The family who PLAYS together

With lustrous seafoam waves silver-tipped by a late-emerging sun, North Chesterman was a dazzling place to be on Family Day- and to cement lessons from the surrounding world.

“That’s an immature bald eagle, right?” one kid was heard to confirm from an adult, pointing at the still-bronze feathers of the bird soaring on the day’s breeze above the festivity.

“It seemed like a good thing to do on a Monday – to encourage some physical activity for the kids,” said parent Marcel Theriault.

Darryn Brown said her son’s fifth grade class at Wickaninnish Community School runs three days a week, and a new crosscountry club is supporting a love of running in the students.

“It’s bringing family together – and having a day to do it, too,” said Jay Rosene, whose dog Blazie joined in the fun.

“It’s about being outside and being together on Family Day. It forces us to think about doing something outside and together that’s about recreation and health – and it’s for a good cause,” said Keith Gibson.

Rosy-faced with a brisk breeze off the off the surf, his kids chimed in.

“I get to hang out with my family,” said Haydin Gibson, 9. “(I like) going out with my mum and dad,” said Karson Gibson, 7. The Tofino event ran parallel to a Ukee family play event sponsored by Ucluelet Parks & Recreation.

Organizer Joey Rukavina decided to pull Monday’s beach run together because she wanted her own kids to run one kilometre.

Rukavina looked at a knot of kids gathering for the event like little bees, and she smiled.

“That’s a success already, if all these people are going to run,” she said.

Widely credited as the founder of Family Day, former Alberta Premier Don Getty said in February, 2012 interview with this writer that monies flowing to welfare and helping fractured families in 1990 prompted him to start a day for nurturing families.

“I thought to myself that if we could get some kind of a push back against the family disintegration, we would have families happier and healthier and we would Despite initial pushback from within his own caucus, the day set apart for families became a hit in Alberta and other provinces – and that thrills the former professional football playerturned politician. “If you just quietly go to a rink or a hill, with the toboggans and things, and just sort of listen and talk to some of the families, young people or others, you’ll see it. They know why they’re there and what they’re doing,” he said.

Catch on, the idea did; the third Monday in February became a statutory holiday in Saskatchewan in 2007 and Ontario in 2008 – and in British Columbia in 2013.

“I consider family to be the rock on which we build our communities. It’s important,” Getty said.