We had the first of a few summer visits at home by children last week as they try to escape the turmoil and recession in Alberta. The variation from previous years is that they now bring brand new grandchildren, which is pretty cool. For a while. One of the hits of the Creston Valley is getting them to come to the pool to escape the heat, and the ducky swim in particular was an all time favourite. The praise for our community complex is high and wins out yet again over some pretty big facilities in Edmonton that they have gone to, but here in the valley, we knew that already.
While I try and have an appreciation for our patrons at the community complex that have babies or toddlers, having one live with you for a week or so raises the awareness a notch or two as far as what it truly takes to stickhandle one or two of these around in your day-to-day living. I have found that when you are a parent, you simply adapt and live day to day with all the requirements it takes to raise a family. As you get older you tend to forget about being perpetually tired for a few years, punctuated by intense bursts of adrenaline as junior bounces down the stairs or heads for the stove.
It provides great reflection material on how much energy and dedication it took, and still takes, to raise children. You also get to have those flashback moments when you take a slurp of coffee, and in that time junior has made it to the stereo and managed to lever off three knobs and you can only find two. I in fact still have my old stereo — missing a knob — where his father did exactly the same thing three decades ago. Luckily, all the current knobs have been retrieved.
Those moments help with visualizing the use of the community complex from all ages’ point of view, whether its adding toddler chairs in the aquatic changerooms to help parents keep track of one while they juggle another or making sure change tables are placed in appropriate washrooms, right through to trying to eliminate trip hazards or other tweaks geared to improving our seniors’ visits. I believe that’s called empathy and I had a pretty healthy dose last week.
We are currently fixing up the east wall of the arena as it was the only portion that wasn’t touched during the major renovation for budget and timing reasons. The inside has been partially insulated and plywooded, which will provide a solid base for the advertising signage. Next week, we will see the same company that installed the original walls return to do the same to the east side of the complex; raising the insulation value and building envelope standard to the same level as everywhere else in the complex, most likely providing some energy savings as we keep the outside out and the inside in. While we should be in a cooler stretch of weather, don’t forget you can always come down to the complex get cooled off; either in the water or simply sitting for a bit in our main lobby.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.