Margo Walsh-Leaman, former chairwoman of the board, presented the chairperson’s report. She discussed the board’s task of distributing wellness grants.
“It has been a privilege to serve as chair,” she said, adding the new chairman would be Bill Smyth.
Speaking on behalf of the Queens County Skate Park Association and the skateboard helmet initiative, Ian Kent said the association is considering a number of locations for the park.
“We’re meeting with council in June, and we have a very strong committee of students,” said Kent.
Plant to Plate
Plant to plate is the idea of food going straight from the garden to the plate, said Melanie Newell.
“We use the vegetables throughout the fall in the community,” she said.
Newell said the garden is a 50 by 70 plot, and the land is used from the Region of Queens. There is water and a tool shed with tools for people to use.
There are nine, 10-by-10 plots for individuals. The plots are free, and all people need to do is weed, seed and water. Six of the plots have been taken, so there are three left, said Newell.
“With the grant money that we received this year, we’ve been able to purchase a tiller, which helps us keep the weeds out of the garden to start the year and is going to help us till all the good manure into is at the end,” she said.
Plant to Plate also got seeds and a weed barrier. Newell said last year many weeds overtook the garden, making weeding difficult keep up with. She hopes the weed barrier will mean more from the garden this year.
Last year, said Newell, a lot of the food went to the food bank, some went to the Community Operated Open Kitchen (COOK) and some went to families.
“We’re hoping to put in some raised beds this year for easy access,” she said.
A couple of weeks ago, the garden got tilled, and Newell said the youth group from the Nova Scotia Native Council came to assist with staking it and putting in the weed barrier. Grade 5 students from Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy also helped with the garden.
The garden is beside the Queens County Family Resource Centre, food bank and daycare on College Street.
Tara Smith talked about children from the daycare going once a month to Queens Manor to visit residents.
She said the manor is pleased with the partnership.
“They enjoy a healthy snack. They develop relationships,” said Smith.
She said the visits also help to erase barriers and teach young people the importance of visiting elders who live in facilities.
High school students Kaitlin Scott and Dakota Rogers talked about their experiences as facilitators for the Key Leader Leadership Program.
“It really opened my eyes on how I can actually become a leader,” said Scott.
Rogers described participating in the program for his first time in Grade 9. He said his first year he didn’t like big groups.
“You learn a lot when it comes to leadership,” said Rogers.
Queens Youth Centre Association
Brandon Whynot, co-chair of the youth advisory committee, spoke about the Teen Access Zone and physical-activity programming.
One activity that has been happening for the past few weeks is yoga. Whynot said there were about 25 teenagers initially, and recently there were about 30 people.
He said he’s hoping next year there will be more yoga and zumba.
Louise Hopper, coordinator of the Youth Access Zone, said the goal is to try to use at the resources at Queens Place. Some of the funding will go toward helping to offset gym or walking-track memberships for someone who might not be able to afford one.
Queens Adult High School
Ian Kent, a teacher at the adult high school, presented the activity-based block, which brought students and teachers to Queens Place.
He said another part of the program was sustainable healthy eating.
“So we’ve been making fish cakes in the kitchen from scratch, we’ve been baking things from scratch, and using fresh food locally,” said Kent.
“The demographic at our school is very open to this concept. We’ve had some serious participants, and we’ve been going all through the semester.”
Kent said extra help from the Milton community churches also helped with the program. He added the program has been excellent in bringing the school together.
North Queens Community Health Centre
“What we did with our portion is the last 20 years we’ve been running ‘Good News for North Queens,’” said Gil Johnson.
It’s a small quarterly publication with information for seniors, explained Johnson. He said much of the information focuses on “the medical side of the business.” Also included are events happening in the community.
The publication goes to about 1,000 houses. The grant money helps with the postage cost, which is about $3,000.
“It gets to the seniors. It gets to the people who don’t have computers and things like that,” said Johnson.
With its grant money, the Seaside Recreation and Community Centre in Beach Meadows is working on building a fitness trail behind the centre, said Betsy Hartt.
“With the money gratefully accepted from the Wellness grant, we are extending that trail,” she said.
She said people could begin to use the trail around mid-June.
An initiative from the Anglican Church, Heather Kelly said the Community Operated Open Kitchen (COOK) started about a year ago.
It began as a way to give something back to the community, said Kelly.
“It’s all about nutritious and economic cooking, and it’s all about trying to bring the cooking back into the kitchen” she said.
Kelly said people come and prepare the food together, and the nutritional information and a budget are provided. She said COOK shows how simple and less expensive preparing food at home is.
COOK also partners with a number of groups, said Kelly.
The program happens the first Thursday of each month from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Trinity Anglican Church.
Get Moving in the Mornings aims to promote health and fitness in the community, said Patricia Armstrong.
Monday mornings are yoga classes from 10 to 11:30, and Armstrong said a variety of age groups participate.
There is a Karate class on Tuesdays. The first half hour involves a lot of stretches and warm-up exercises, said Armstrong.
“You’re not learning how to get a black belt or anything,” she said.
A stretch and strength class on Wednesdays offers aerobics and strength exercises. She said it’s very active, and a lot of people attend.
Zumba is on Fridays, which Armstrong said “tends to be for the younger ones.”
Junior Sailing Program
“I think it’s important because it gets young people out of the house in fresh air,” said Judy James, from the Queens Recreational Boating Association, about the Junior Sailing Program.
She said there are many children who should and would attend if cost weren’t a factor.
“With the grant, we will be able to sponsor 12 children in our program,” said James.
The money would have been used last year but was available too late, said James.
“Please, if you know anyone who has children between the ages of eight and 16 and can come out to sail, I’d be happy to provide transportation if the parents have difficulty transporting them,” she said.
There is a morning and afternoon slot, and children are on the water for four hours – weather permitting. James said if it’s raining, children would be in the clubhouse doing “sailing-like activities,” such as learning to tie knots.
“It’s a tremendous program, and it gets the kids outside and away from electronics,” said James.
Marla Rafuse took the floor to talk about Gorham Memorial Education Centre’s Nutrifit Program.
The idea of the program is to increase healthy bodies and minds to help students’ achievement and overall confidence, said Rafuse.
“We started with some healthy eating,” she said. “We purchased some things to stock our kitchen … and we’ve been teaching students how to cook.”
Students have also looked at menus and gone to the Superstore to look at flyers and get groceries.
Also in line with the idea of healthy minds, Rafuse said someone from The Youth Project came to do a presentation.
“It’s a not-for-profit project out of Halifax, and they deal with sexual orientation and gender identity,” she said.
She said the class presentation was “extremely well received.” She added after an hour and a half, staff told students to take a break. Later some returned to ask more questions.
The original proposal was to do yoga with the students, but instead students have been doing zumba.
Walsh-Leaman concluded the meeting by thanking people for representing their community organizations. She also thanked them for their work in promoting community health and recreation.