Community Picnic June 14 – Fun for a Good Cause
By Robert Hawkes
The James Bay Community School Centre is having its 17th annual community picnic on Wednesday, June 14 from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the James Bay Community School Centre grounds at 140 Oswego St. Admission is free to the event, although there are modest costs for food items and some of the attractions. The picnic is a great opportunity to have fun, interact with others in our community, and support a valuable organization.
I contacted Kaitlan Hamm, the Recreation Program Coordinator at the James Bay Community School Centre, to learn more about this popular event, and the plans for this year. She enthusiastically invited the James Bay community: "Kick off the start of summer with some fun for the whole family at our annual Community Picnic and Silent Auction! Come to enjoy live music, entertainment, delicious and affordable food, sweet treats, inflatables, games, face painting and more!"
The silent auction held in association with the community picnic has items on display and available for bids the day prior to the picnic, as well as on picnic day. The silent auction is open from noon to 9 pm on June 13, and from 9 am until about 6 pm on June 14.
The silent auction is an important annual fund-raiser for the organization. Kaitlan describes the silent auction this way: "Come to the centre for a chance to bid on some wonderful silent auction items. We will have a diverse auction set up in the Activity Room, complete with free refreshments while you browse. All proceeds from the silent auction go back into supporting our community based programming."
Last year's picnic was attended by about 400. The funds raised went toward adult drop-in programs and to subsidize the youth nature education program called Nature Adventures. Kaitlan expects the funds from this year's event to replace broken audio-visual and early education program equipment.
The centre’s Childcare Coordinator, Jeff Stubbs the, added his positive reflections: "The picnic is the centre’s highlight of the year, a place where parents can enjoy a bowl of chili and the live music while their children play games, bounce in castles and build connections that go beyond the school day." He went on to add: "My family has enjoyed the last seven picnics, each year has been better than the last. The quality of the music, the silent auction, and games has been top notch."
Many of the programs at James Bay Community School Centre take a break over the summer (school-age summer care and daycare programs do continue) and the community picnic serves as a celebration of the past year. Kaitlan describes it this way: "The James Bay Community Picnic is the perfect way to kick off summer. It’s a time to celebrate everyone’s hard work over the year and have fun with family and community members."
Suzie at the centre front desk added: "Fantastic family friendly event - I just love it!" Kaitlan anonymously shared some of the survey responses from the 2015 event: "All ages together having fun!" "... people were totally having a good time!" and "Seeing all the wonderful people in James Bay!"
The James Bay Community School Centre offers programs for people of all ages from toddlers to seniors. The Centre provides opportunities for creative expression, healthy living, life-long learning, and so much more. Whether your interests are in learning a new language, mastering a computer skill, or picking up a new activity such as karate, yoga or zumba, there is a class for that at the centre. You can drop in for various sports, join their walking group, or attend a senior's or community dinner.
In her closing remarks Kaitlan reflected on the role of the James Bay Community School Centre and this event: "Over 50,000 people pass through our little Centre’s doors each year, bringing people employment opportunities, and affordable recreation, leisure, and childcare. This event is a lot of work – but so worth celebrating our community and raising funds to improve our programs. My favorite event of the year!"
So why not support one of the jewels of this amazing community through attending the community picnic and participating in the silent auction?
You can get updates on this and other James Bay Community School Centre activities and events at their comprehensive website www.jamesbaycentre.ca.