Fort Smith Rec Centre staff are busy organizing their fall and winter programs, which will include a broad variety of new sporting, fitness, cultural and training opportunities.
From themed movie nights to massage therapy, First Aid training to literacy and computer programs, the flurry of ideas resulting from the rec centre’s September 1 brainstorming session is one town SAO Brenda Black said is sure to harness the phenomenal potential of Fort Smith’s recreational facilities.
“It was one of the most positive things I’ve seen happen there,” Black told The Journal. “All of the staff were totally engaged and we came up with pages and pages of ideas of things we want to make happen.”
Confirmed for this fall are a kids’ gymnastics program, yoga and fitness classes, dance instruction and indoor soccer. Minor hockey school and a hockey/golf tournament are scheduled for October, and the new track and field facility will have its grand opening this week.
Black said they are working toward having a community-wide fall registration day on September 17 – one where residents can register for everything from minor hockey to dancing at the same time.
“I have a vision that the community centre is a really vibrant, active place where things are going on and everybody wants to be. It’s a place where there’s something for everyone,” said Black.
“We have phenomenal facilities that we’re not maximizing the benefits from and we want to do that.”
Their approach, said Black, is looking to the community for knowledge and support.
“I think in our community we have a wealth of people with skills to offer, and we talked a lot about that and how we can involve those people in making our recreation program way more robust,” she said. “We don’t want to run everything. It’s not like the Town wants to be controlling or running all the events. We want to work with any community groups and individuals to make our recreation centre a success.”
In recent history, the rec centre has been plagued with staffing issues – the most recent involving the rec director, who left his position just two weeks ago – which have made successfully executing recreational programming a challenge.
“When you’ve had the turnover in senior management that we’ve had, it’s very difficult for everybody because direction and priorities tend to change,” said Black. “And so what we’re trying to do is provide some stability.”
An acting rec director, Ross deBoer from Hay River, is currently assisting with the transition as the town looks to hire a new director.