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YMCA summer camps, offering physical and social-emotional components, accepting kids

Camps will get kids moving

It is clear the YMCA of Southern Interior BC wants to get as many kids moving as possible this summer.

The local charity has quadrupled the size of its Kelowna summer camp program to 2,000 openings. There will be nine weeks of School-Age Camps for those between the ages of six and 12, and they will operate out of the YMCA’s Rutland and Mission locations.

“We saw a need in the community,” says Graeme McCallum, the local YMCA’s senior manager of child and youth programs. “As a health-focussed non-profit, we saw a gap in recreation-based camps locally, including sport and swim camps, and want to encourage children and youth to get active, and try new things.”

The camps will run for a week at a time. Each will focus on either basketball, soccer or multi-sport, but that is not the only activity the children will do. They will hit the pool and play their chosen sport in the morning, and in the afternoon they will go outside and choose from a variety of activities during down time, including games, crafts and more.

“Each of the camps has a physical literacy component and a social-emotional learning component, and then we’re also instilling our YMCA core values, which include being caring, honest and respectful of others,” McCallum says. “We want to keep kids engaged and learning to while getting them active, moving and healthy, mentally and physically, throughout the summer.

“There’s multiple ways to do that, including swimming or sports. It can be meditation, it can be yoga, it can be tag, or it can be all the fun games that kids enjoy playing.”

The YMCA is also offering Kinder Camps for those between the ages of three and five, though space is limited. They run daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rutland and Mission locations, and include swimming, other physical activities and outdoor play.

The organization’s mission is to make the summer camps accessible for all, so it is encouraging all parents to inquire no matter how much money is in their bank accounts. Financing is available to make the camps available for all families, including those with multiple children.

“Thanks to our generous donors, we have a funds available for people for financial assistance to remove barriers for families,” McCallum says. “We want to make sure that camps are accessible to everybody in our community. I really want to encourage people to reach out and inquire about that.”

The local YMCA is also looking to hire students who are interested in running the camps.

“It’s a really great training opportunity, a great summer job, and an opportunity for people to build some skills and get some experience,” McCallum says.

Learn more about the YMCA’s summer camps on its website here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Okanagan College will host government-funded welding program this summer

Free welding training on tap

Welders wanted.

That’s the message the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Canada union would like to express to those who are looking to improve their welding skills. Kelowna’s Okanagan College campus will host a training program this summer that will be fully funded by the Government of Canada.

“Most of the people who will want to do the class already can weld,” Boilermakers international representative Richard MacIntosh says. “They may have structural welding tickets. They may be what’s called a B pressure welder in B.C., and they need to get their pressure A ticket. They could be journeypersons, or they could be apprentices, too.”

The Filling the Gap Advanced Pressure Welder Training Program will be held from July 4 to Aug. 31, offering nine weeks of daily hands-on training with highly qualified instructors. There are six weld qualifications, based on provincial jurisdiction, available to those who take part in the program.

There will also be opportunities to earn safety tickets like fall protection, confined space and basic safety training.

MacIntosh says there are many jobs available for welders of all kinds. The Boilermakers union has welders at LNG Canada, Site C, Trans Mountain and the shipyards in B.C., at nuclear power plants in Ontario, at refineries and upgraders in Alberta, and at mines in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“There’s opportunities, and if somebody really wanted to go travel and work in another part of the country, we can help people do that, too,” MacIntosh says. “The country is booming. It really is.”

Canadian Welding Bureau, the Boilermakers and the federal government all got together to produce the training program, which will include theory exercises.

“So if we get these guys and gals with their tickets, we can put them into the Boilermakers union and then, in turn, use them to fill job orders and give them career opportunities,” MacIntosh says. “So we’re helping our employers and helping out people.”

Financial assistance is also provided to eligible participants for the duration of the program.

To learn more about or to register for the program, visit its website here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Kettle Valley Steam Railway offers memorable journey led by century-old steam engine

A train ride to remember

The engine is rolling once again for the Kettle Valley Steam Railway.

The iconic Okanagan attraction kicked off its 2023 schedule last weekend and will continue to offer scenic rides Saturday, Sunday and Monday until the end of June, when its busier summer schedule will begin.

“We have the most amazing heritage railway around,” KVSR business manager Tasandra Crozier says. “We have a wonderful, 111-year-old steam engine.”

The 16-kilometre KVSR is all that remains from what was once a bustling railway system throughout the B.C. Interior. Passenger service ended in the 1960s, and freight stopped rolling in 1989. Most of the 500-kilometre line was lifted, but not the part that runs between Summerland and 16 kilometres to the west.

The Kettle Valley Railway Society was born, and now it lets people enjoy the sights and sounds of old-time rail travel, along with beautiful vistas.

There are two trips a day, with departure times of 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and passengers can sit in open-air cars or vintage coaches, which were built in the 1940s.

“We leave the station, and we head down to the Trout Creek trestle,” Crozier says, noting the train at one point is 238 feet above the canyon floor. “As we go along you can see views of Summerland as well as orchards and vineyards."

When the train reaches the end of the line, the Spirit of Summerland engine uncouples from the cars and prepares for its return to the station. Guests are then able to get off the train for 10 to 15 minutes.

“It’s a great opportunity to get a picture up close and personal with the steam engine," Crozier says. "Then you board again, and you head back to the station. So in total it’s about an hour and a half-long trip.”

Kettle Valley Steam Railway also conducts several special events throughout the year, including a dozen Great Train Robbery and BBQ rides, as well as two Murder on the Rails murder mystery trips. They sell out quickly, so don’t delay in getting a seat.

More information about Kettle Valley Steam Railway can be found on its website here.

New Garden Bistro chef creates new spring menu featuring fresh food from nearby garden

Fresh start at Garden Bistro

Peak Cellars is taking freshness to an entirely new level this year.

The Carrs Landing winery is home to Garden Bistro, which features a vineyard-side patio with breathtaking views of surrounding orchards, rolling mountains and Okanagan Lake. It is also located 100 metres away from the estate’s half-acre organic vegetable garden and two greenhouses.

And that is the key part of this delicious story.

The new chef at Garden Bistro, Jeremy Tucker, is going to wear quite a path between his kitchen and the garden this year, incorporating as many fresh vegetables and herbs into his dishes as possible.

That is great news for those who will be dining at the bistro this year, who will enjoy fresh items like spring peas, asparagus and garden greens. The new spring menu features dishes like asparagus salad, spring pea pasta and prosciutto arugula pizza.

“The menu was created to complement our estate wines, which tend to be quite crisp, dry, aromatic whites and rosés,” says Tanja Martell, the communications and public relations directors at O’Rourke Family Estate and Peak Cellars.

“He brings a fresh take on incorporating our garden program into every bite that’s on the menu and perfectly pairing it with our estate wines, allowing them to shine.”

Tucker formerly worked at CedarCreek Estate Winery and most recently at a boutique heli ski lodge. He hails from Prince Edward Island, so there is plenty of East Coast influence that will get your tastebuds dancing.

The winery’s sunny season hours are now in effect. The tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., while the bistro’s hours are noon to 8 p.m.

Garden Bistro is also kicking off its live music series. Some of the valley’s top musicians will be delighting diners each Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon. All you need is a normal reservation to get your seat.

In other O’Rourke news:

• The family’s second winery, O’Rourke Family Estate, is still under construction and a couple years away from completion, but people can keep tabs on its progress by signing up for the winery’s newsletter here.

• Its award-winning 2020 Chardonnay, which placed fifth at Chardonnay du Monde, is now available by the bottle at RauDZ in Kelowna.

“For the true wine lovers,” Martell says, “it's a fantastic opportunity to go have a great meal and try a bottle of that exquisitely elegant, award-winning Chardonnay.”

• O'Rourke Family Estate will be conducting another Masterclass on June 30. Until the winery opens, the Masterclass sessions will be the only way for guests to experience the property, taste the incredible wine and have the opportunity to purchase their favourite bottles. The event on June 30 is a Masterclass in Chardonnay and seafood pairing, hosted by winemaker Nikki Callaway. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit the website here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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