Fun Van - Bringing Recreational Activities to the Children.
Organization Sponsor: Cape Breton Regional Municipality
The Fun Van travels around to different communities within CBRM bringing recreational activities to the children. The communities, times and dates where the Fun Van will be are pre-arranged so that parents and kids know where to be and at what times. During the 2 hours of fun the kids make crafts, play games, go for nature hikes, play sports and just be active!
The fun van concept was reactivated two years ago and has met a welcome response, judging from the numbers attending the daily programs throughout District 12 (Balls Creek, Westmount, Coxheath) and several areas of Sydney River and Howie Centre.
This program, which travels throughout our communities, offers summer recreational activities to our youth between ages of five and 12 years of age, from crafts to kick ball, nature walks, trail walks, story time, picnics at Petersfield and much more.
Those who attend Canada Day witness first-hand what an asset it is to have these students on hand. Hundreds of children spend the day doing scavenger hunts, having their faces painted, and enjoying a pie eating contest and other activities.
Back in early years of amalgamation, many of our recreation programs were lost. This one, I felt, was important enough to bring back but I was not sure how to do it. As councillor I worked with the Riverview Ys Men, Westmount Volunteer Fire Department, Island Skate Park Society, the Coxheath Hills wilderness group and CBRM recreation liaison person Heather MacDougall.
They were very quick to come onside. I thank each group for continued support. Before school ends I will be delivering lists of places and dates of events and programs.
District 12 councillor,
Cape Breton Regional Municipality
E-mail [email protected]
For more information, please contact:
Amber Clarke and Rob Murphy
Island Skate Park,
Riverview Y's Men Club,
The continued success rate of every stop will help ensure sustainability; because the more demand there is the more likely they are to continue with the program for next year.
Depending on the weather, the number of children that appear at any one location can range from 15-40 children and youth. Kids are able to participate in activities that they wouldn't otherwise have access to, along with meeting children from both their own communities and other surrounding communities (some kids travel around to all the different Fun Van stops).
The evaluations used are the feedback received by both the parents and the children themselves. The numbers are either steady or increasing depending on the location, and the parents are happy to be able to leave their children in a safe environment.
The persons that are running the program with the kids are very mature and creative. Their skills increase with every stop and they stress a need to be able to improvise; that and a good solid plan, down to 5min intervals since they are sometimes working with a shorter attention span. Also, they stress the need to advertise and get the word out. The Fun Van advertises on the radio, they pass out flyers and they advertise on TV (live at 5).
The main challenges have been understanding the amount of planning it takes to run just a two hour session. Because they are working with a number of different children of many different ages and interests, it's important to be able to have a plan but be flexible.
This is the first year for the Fun Van in CBRM.