From the Centre: With over 150,000 annual visits, rec centre is important to Creston

Web Lead

I started a folder about a year ago, which I keep on my desk. I call it my “Why I Work Here” folder and every so often I like to open it up and read through the collection of thank you cards, emails, customer comment cards, letters to the editor, newspaper articles and notes. The messages are from residents, visitors passing through or even former staff and every one of them reinforces the good work we do up here, whether it is in changing someone’s life for the better or something as simple as keeping the place as clean as we can. I have come to believe it is important to keep a record of good; many times that is easily swept away for other reasons when it shouldn’t be.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows — I get that — and we will always have to manage certain challenges in trying to meet everyone’s wants, but honestly, we really do want you to enjoy your experience and come back so we really strive to make things right across the 150,000-plus patron visits we see each year.

Today, however, I’m just focusing on positive. For example, I walked by the fitness studio yesterday and saw a physiotherapist helping a young girl struggle to crawl around a circle of mats — something so simple for you and I yet hugely challenging for her and the whole community wins as a result of that opportunity. Every day, I see seniors up here walking or swimming or even merely sitting in the lobby, this community gathering place, and I just know that without the ability to do these activities, these individuals would not be nearly as healthy or as transformed as they have become.

The ever increasing amount of school kids we see and have the opportunity to teach how to swim or survive in the water amazes me — back with the outdoor pool, we used to scramble to fit in the Grade 3 swim program in June. Now we get the opportunity to teach the Grade 3, 5, 6 and 10s — yet another community win. You also have to consider the employees that work here — some starting families, some maintaining families, some going to further schooling after having an unsurpassed opportunity to grow as lifeguards or instructors, but the common denominator is all are contributing members of society and part of the fabric of our community no less than any other service in the valley.

A common theme at Recreation and Parks Association meetings at the provincial and even national level is that leisure service providers don’t toot their horns nearly as loud as they should and often, the community benefit that should be celebrated is drowned out by the perpetual fire alarm of the day-to-day processes. A particularly poignant speaker told leisure service practitioners a while ago, “You save lives,” whether that could be a literal translation by teaching someone to swim and preventing a drowning or perhaps deeper than that in turning a child away from a life of crime by providing opportunities for sports or social activities; it cuts a wide swath.

To those of you that write your thank you notes, letters to the editor and comment cards, thank you. Even if it’s just hosting a tournament or grad all the way to being thanked for our part in helping a valued member of the community exceed their expectations in remaining mobile for a few more years — they do get read and appreciated by everyone here, from custodian to manager, as do all your comments to us throughout the days. If you feel having the Creston and District Community Complex has made a difference in your life or is helping build our community, we would like to hear from you. My email, or simply stop by and meet our front desk staff and pick up a comment card.

Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.