Tofino rec. helps locals be the best they can be

Jess Towers says retention key for recreational success.

Winter is crawling along and a glimpse of spring has emerged on the horizon so Tofino’s recreation department is luring locals out of the offseason doldrums with a full slate of New Year programming.

The district has released its Winter/Spring program guide and is thrilled to be offering a packed roster of opportunities.

“This is one of the fullest programming seasons that we’ve had in a while,” recreation programmer Jess Towers told the Westerly News. “What we’re probably most excited about moving into 2016 is just the fullness of the programs that we’ve got going on.”

She attributed the full calendar to a solid roster of consistent instructors.

She said it takes a while for a new program to gain steam and instructors often need to stick around for more than one season to start seeing a strong following.

“Instructors do get followings, particularly with adults,” she said.

“It’s also important to have solid local facilitators because they understand the community’s needs so it’s nice to have people who are in the community who can say ‘Hey, I think this program would work and these are the reasons why.’ They’re coming from the ground level.”

She added popular local instructors help boost attendance and are tuned into the community’s recreational needs.

“The proof is in the pudding, that’s why we have such a full program year right now,” she said.

“It’s not me sitting in a programming role and having to go out there and convince people to do this, that or the other thing. People are saying, ‘Hey I see a need or I see a market here and this is what I want to do’ and they just go with it and make it their own and people really like that.”

She hopes to see Tofino jump into the many opportunities available and said it is important for locals, regardless of age, to be active both physically and socially.

“It’s good to get out there and stay healthy and, living where we do, on the West Coast it’s a pretty common thread that a lot of people have. We like to be outdoors and we like to be active and we like to be healthy,” she said.

“It reflects down to our kids too. You can tell your kids to go out and stay healthy and do all this stuff but leading by example is definitely important and in our guide we are trying to cater more to adults than we have in the past.”

She said keeping kids active in an important service for the district to provide.

“It creates a strong thread of community even just going out and being involved in something,” she said.

“It’s neat for kids to be able to meet with other kids outside of the classroom setting, the classroom setting is one thing and going out and meeting with your soccer team or going out and swimming is a totally different experience that the kids are going to have.”

She added youth need healthy avenues to expend their high energy levels.

“I can’t speak for all kids, but I know that when I was a kid I had a lot of extra energy to burn and extra curricular activities were one of the things that was able to keep me even keel,” she said.

“It gave me a place to expend that energy in a healthy way.”

She encourages anyone with an idea for a class they’d like to facilitate to connect with the district office at 250-725-3229.

“We really encourage people if they have an idea for a class or something that they’re passionate about to come and sit down and have a chat with me and we can roll through the options for them,” she said.

“We’re always looking for new instructors and new programs.”