Wednesday, 19 July 2017 15:45

SaskAbilities program provides summer fun to Swift Current youth

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Swift Current powerlifter Wayne Cormier shows a Summer Fun Program participant how to safely grip the weight bar during his powerlifting demonstration at the celebrity day, July 14. Swift Current powerlifter Wayne Cormier shows a Summer Fun Program participant how to safely grip the weight bar during his powerlifting demonstration at the celebrity day, July 14.

The 19th season of the Saskatchewan Abilities Council’s Summer Fun Program in Swift Current includes a number of exciting changes.

One of the key changes to this year’s program was clearly visible during the celebrity day on July 14 at Salteaux Park, which involved participants from the Summer Fun Program as well as the City of Swift Current’s Park Play Program.
According to Summer Fun Program Co-ordinator Valerie Lenuik, it was the first time that the two program co-ordinators worked together to plan the celebrity day activities.
“From both of our perspectives, it is good to have integration and we just like to see that it’s not a disability,” she said. “We all have things that we can bring into this world and there is no reason why we have to segregate people. We’re doing it together to show that it can be done and we all can have fun together.”
Program participants enjoyed various fun activities at the celebrity day. Representatives from different organizations, including emergency services, City councillors and the local media, were invited to attend the event.
Kim Furey, the program senior supervisor at the Swift Current branch of the Saskatchewan Abilities Council, expressed appreciation towards Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault and Councillor Ron Toles for attending the event.
“It’s wonderful to have this relationship with the City where we can broaden the opportunities for the youth in our community and have them join in with the Parks Play Program,” she said. “It’s been an excellent addition to our program.”
This year’s Summer Fun Program in Swift Current started on July 4 and it will continue until Aug. 11. There are 21 participants, which is a similar number to previous years.
“We usually get 20 to 25 people that want to join our program,” Lenuik said.
The program accommodates participants from a wide age range. Activities for the younger group between the ages of six and 12 take place during the morning and the afternoon activities are for the older group between the ages of 13 to 22.
“Normally, the program was a Monday to Thursday program,” she noted. “This year we’ve extended it an extra day until Friday and new events.”
The recreational activities vary from Zumba classes to yoga and salsa lessons as well as swimming and cooking classes. There are some park days and they have already done a day trip to the lake.
“We’re planning on doing a few more day trips,” she said. “One to Treasure Valley for berry picking and petting some animals, and then another one we’re doing for the first time I believe is going to the Great Sandhills. ... We’re going to try crazy carpet down the sand hills when we go there. We will see how that goes. Then we’re also going to Eastend for the dinosaur museum.”
There will be a visit to Schimmel’s Dutch Bakery in downtown Swift Current to do some baking, there will be a tour of the radio station, and they will attend a Swift Current 57’s baseball game.
The Summer Fun Program provides a fun and supportive environment for children and youth with varying abilities to be involved in the community and to interact with their peers in a safe, supportive and engaging environment.
“Some of the participants have never really been in the public very much,” Lenuik said. “So for them it’s really been great socialization skills. ... Recreational activities and socializing with each other is the key aspect of it and just learning to have fun like everyone should on their summer holidays.”

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Matthew Liebenberg


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