When I asked Candice to recall a fulfilling moment in her job as part of the Recreation and Leisure Program, she said: “It’s to see the guys happy and having fun with their friends. It’s the look in their eyes and the memories they’ll remember forever.”
In this issue, we are featuring our staff from the Recreation and Leisure Program. Candice Gray, who is acting Program Manager, says: “Dedication and passion are essential values in what we do and all our staff at Rec and Leisure has that in them.” She continues, “you have to be willing to go that extra mile and the end result is always well worth it. Especially at times like during the Extravangaza, that’s all we have in our heads.”
The Recreation and Leisure team is led by Julie Thiele the Program Manager, who’s away on maternity leave right now. Candice credits Julie’s leadership for the momentum the Program has taken over the recent years. Back in 2007, only 10 people participated in the program. Now, it supports 200 people all year around. “Julie is the mastermind behind this growth. She took something small and made it big”, says Candice.
Besides Julie and Candice, other team members are: Braden Deans, Kristyl Downing, Jenny Martin and Lindsay Green. The team operates like a family and gets along very well. Candice reports: “We have a lot of fun. We love our jobs.” That being said, there’s a lot of hard work that goes behind the scenes. Virtually!
Extravangaza is a theatre production created by the Semiahmoo House Society. The Recreation and Leisure team is responsible for all the details and logistics of producing 2 plays, salsa dancing and a band featuring talented artists with disabilities. The team also gives credit to wonderful facilitators: Katherine Graff who does the Musical Theatre and Paulina Weslowski who does the salsa dance. The big challenge is pulling it all together on the big night. It takes a lot of good communication, organization and coordination to achieve this. The process begins in September and goes through performance night in May. During the course of production and after the event, each member of the team debriefs on what went well and what could have gone better. “Every year, the team gets better at it”, reports Candice.
Extravangaza is not the only activity that the participants of Semiahmoo House Society enjoy. There are also adult nights, where participants get to do stuff adults do. That includes going to the pub and have a drink, for example. There are annual trips to exotic places. With the assistance of the Recreation and Leisure staff, our participants get to see the world independently from their family. Sometimes, these trips provide them with the opportunity to get away from the family for the first time and to enjoy good times with friends. Candice affirms: “That’s what adults do. And it’s good for the parents too.”
All of this is possible because of the great work of the Recreation and Leisure team. For full details of the Fall/Winter Recreation and Leisure calendar, please go to: http://www.semi-house-society.com/rec_and_leisure.html.
By Louise Tremblay, The Semiahmoo Foundation
Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community.
The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.