COLUMN: Relaxed – but not too relaxed

August is fall programming time at Alexandra House

I have the good fortune to occupy an office in the middle of the summer day camp action here at Camp Alex. Through my window, I see three boys chase one another across the lawn. Through the open door, letting in a refreshing breeze on this warm day, I can hear the sound of children singing along to music. It’s a time to relax – but not too much, for August is also fall program planning time!

Today I want to share a few ideas of what we’ve been talking about here at Alex House.

First, we want to renew and refresh our volunteer-led programming. This fall, we will be planning a skills sharing day, inviting folks to an open house to learn about what neighbourhood houses are all about – and to explore ways that we can support you in sharing your passions, talents, and heart with the community. Grassroots, volunteer leadership strengthens neighbourhoods, reduces social isolation, and creates the change needed for communities to thrive.

Second, building on the success of our climate-change themed exhibition, “Our Common Future,” we will begin dialogue with our partners in the local arts community to renew and strengthen our support for collaborative, multimedia exhibitions and installations focused on fomenting social change.

Third, our leadership of a stakeholder table with a mission to reduce the risk of abuse, neglect, and self-neglect of at-risk LGBT2Q+ adults in the Lower Mainland has opened many doors for us. We will be rebooting our intergenerational potluck and discussion group “Sharing our Journeys” early in the fall; and we will be taking a leadership role in recruiting LGBT2Q+ seniors to host coffee circles in care homes and neighbourhoods, to consult with other queer-identified seniors about what they need to feel less isolated and more supported.

Finally, our summer Neighbourhood Fun Nights have continued to attract dozens of folks of all ages to enjoy relaxed evenings with kids’ activities, live music, a door prize, and a low-cost dinner. We want to consult with our patrons about creating monthly Fun Nights in the off-season, as well.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about these initiatives as they begin to take shape.

•••

Meanwhile, Neighbourhood Fun Nights at Alexandra Neighbourhood House continue Wednesdays from 5-7 pm through Aug. 21. We feature a low-cost, home-cooked, picnic-style dinner ($7/adult, $3/kids), live music, a door prize, and activities for the kids.

We have day camps available throughout the summer for school-aged children. With all the beauty and wonder of Crescent Beach to explore, weekly field trips, and lots of opportunities for explorative play, arts, and crafts; it is an ideal setting to enjoy summer fun. If you’re interested in day camps, or any of our programming, call us at 604-535-0015.

Neil Fernyhough is manager of Alexandra Neighbourhood House’s community programs. For information on programs/services at Camp Alexandra, call 604-535-0015 or go to www.alexhouse.net

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