin’s enthusiasm and expertise. Caitlin has had a change in her work schedule, and ACRA is hopeful that she will be available to continue instruction in the fall.
African Hand Drumming

The spring African hand drumming classes, held at the Errington Hall, were very popular. Participants come from near and far to share Monica Hofer’s passion for djembe drumming. ACRA offered both a Beginner and Beyond Beginner eight-week program from April 30th-June 25th. Twenty-four people finished in June, all excited to return in the fall. ACRA is appreciative of the Errington Hall sharing their set of djembe drums. Another positive result from the program is that local Errington drum maker, Robin Shackleton, has been receiving orders to build one-of-a-kind djembe drums for some of the participants. Robin has been a welcome instructor for some of ACRA’s past drum circles. He also kindly subsidizes the tuning of ACRA’s marimbas.
Cardio Dance Fitness

ACRA had no idea that when Jen deHaan’s Cardio Dance Fitness class was offered at the Bradley Centre, that the program would be so popular. Our goal was to have a minimum of eight people join the program, and in the end the hall was hopping with 24 people. A big part of the success of the class was Jen’s focus on encouraging everyone to work at their own level and have fun. Jen has become an active volunteer in the community and with ACRA, being a guest instructor at ACE Club and a guest at Family Day. ACRA is looking forward to Jen offering a free class of Cardio Dance Fitness, as part of the RDN’s Active Aging Week, September 24th and then offering an eight-week program starting up again October 15th.
3 on 3 Youth Basketball Tournament

The sound of swooshing baskets and cheering filled the Coombs Fairground gym on May 1st, as ACRA hosted its third annual 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament. The tournament was part of the RDN’s Youth Week activities, to help celebrate National Youth Week. Fifteen teams of youth entered the tournament, but in the end, due to illness and team schedule changes, 12 teams competed. The round robin tournament featured a junior court (Ages 13-15) and a senior court (Ages 16-18), and was full of excitement and energy, with parents and siblings cheering on the fast-paced play. The final results had the only girls’ team, entered from Port Alberni, winning the Junior award. All athletes who participated received a prize and the winning teams from each court received gift cards. The success of 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.
Active Aging

Hosted by the RDN, ACRA Recreation Coordinators have enjoyed attending planning meetings to help coordinate Active Aging Week, September 24th-30th. ACRA will once again be hosting a Sole Sisters Walk at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. New this year will be a free Cardio Dance Fitness class at the Bradley Centre, to introduce seniors to this fun fitness class that is welcoming to all ages and all levels of fitness. ACRA appreciates the leadership and enthusiasm that RDN Recreation Programmer, Jenn Hopewell puts into Active Aging Week.

Oceanside Health and Wellness Network Community Youth Forum

ACRA Recreation Coordinator, Kim Longmuir, was invited to participate in the Oceanside Health and Wellness Network’s Mental Health Forum for youth. This forum took place May 29th at Pass Woodwinds and was a follow-up session from the larger group community forum held in February. At that meeting, mental health among young adults in Oceanside was identified as a priority action item. During the May forum, participants were divided into table groupings of five to six people, with two to three youth at each table. Specific questions were asked to the youth, informally documented, and then presented at the end of the forum. The youth were encouraged to share specific concerns they had for resources in the Oceanside Community. Their honesty was very much respected and appreciated by all the participants, and OWHN has some concrete ideas to work with to support the youth in Oceanside.
Coombs Community Picnic

Unfortunately, the weather was not on ACRA’s side for the 28th annual Coombs Community Picnic, so the picnic was moved indoors. In the end, the 300+ people who arrived brought their own sunshine. Visitors enjoyed the 4-H animals, glitter tattoos, face painting, Coombs memorabilia, the children’s garden railway and much more. Hamilton Hobby Farm braved the rain and offered pony rides which continued to be popular. Guests were treated to hamburgers, hotdogs, popcorn, ice cream and cake. They listened to the lovely folk music of the Westerly Sisters, a group made up of Errington sisters, Fahlon and Ramiah Smith. A highlight for children this year was the presence of the Rooper Sisters, two high energy women from Nanaimo, who were dressed as characters from the Disney movie, “Frozen.” Photos were snapped and autographs signed! The celebratory cake honoured the Coombs General Store and Post Office, which has served the Coombs community for 107 years. Store owner and ACRA Board member, Dale Donaldson, was very appreciative of the store and himself being celebrated. 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, local community member Candace deWolfe, and the outstanding volunteers who planned the picnic, moved tables and chairs, barbecued, cleaned up and pitched in wherever their help was needed. Big thanks to Area F Regional Director, Julian Fell and Area F Recreation Commissioner, Reg Nosworthy, who both rolled up their sleeves and worked in the kitchen. This is what makes this community special!
Sole Sisters Walking Program

The Sole Sisters walking program ended another successful season, June 20th, with a hike at Nile Creek, followed by a picnic at one of the Sole Sister leader’s homes in Qualicum Bay. Thirty-three women enjoyed the magical beauty of Nile Creek and all are eager to resume walking on September 19th when the program starts up again. Although the fitness component is a big part of the program, the success of the program is socialization, which is an important wellness benefit for older people. Every person is supported, no matter their pace and people are encouraged to challenge themselves on trails they would never try on their own. During the summer, one of the Sole Sisters is leading informal walks for those people who would like to continue to meet. The summer walks are not organized by ACRA, to give the dedicated volunteer walk leaders a well-deserved break. It is wonderful to see that the program has made such an impact on so many people.

Growing Wild Summer Camp
A considerable amount of ACRA’s spring work time was dedicated to the planning, promotion and registration for the popular “Growing Wild Summer Camp.” This is the second year that ACRA has hosted the camp, and the word got out to families that the camp is a unique place to spend a week of summer holiday, because the camp filled quickly, with a wait list. The camp is offered July 9th-13th at the Coombs Fairgrounds and guest instructors will include the Parksville-Qualicum Rock and Gem Club, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue, Island Mountain Ramblers, and the Silver Spur Riding Club. The children will have the opportunity to walk to BoMé Cheese to learn about cheese making. Daily facilitators, in addition to ACRA Recreation Coordinator, Kristine Stephenson and teacher, Caity Genereaux will also include Constables Danielle and Mike, from the Oceanside RCMP, origami expert Shino Yoneda and International student Mei. ACRA is looking forward to an exciting week of camp.


Grant Writing

RDN Community Grant funding was applied for in April for the Coombs Candy Walk and the Food Skills for Families programs.
Community Cupboard

ACRA continues to lend community equipment to non-profit groups, most recently traffic safety equipment to the Coombs Farmers’ Institute for their 40th Annual Farmers’ Auction and traffic equipment and tents to the Silver Spur Riding Club for their ETRA Therapeutic Ride. The ride was a huge success. Thirty-two riders headed out from the Coombs Fairgrounds the Rail Trail and Woodlot 31and raised more than $8,000.  ACRA also lent tents to the Coombs Fairground 4-H Regional event as well as marimbas to local youth group, Jangano.
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. The springtime commitment dedicated to the emails, phone calls and registration for the Growing Wild Summer Camp was considerable, but the camp is promising to be very successful.