Cresteramics Chatter: Creston program rolling right along through summer

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Terry Nowak is a board member of the Cresteramics Society.

Terry Nowak is a board member of the Cresteramics Society.

Just because it is summer doesn’t mean that Cresteramics is not a busy, happening place. Our store on Canyon Street is serving many tourists, sharing original artwork of the community and answering questions about Creston. Cresteramics members and staff are positive community ambassadors. The agency centre on Railway Boulevard is open for business five days a week.

There are changes during the summer; members are away on holidays and so are staff, and there are different activities and places to go. All of the challenges are met by staff and supervisor Donna McCready through conversation, co-operation and sharing. Knowledge of each member’s needs, preferences and abilities is evident in morning planning meetings. When I watch these committed people talk about what needs to be done each day, I am thoroughly confused, but they tackle the schedule, determine who needs what and get on with the day. All this happens while greeting members as they arrive, listening to stories or requests and answering questions.

Cresteramics has been recognized provincially as a leader in transitioning youth from school into adult programs and has a strong partnership with Prince Charles Secondary School that facilitates this process. Cresteramics has also been hosting a summer youth program for a few years. This year, our youth summer program was fortunate to receive funds from Columbia Basin Trust Youth Initiatives Program to operate the program full-time. It is an opportunity for young people, still in school, to use the resources offered by Cresteramics to develop a peer group for activities and fun, learn about their community and work together on projects that serve their community. The Telus Community Action Team, based in Cranbrook, also contributed to this project.

Early in July, the project had already formed partnerships with the Creston Valley Public Library, where they help out in the summer reading club and with the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market. This partnership has exploded to include the Town of Creston, local artists, business people and retailers. Farmers’ market manager Jen Comer jumped right in and helped develop a project, a budget and a presentation to town council. This project will see the youth group painting murals to cover the concrete walls on the north side of the market space. Local artists Cory Cannon, Alison Masters and Sandy Kunze consulted and contributed ideas. Brandy Hunt, graphic artist, businesswoman and youth supporter, designed the mural and made color suggestions. Local businesses Home Hardware Building Centre and Pyramid Building Supplies readily donated paint and other materials needed for the project. The willingness of individuals and businesses to contribute is typical of Creston. The young people involved are learning valuable lessons about sharing, caring and contributing.

At the opposite end of the age spectrum is another project that has also received community support. The Creston-Kootenay Foundation donated funds that will allow for the development of a space for members who, because of dementia symptoms, require a quieter, more sedate area. New floor covering, a music system, covered shelving and appropriate furniture will be purchased to provide an area with reduced noise and distractions to make some of our members more comfortable. Thank you, Creston-Kootenay Foundation.

Our drumming circle continues to be a favorite activity for many members every Thursday afternoon. Tambourines, shakers and a guitar are played along with drums and fun is had by all. In the summer, members trek to Centennial Park to make their music, and in the winter, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church donates space for this program, another generous donation within our community. If you have experience playing drums, we could use your help. Combining musical training with the enthusiasm of this group, the sky is the limit.

Over at the Know and Grow Community Farm at the College of the Rockies and at the community garden, our plots are producing plenty of vegetables that the members harvest and share. The crews that keep the benches and garbage cans clean for the town are proud of the work they do and appreciate the recognition Creston gets as being a clean, well-cared-for town. Some of our Cresteramics members also work at Spectrum Farms and the Creston and District Society for Community Living woodwork shop. They, too, are proud of the work they do and that they are contributing members of their community.

Cresteramics Society and its members, along with the support they receive in this community, help to make Creston a great placed to live.

Terry Nowak is a board member of the Cresteramics Society.