By now, you should have retrieved the much sought after Spring/Summer Leisure Guide for the Community Complex from your mailbox. Slightly different this season, as we have combined the Spring and Summer issues which not only helps a bit budget-wise but also makes better use of programmer time as the planning and production for each issue takes an enormous amount of energy. There will probably be a small summerish flyer coming out with a focus on summer camps for kids as well as updated information on everything else.
It is interesting on the planning side as far as what we program and have successes with compared to a decade or two ago. There are always the old chestnuts with swimming lessons and high level aquatic training but even within those parameters there have been significant changes. Face it, just the changes in lesson names – I started in Tadpoles and Frogs many decades ago then drifted into Beginners, Intermediates and Seniors. Later, it drifted into colours for a while and currently we are back at numbers and aquatic animals you wouldn’t want to snag with your fishing line. Oh yeah, we don’t sew our badges on our swimsuits anymore as that rough looking group of kids pointed out to me in the pool the other day.
Anyway, what trends must we consider today as society is not the same as it was when I was in Tadpoles. Our interests, leisure time and activity choices have changed. We cannot expect facilities built 50 years ago to support our new lifestyles and so we must think clearly about our recreation needs today and for the future. An excellent example of that is our Community Complex when the community recognized the 40 year old structure needed a future proofing as well as recognizing the current community needs. I believe we covered that piece pretty well.
Our activity choices have changed as well. In today’s hectic society, people tend to choose less structured activities that fit easily into varied schedules and changing routines. We are pursuing a greater diversity of activities and are looking for ways to incorporate lifestyle and wellness into our daily routines which impacted the size and layout of facilities, facility operating schedules and demand for outdoor recreation. There is a strong emphasis on fitness, nutrition and health with the most recent focus on outdoor activities; structured and unstructured.
Today we recognize the value of integrating multiple recreation levels and services in one facility. This integrated approach combines overall building costs while extensively increasing the utility, accessibility and operational benefits of a single facility. These multi-use facilities quickly become community hubs, but also require extensive planning and often large capital investments.
As our demographic and diversity shifts in the Creston Valley (albeit slowly), this can change what services and programs we need to offer to ensure that all residents of a community have access to relevant recreational experiences. As concern or awareness for the environment grows, people are supporting protection of green space through parks, open spaces and trails which is clearly evidenced in the draft Official Community Plan the Town of Creston is working through. Whether it’s the Community Park/Skatepark project we are working through at the Community Complex or the Community Plan the Town is working on, I don’t think I have seen as much opportunity for your voice to have been heard in planning processes– did you use it?