The Summerland section of the 25th anniversary of the Rick Hansen Relay will follow the route shown on this map.

The Summerland section of the 25th anniversary of the Rick Hansen Relay will follow the route shown on this map.

Lots to offer for family fun

Having moved to Summerland from Southern Ontario, I welcomed the small town change but did not expect so many programs offered.

Getting to work with Summerland Parks and Recreation has allowed me the honour of getting to know our community by connecting with our residents through our fitness centre and helping to coordinate the numerous events run each year.

Having moved to Summerland from the mega-city area of Southern Ontario, I welcomed the small town change but did not expect so many programs to be offered both for families and residents.

The bonus feature for moving my family here was that Summerland had an indoor pool and a recreation centre. I knew recreation would be an avenue for me to meet my new neighbours and make lifelong friends.

I remember meeting the former fitness programmer, Lois Dickinson, and talking her ear off when I first moved to say how impressed I was with the programs offered.

Little did I know that I would be helping in that role a year and a half later.

I take great responsibility in helping mould the programs and community events we put on through Summerland Parks and Recreation.  From the Earth Day Celebration, to Move for Health Day, Family Santa Skate and Giant’s Head Run/Man of Steel Triathlon.

I enjoy these events so much when I see families and community members getting together to enjoy all Summerland has to offer, and we have so much.

I never tire of looking out onto our Lake Okanagan and the numerous gorgeous public beaches, strolling along at the pathway at Peach Orchard Park with my children and venturing out on our trails and parks, not to mention enjoying our Recreation Centre every day as the head coach of the Summerland ORCA swim team.

On Wednesday, May 2 something quite unique is arriving in Summerland. It is the 25th anniversary tour of the original Rick Hansen Relay.

This nationwide relay started August 24 in Newfoundland and will be in Summerland for two days, May 2 and 3.  Summerland Parks and Recreation, in conjunction with the Rick Hansen Foundation, will have an End-of-Day Celebration as the final medal bearer arrives into Dale Meadows Sportsplex at 6 p.m. for the official ceremony.

We have extended the festivities to include Move for Health Day events prior to the ceremony and are offering a free community barbeque, sponsored by McDonald’s, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

I remember the turnout and excitement as the Olympic Torch Relay came to Summerland in 2010, and this Rick Hansen Relay will also be celebrating so much locally — highlighting our community difference makers, supporting inclusivity, accessibility and spinal cord research.

At the time of printing, we understand Rick Hansen will not be in Summerland because of other commitments.

However, we are committed to supporting his great legacy and celebrating our community with healthy, family-fun activities, giveaways and barbeque while being entertained by local musicians and wrapping up with a fabulous community social.

The following is a sample of the local people chosen as medal bearers for the 25th Anniversary Rick Hansen Relay in Summerland:

Carol Bacon, Sarah Bergstrom, Claire Bowyer, Bob Mack, Dwayne De Leeuw, Mark Duncan, Randell Booth, Dale Macdonald, Gemma Watts, Joe Stead, Monique Goffinet Miller, Quinn Ferguson-Moberg, Heather McDonald, Miriam Bambey, Darby Selinger, Laurie Wright, Alex Palmer, Chris Pond, Tom Reilly, Shannon Clarke, Ashley Cutts, Matthew Baran, Josiah Baran, Doug Campbell.

If you have questions about being selected as a medal bearer, you can contact the Rick Hansen Relay Medal-Bearer Hotline at 1-855-735-2974.

Joanne Malar is a three-time Olympic swimmer, 2012 CTV Olympic Analyst, Summerland Parks and Recreation programmer, ORCA head coach and proud mother of two.


Events schedule

Here is the events schedule for the Dale Meadows SportsPlex on May 2 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Rick Hansen relay.

4:30 to 5 p.m.: Zumba (Latin dance) Fun for the whole family.

5 to 5:45 p.m.: Family Walk-Stroll-Run along a 1.2-kilometre loop at Dale Meadows.

6 p.m.: Official Rick Hansen End of Day Celebration with final medal bearer arriving.

6:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Free community barbecue and social.