In Northern Focus: Dreams to Recreational Reality in La Loche

Leonard Montgrand is taking his home town seriously. And personally. As executive director of the La Loche Friendship Centre and program manager for the local Sport, Recreation and Culture District, Montgrand speaks of plans for his town’s recreational complex and how the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) has assisted.


Over sixty per cent of La Loche’s 3000 residents, over one-half under 35 years of age, now enjoy a state of the art skateboard park, games court and youth centre. More than fifty youth and adolescents use these facilities daily as they engage in basketball, volleyball and winter rink activities. The La Loche Friendship Centre is now planning an outdoor playground to add to its architecturally designed multipurpose recreational complex.


The La Loche Town Council, Friendship Centre, the Sport, Recreation and Culture District, Juex Canada Games and the Community School, along with the CIF and hundreds of resident volunteers, have contributed to this safe, supervised recreational complex in La Loche. Asphalt was poured, lighting added, and bingo fundraisers were held to raise matching funds for CIF’s grants since 2010.


“The Community Initiatives Fund has been the catalyst and fundamental for La Loche to attain its multi-purpose recreational centre,” says Montgrand. “CIF’s grant support has given our community the confidence needed to make this dream a reality. Our youth, all residents actually, now have a state of the art recreation centre with many options for participation … and we’re setting a standard for nearby communities!”


The CIF has once again contributed through a recent grant under its Community Vitality Program, offering support for an adjacent outdoor playground.


Montgrand also expresses his personal gratitude. Video games have become a distant second choice for his young family who now enjoy basketball and skating.  La Loche has never been so vibrant!


  Photos credit:  Leonard Montgrand, La Loche Friendship Centre      



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Building a Legacy of Leadership: School Children Take an Active Lead

Considerable pride and self-esteem among youth and adolescents is being fostered through the Take the Lead program and this pride is growing in each of four volunteer schools in the Moose Jaw area.


Led by the South West District for Culture, Recreation and Sport in Moose Jaw and supported through the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF), students in these four elementary schools experience leadership as they demonstrate physical activities, encourage belonging, train and mentor others, and have a great deal of fun just by getting involved!


Grade 7s and 8s from Avonlea, Glentworth, Lindale and St. Mary schools, along with their adult coaches, lead and guide students’ physical activities and play at recess, school assembly, at noon and after school hours. With only one day of instruction from the South West District for Culture, Recreation and Sport, these students and their coaches actively encourage physical activity, respectful group behaviour, and lead by example. To them, being active has never felt this good!


Elaine Oak, principal of St. Mary School in Moose Jaw, explains. “We’re seeing enormous value by participating in the Take the Lead Program. Those in older grades are learning how to lead and guide those younger. These young leaders are proud of their ability to help others, benefit from the exercise, and learn about mentoring, leading and working together. Those in younger grades have great role-models, too.”


“Everyone benefits!” says Marian Campbell, community development coordinator for the South West District for Culture, Recreation and Sport in Moose Jaw. “The teachers see uncommon involvement among students not easily engaged and observe increased self-esteem among those leading the activities.”


“Even parents are volunteering to coach these after-school efforts, and more schools and now communities are showing interest in adopting the Take the Lead program as an after school training initiative for youth. The breadth and impact of delivery is far exceeding our expectations.” says Marian.


The Take the Lead program is supported through CIF’s Physical Activity Grant Program, designed to contribute to active living and physical activity programs throughout Saskatchewan.


       Photo Credits:  St. Mary School, Moose Jaw             

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Saskatchewan in motion's re:activity!

Saskatchewan in motion has recently launched its newest multi-media campaign to encourage Saskatchewan families to become more physically active. The campaign is called re:activity and is directed to parents and their families. Saskatchewan in motion is part of the Community Initiatives Fund’s programming to support active living and physical activity through local, regional and provincial initiatives.


This campaign includes short videos for parents and their children, together, learning of the benefits of more physical activity each day. The first in a set of five-minute webisodes is posted here. It features one family’s journey to reduce screen time and increase physical activity. The webisodes include complementary tools and resources to help busy Saskatchewan families become more active.  


“Your kids aren’t as active as you think they are,” says Cathie Kryzanowski, general manager of Saskatchewan in motion. “Less than 15 per cent of Saskatchewan children and youth are getting the physical activity they need every day to be healthy and productive.”


Almost everything counts. Dancing and swimming, canoeing or walking—even yoga or gardening—all contribute to physical activity. Sound easy and a bit like fun? Find out more by visiting Saskatchewan in motion


Physical activity and healthy living go hand in hand. Why not gather your family, plan for some fun, and mix up your activities for about 60 active minutes a day?  Visit re:activity today for ideas to get you moving. 

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Insinger Church is Ramping It Up!

Ramping It Up!

They didn’t ask for much. But they sure knew what they wanted.

The aging congregation at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Insinger, Saskatchewan was finding entry to the church an increasing challenge. Most viewed those six concrete steps as daunting, especially when tightly grasping handbags and hymnbooks. Those in wheelchairs, unable to master the stairs without help, would often not attend.

A long-standing parishioner and aged grandmother declared, “I want only to be carried into my church twice:  once when christened and once in a box!” Offers of assistance from the more able members were often viewed as compromising.

“Our church members wanted their independence, and we wanted to abide by their wishes, so we decided a wheelchair ramp was in order.” says Mike Dwernichuk, Church president. “We get lots of visitors to our landmark church, as well, and this will help ensure visitors’ access, too.”

Last fall the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Sts. Peter and Paul received $484 from the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) through its Community Vitality Program, precisely one-half of the cost to purchase and install a wheelchair ramp. The parishioners, ranging from 65 to 92 years of age, are matching* CIF’s grant by volunteering their time to help prepare for the ramp.

“We wanted to do some of the work ourselves, too. So we’ve volunteered to shovel sand and gravel, and paint the trim to finish it off. ” says Dwernichuk.

Plans are underway for the new wheelchair ramp with a host of volunteers ready to put it together. Visitors and members alike will then enjoy an extended welcome mat at Insinger’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Sts. Peter and Paul’s Sunday services!

Photo credit:  Mike Dwernichuk

Insinger is 57 km (35 mi) northwest of Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

*Matching funds through service-in-kind or cash must accompany CIF’s Community Vitality Program grant.

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Heating Up Mayfair's Hall

Heating it Up!

February in Mayfair is Theatre Time.

Community theatre isn’t just about the planning and theatrical practice. It’s about the guests and residents, a great location and the overall experience. At Mayfair in northwest Saskatchewan, residents are gearing up for their February theatrics in their community hall.

“Our hall is the life blood of our community,” says Kolin Bulmer, president of Mayfair’s Recreation Board. “It’s the venue for our annual community theatre in February, and for many weddings, graduations, reunions, even large funerals. It’s also used for wildlife fundraising dinners, horn measuring and local fish-fry’s, so it (the hall) serves our community well.”

“But we were always working on those hall furnaces so people stayed warm during the February theatre performances. … Until now.” says Bulmer.

Bulmer explains it is vital as well as expensive to maintain the Mayfair hall, built in 1981. With funds from the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) Mayfair has recently replaced three hall furnaces and new duct work so this February’s theatre will be comfortable.

“We’re always fundraising with bingos or theatre drama nights, and with $18,000 from the CIF, we’re helping sustain community life, and our great community spirit.” says Bulmer. 


ATTENTION READERS:  Mayfair’s Community Theatre will be held Saturdays and Sundays the last two weekends of February:  the 18th and 19th, 25th and 26th. Kolin Bulmer, tel: 306.445.9721 or has details.


Photo credit:  K. Bulmer, Mayfair Recreation Board

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