I was pleasantly surprised when my plane landed in Smithers BC…the beauty of the mountains was breathtaking as I woke in the morning to brilliant sunshine and snow capped peaks.
Smithers (pop. 6000) is located in the Bulkley Valley of northwestern British Columbia, on the Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway (Route 16), approximately half way between Prince Rupert and Prince George.
Smithers was in week 5 of their program with the focus on Family Traditions, Healthy Community and Healthy Together for Life. My experience at this session highlighted some of the common themes I have experienced at each site visit.
The participants LOVE the cooking portion of the program and enjoy trying new and healthy recipes. There was willingness and enthusiasm from all age groups for tasks ranging from dicing and mashing sweet potatoes to layering parfaits. The participants also actively participated and enjoyed the discussions as the group unfolded.
As an outsider for each site visit I have seen how every group has been different in style and content emphasis based on cultural, geographical and facilitator driven adaptations, but the outcomes of cooking enjoyment and discussion interest remained high.
Smithers had a wonderful range of activities that were outside the box and very successful for their participants. They brought in a yoga instructor and physiotherapist for the youth group and I had the pleasure of joining for an introduction to Frisbee golf using actual Frisbee Golf Discs (which were then the take home for participants). I also joined a game of Up! with balloons and was surprised at how much we all moved and increased our heart rate while having fun.
The 13 to 18 youth group in Smithers has a unique story but I will save this for a future blog post created by the youth themselves…stay tuned!