West Martin-Patterson is on a mission to bring recreational and wellness opportunities to, and for the community.
Actually, it’s more than a mission – it’s his job as the District of Sicamous’ new recreation and wellness co-ordinator.
Martin-Patterson’s mission statement – recently approved by council – is to “facilitate and provide recreational and wellness activities that enhance and promote social, cultural, health and general well-being of residents and its visitors,” and to work with community partners to provide “the most comprehensive and inclusive programming for the community.”
“I think one of the key things for my department, and for me as co-ordinator, is to listen closely to the community in developing new opportunities for recreation and wellness programming,” says Martin-Patterson, whose curriculum vitae includes being a program co-ordinator for Axis Family Resources in Castlegar, from where he recently moved, a recreation co-ordinator for Selkirk College, as well as for a long-term care facility.
“And I’ve been involved in sport with Tennis BC, where I helped develop their school program in the Lower Mainland, and I’ve also been a community rep for Tennis Canada for the West Kootenays for the past six years or so,” says Martin-Patterson.
What drew Martin-Patterson to the position in Sicamous? He says he liked the opportunity it offers to shape a program from the ground up, one that will suit the community. However, he was also attracted to the community’s natural assets, which he will certainly be making the best use of.
“I really enjoy a lot of the outdoorsy-type stuff,” says Martin-Patterson. “I like hiking, biking, being out in the wilderness and in the water and all those sort of things. Those are the things I see as strengths for Sicamous. This is an outdoor person’s paradise. So I definitely think we need to tap into those things. Not that we aren’t already, but just continue to do so.”
One of the first projects residents will see from the rec and wellness co-ordinator is a guide book that will benefit locals as well as those who might be interested in locating in the area.
“If you’re looking at a community that you want to be part of or move to, one of the first things you’ll do is look at a recreation guide and find out what kind of programs and opportunities there are out there for you…,” says Martin-Patterson.
The guide will also include questionnaires, giving users an opportunity for input.
Mayor Darrell Trouton says he and council are thrilled to have Marti-Patterson onboard. He views the co-ordinator as someone who will bring long-term stability to community programming.
“Even though there’s lots of different programs going on out there, a lot of the public in general doesn’t know about it, so we need to get the word out and work together, and at the district level we can support that,” says Trouton. “Because we’re having lots of families, lots of people moving out of the community because we don’t have those facilities for them, we’re just not organized in that direction. He brings something to the table that we don’t have currently, and this is kind of part of the plan of moving forward.”
Along with the guidebook, Martin-Patterson is already working on a few programs he’d like to get up and running, including drop-in volleyball and basketball. Not surprisingly, he’s also assessing options for tennis. Yoga and spin (cycling) classes are also being looked at, as is zumba.
Although, one of the challenges he’s already run into is finding local instructors.
“So possibly, what we might do is offer to train somebody and then they might sign a one- or two-year contract,” says Martin-Patterson, adding he’d prefer to train someone locally instead of bringing someone in from out-of-town, as that way, “it’s a little more sustainable.”