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Penticton Community Centre rings in a new year
Twenty-five years ago I wrote my first new year’s column for this newspaper. Now after a quarter of a century of recreation programming, I have discovered a few, not earth shattering, but very interesting things. A few being:
Those who have set goals to make better use of the community centre are even more successful if they tell a friend, come with a friend or have made new friends while using the fitness room or pool, taking a zumba or yoga class or playing pickleball.
As Jim Henson’s Muppet song goes: “There’s not a word yet, for old friends who’ve just met.” This quote fits so well with the warm welcome you receive at our front desk as they make everyone feel like “friends”. I have seen them in action for over 30 years and I love the little positive things they do, such as recognizing patrons by name (how do they remember so many) or encouraging a new participant whether they are three or 83 years old.
This quote also ties in well for the Chinese “Year of the Snake” for 2013. Also known as the “Little Dragon”, it forecasts a year of good luck and a chance to enjoy good friendships. It also recommends more time to rest, relax and re-energize after work and suggests outdoor exercise to help maintain good health.
Another big thing that has had an impact on me is seeing the value and magic of play. For children, active play may be fun but it’s certainly not frivolous. Play allows kids of all ages to try new things, test boundaries, use their imaginations and build social skills and friendships. It has been shown to foster and improve motor function, creativity, decision making and problem solving and social skills. How do you put a value on that?
It goes without saying that our children are at risk due to inactivity, but I should mention that studies show that recreational pursuits as children tend to carry on into their senior years and the benefits to being physically or mentally active as an older adult are amazing. You should see the smiling faces of the seniors volleyball gang (and younger ones too) who meet three mornings a week to play in our gym with a beach ball.
Adults don’t play nearly enough so check out our Fall/Winter Recreation guide at www.penticton.ca/recreation and if more convenient, you can even register online. Make sure you check out “Try it for Free” week on page 10 and 11. It’s a great way to sample a class before you register or try the fitness room before buying a membership. What a year we have in store for you!
Happy new year everyone. Yours in wellness and play.
Bob Pope is the recreation co-ordinator for the City of Penticton.