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Rec of the Month- Ritchot Recreation

October 08, 2021 08:43 | Anonymous

What is your organization mission statement and values?

Ritchot Recreation follows the Municipality of Ritchot Mission and vision:

Mission: A sustainable Municipality that engages residents in their quality of life and place.

Vision: To evolve as a leading Municipality, attracting growth and fostering connectivity.

Ritchot Recreation has 4 pillars:

  1. Facility Support
  2. Volunteer Support and Development
  3. Programs/Events
  4. Green Spaces

Ritchot Recreation is a relatively new department in the Municipality of Ritchot. It was formed in 2013 after the completion of Recreation Needs Assessment that recommended the hiring of a recreation director to support programs, events, facilities and most importantly local volunteers. We have 3 arenas, 3 community halls, 1 large event centre, 4 large multi-use parks, and a growing trail network. Each facility is governed and operated by a volunteer board of directors.

How many employees are currently employed in your organization?

We have 2 full time employees and 1 part time employee in the recreation department. Amber Mamchuk- Director of Recreation Services, George Humeniuk, Director of facilities and Special Projects and Liam Harder, Program Coordinator.

In 2018 the Municipality of Ritchot completed a recreation master plan. Following the adoption of the plan, the department grew from 1 employee to 3. A director of facilities and special projects was hired with a focus on lifecycle and capital projects and a part time program coordinator was hired with a focus on the development and growth of a summer camp program and enhancing year-round programming. The two new positions have allowed us to provide more recreation opportunities for residents and to begin the process of developing an asset management plan for our facilities.

What types of programs, services or events is your organization currently offering?

As we started to plan for fall programs, we felt that we needed to connect with our residents to gauge their comfort level with in person programming vs virtual programming. We sent out a survey in the late summer. Most people were interested in in-person programming with a strong desire for outdoor/physical activity programming. Our fall programming lineup is as follows

  • 4 Family Forest days in partnership with Fort Whyte
  • 8 Guided Trail walks
  • 2 Shake, Rattle and Roll- physical activity program for toddlers and parents
  • Intro to skating
  • 2 Fitness classes
  • 4 Multi-generational Art Programming in partnership with Art City
  • 3 Babysitting courses
  • Old Tyme Dances

We have hosted 2 events this fall

• Volunteer Celebration- Night at the Movies- Drive In at the TC Energy Centre in IDC where we showed Back to the Future and offered a movie concession.

• National Truth and Reconciliation StoryWalk®: children’s books about the Canadian Residential School system were posted along pathways and trails on Sept. 29&30 as an opportunity for our residents to learn and reflect.

Are there any upcoming programs, projects or event your organization would like to share?

We are supporting many exiting projects in our Municipality including:

  •  Completion of a new community centre
  • 2 large park development/revitalization projects
  • Dock and Boat Launch project to increase access to the Red River
  • Development of a new trail system
  • Installation of a 9-hole disc golf course

What are the biggest challenges your organization face?

Many of the challenges that we face are common across the sector. This year has been especially challenging from a program perspective as we have had to cancel and postpone many programs due to changing public health restrictions. We also rely on access to local schools to offer programming and we are currently unable to use them.

Can you describe your local recreation facilities, parks, trails and spaces?

The Municipality of Ritchot is a beautiful part of south-eastern Manitoba. Recreation in our communities is growing in a positive way and we are seeing residents connecting more and more with our trails and green spaces. Our facilities are well maintained and run by dedicated volunteers. If we had to sum up our recreation facilities, parks, trails and spaces in 3 words we would say that they are:

  1. Community Driven
  2. Diverse
  3. Growing

Can you give us some points of pride?

First and foremost, we are proud of the volunteers that create and maintain our community spaces. They give so much of their time, ensuring that their fellow community members have a space to play and connect. Their passion and dedication is inspiring and maintaining a positive relationship with them will always be a top priority for us.

As a department, we are proud of how we have put our Recreation Master Plan into action. The process of developing the plan was a positive experience in engaging residents and stakeholders and we have relied on the document to guide strategic priorities. The plan has resulted in developing a Recreation Advisory Committee (RAC) that has provided recommendations to council on enhanced support for facilities. The RAC is made up of local volunteer board members from a variety of special interest groups and facilities and they act as a sounding board for the Recreation Department.

Other sources of pride include the development of a summer camp program our ability to support funding applications.

During the summer months we use local arenas and parks to offer a summer camp program. Over the last 3 years our summer camp program has grown significantly, and the program fills up quickly. The camps bring in a variety of experts to guide activities based on a weekly theme. We are fortunate to have incredible, local summer camp staff.

We work very closely with our facility boards to identify priority projects on a 5yr cycle. Grant writing can be challenging and time consuming at the best of times. One way that we support our volunteers is by taking on the writing of applications with their input. In the last 6 years we have supported groups in funding applications totaling over $1.4million.

“Now more than ever parks and recreation….”

We are very fortunate to have a supportive council and that has had a great impact in our ability to advance recreation in the Municipality. We asked them the question “Now more than ever parks and recreation….” And they said:

“Now more than ever parks and recreation play a leading role in supporting wellness and a means to stimulate positive and healthy pursuits. There is an expectation from communities that this will remain a focus and be expanded upon. It feels like the appetite for new activities, new facilities, and new green spaces is limitless.”

“Now more than ever parks and recreation are such an important piece for our mental health. As restrictions change nationally, it is important to be able to provide a space where residents can get out to walk, run, sit, play, soak up some sunshine and just get out of their space in a safe manner. People are looking at recreation to provide some semblance of normal for them and their families, whether that be being bringing the kids to the ball diamonds, the arena, dance, but overall, just getting into a routine.”

“Now more than ever parks and recreation remind us that we are not alone. They are the spaces where we connect with one another and our environment.”

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