Hey, it’s that magical time of year where we have a multitude of irons in the fire (don’t ask me when it’s never like that) but we just finished the Valentines Bonspiel and Family Day Celebration along with the Kootenay Regional Figure Skating Championship, Early Years Conference and the February Farmers Market; all of which drew people to our community from the Kootenays and beyond resulting in a net benefit to the Creston Valley. Unless of course, you don’t like people in which case you probably weren’t here. Speaking of which, this is one of the times of year when we welcome the Grade 10’s from PCSS to a 6-week program that sees them sharing quality time in the pool with our regular patrons. (If you squint between the lines, you can see I’m alluding to the “everyone playing well in the sandbox” lesson yet again.)
I have been told this program does not exist anywhere in the free world other than our pool; I’m not sure if that’s true or not but I do know that the framework to expose children to water via our school system begins with Grade 3 and Swim to Survive followed by swim lessons in Grade 5 and again Grade 7 and wrapping up with the Grade 10 program. This last go-around with the community’s young men and women not only covers stroke development and endurance as well as life-saving skills but wraps up with a section on local learning covering topics like Disoriented Entries, Dangers of Bridge Jumping, Jumping from a Height, Self Rescue from Moving Water, Alcohol and Water, Self Rescue from a Capsized Boat, Ice Thickness and Self Rescue, Hypothermia and amongst other things, How to Talk to Peers When They are in Danger. That’s why they call it Local Learning – every one of these applies to this valley, its water bodies and our kids – so even if one or two points stick (hopefully more), it may just save a life.
Thus the sandbox rule and why it’s so important to provide any kind of water wisdom to these guys starting out; most of us have been around the block a few times, gathering life lessons and honing our risk assessment skills but that takes time and experience. School lessons aren’t always a given as well; there are funding, transportation or availability hurdles during a child’s tenure in the school system; often a student might just get one or two of these “forced” opportunities, making them even more impactful. Much like us, we want today’s youth to be able to sit around 4 or 5 decades from now talking about all the dumb stuff they did as a kid and still survived; we just want to try and remove a water mishap as part of their reminiscing.
Finally, watch for our latest Leisure Guide covering programs, schedules, and events throughout spring and summer; due for arrival online at www.rdck.ca the week of Feb 26th and the hard copy nestled in your mailbox somewhere during the week of March 5th.
Submitted by Neil Ostafichuk
Creston and District Community Complex
Regional District of Central Kootenay