Sicamous Recreation had a busy 2022 and is looking forward to getting more residents active with less roadblocks this year.
In 2022, Sicamous Recreation and Events, headed by programmer Jamie Sherlock, hosted its busiest summer of activities yet and celebrated other wins. However, environmental factors and things out of the program’s control hindered some of its goals, so Sherlock is hoping 2023’s schedule goes according to plan. Sherlock presented numbers and plans for this year at the Feb. 8 District of Sicamous committee of the whole council meeting.
The district’s recreation guides have been popular, Sherlock emphasized, allowing organizations like the Eagle Valley Arts Council and the Seniors Citizens Housing Society to coordinate with one person in charge and limit overlap of events and initiatives. The spring guide will come out April 1, and Sherlock said community demand has increased to 600-700 copies printed per season. Community feedback has reported an appreciation for having all programs and services listed together.
In the fall of 2022, an after-school club averages 14 kids a day, Sherlock said, and dance class numbers were consistent with what was seen in 2021. Parkview Elementary had construction done on its gym at the time when fall drop-in programs were planned there, so these had to be cancelled. The recreation department also partnered with Okanagan College to offer two first aid courses, which district staff used to re-certify their skills, and two FOOD SAFE courses, both fully attended.
The Summer Kids Club Program had most days registered at maximum capacity, which Sherlock said is 16 kids per day to keep the program at a safe child to staff ratio. The recreation department hired five summer staff members and rotated them, with three acting as swim instructors as well. However, swimming lessons were one of the things affected by environment, as lessons are hosted at Sicamous Beach Park and high water warnings prevented swimming during the summer when lessons, registered at numbers similar to 2021, had been scheduled. Recreation also offered a skateboard camp, some active aging fitness classes, guided hikes and tennis lessons. Babysitting courses were offered but had to be cancelled due to low attendance.
The first Canada Day celebration since pandemic restrictions eased was successful, though it had lower attendance than in the past, said Sherlock. Events were relocated to Finlayson Park from Beach Park due to high water, and Canada Day fireworks were delayed until the August long weekend. Moving parks will likely be the backup plan for this year’s events if high water is again an issue, and alternate plans to ensure fireworks can happen on Canada Day will be discussed.
Sherlock said Family Fun Day was a success, with council barbecuing and feeding around 500 people amid cardboard boat races and a talent show.
Coun. Bob Evans suggested charging for the burgers and hot dogs council cooks for the public instead of having them by donation, and Mayor Colleen Anderson said she’d prefer to see a donation recipient chosen ahead of time to encourage more donations. Anderson mentioned the community loves chatting with council and it’s a chance to serve the constituents, and is not so much a fundraiser.
Halloween and Christmas events returned full force and attendance was high in the fall and winter.
The recreation department is strengthening its relationship with Splatsin, hosting collaborative events like a houseboat trip to view pictographs along Shuswap Lake. Sherlock said 14 kids from both Sicamous and Splatsin were on the houseboat, and Gloria Morgan taught a language lesson and a drumming workshop that day. She said the kids recognized each other on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and developed friendships.
Asked about public ice skating, Sherlock said it’s been difficult to arrange as the rec centre rink is owned by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and solidifying a time when hockey games and tournaments aren’t happening has been hard.
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