Professional development days for the schools are always interesting — we usually schedule differently because we see a pretty large increase in usage, especially when it is perhaps not the greatest weather outside. We also try and run some specialized programs to target our future caregivers and this last Friday was no different. Andrea, our recreation programmer, tried a different format with this one where for one fee you could mix and match modules such as yoga, engineering, hip-hop, underwater soccer, diving or indoor adventure, and then eat lunch and spend the afternoon in the pool.
You typically know when something is successful around here by the energy in the building and, with kids running all over (it seemed) between modules, along with others going swimming, working out, curling and a first aid course among other goings-on, it was a happening place. Watch for more programs along that vein.
Speaking of veins, the first aid class we ran was part of training for a Bronze Cross course, and with all the other activities in the building, there simply was no room at the inn to stage certain portions of the itinerary. Our head lifeguard, Christie, proceeded to hold the CPR portion in the front lobby, which was pretty cool — we had lots of space there and with 10 or 12 young adults doing chest compressions on CPR dummies and yelling into their plastic heads (the dummies, not the young adults), “Hello, hello, can you hear me?”
It attracted a bit of attention as people came and went to other activities in the building. This is a good thing — you have all kinds of intergenerational mixing, as well as insight into other strange things that go on here that you don’t normally see — obviously so much so as somebody overheard a patron comment, “Oh, they must be doing a massage class!”
Another programming activity currently underway is arranging for a sport called pickleball, which will be held in the arena when the ice comes out. Now before you get images of people smashing pickles around with a paddle, you should know that pickleball is a recognized racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis.
The sport is played on a court with the same dimensions as a doubles badminton court. The net is similar to a tennis net, but is mounted two inches lower and the game is played with a hard paddle and a polymer wiffle ball.
Although pickleball appears to be very similar to tennis, there are key differences that make it more accessible to a wider range of players, particularly children and seniors. Chief among these differences is the speed of the ball, which typically moves at one-third of the average speed of a tennis ball.
Equally important, however, is the size of the court, which is just under one-third of the total area of a tennis court. This smaller area combined with the slower moving ball makes pickleball much easier to play than tennis, and I can attest to that having tried it out in Trail last year at a best practices meeting amongst recreation professionals.
Actually, coming from a guy whose idea of active sports usually involves internal combustion engines, a cool beverage and as little physical activity as possible, I would definitely try pickleball again — watch for it in our upcoming leisure guides.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.