A Vernon school classroom was moved into a seniors care facility in the Meadows School Project. Campbell River may be the next city to do such a project.

Campbell River tagged to set an example in bonding generations

Campbell River may soon lead the entire country in bridging the gap between the generations.

The city is slated to become the first beneficiary of a pilot project to foster intergenerational relations within the next six months, dependent on funding.

The project will serve to connect the different generations within the community through different activities and thought processes.

“The project will help people see that no matter what their age, they can do things together, and it will encourage people to think about crossing the generations in everything they do. And the activities build resiliency and depth in their community,” says Sharon MacKenzie, executive director and found of i2i Intergenerational Society which exists to reconnect the generations at a community level.

MacKenzie, a former teacher, moved her intermediate class in Vernon into a senior care facility for two months to help teens and seniors bond and better understand eachother. From that, came the idea for a community-wide intergenerational project in five cities – Campbell River being the first followed by Fort Saint John, Sidney, Squamish and Summerland.

The project is based on three principles, all of which will be led be one, full-time, paid local co-ordinator. The first idea is to do an inventory of all the intergenerational activities currently happening in the community, such as the elders of local First Nation groups sharing their culture with the youth of their tribe.

The second is to look into why intergenerational activities that used to exist have folded. MacKenzie says a Grade 9 class from Phoenix used to visit Yucalta Lodge for half a day, once a week and she would like to see that going again.

The third part is working with interested groups, whether they be social justice, school, First Nation or faith-based groups, to get them started with projects that will re-connect the generations.

The facilitator will aide Campbell River in how to get all generations working together, whether it be through “Baby Steps” (a one-time thing such as seniors and school kids planting bulbs together once a year); “Mamma Steps” (more regular, such as the Girl Guide troop holding their meetings in a senior centre); or “Giant Steps” (a consistent connection between the generations, such as re-locating a classroom to a seniors facility).

MacKenzie already has support in kind from city council, School District 72, RCMP, several health interests and representative First Nations.

The project would be at no cost to the community and the facilitator would be in place for three years, depending on funding. MacKenzie is asking for $500,000 for all five community pilot projects. She met with the federal Minister of State for Seniors Julian Fantino on Monday and is waiting for a response.

MacKenzie wants Campbell River to be a leader for the rest of Canada.

“We want to make a repository of all the ideas and activities happening in Campbell River and share it on our website. We want Campbell River to be a model for Canada on how to create an intergenerational community,” says MacKenzie.

She chose Campbell River because of its size and the “tremendous” support she received from council and the school district as well as its demographics.

MacKenzie says after the three years are up, the plan is for the facilitator to step away and for the community to carry on the project itself.

She suggests re-orienting ourselves to the way in which we do things. If the Lions Club secures a grant to improve the community, instead of club members putting up signage in the park themselves, invite a local minor hockey team to help, says MacKenzie.

“Hopefully by the end the community will have learned how to think intergenerationally. It’s not a package but a process to change our way of thinking.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photographer Eiko Jones delivered the 11th Annual Haig Brown lecture at Tidemark Theatre

Jones also screened his newly completed movie Heartbeat of the River at the event

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Float-plane crash near Oyster River leaves pilot injured

The plane crashed shortly after take-off from a private property and had no other passengers on board

Follow the frog: Greenways Loop signed for Go By Bike event

On Oct. 3, dress in green and get out on the newly-signed Greenways Loop

NDP solution to homelessness is to ‘warehouse’ people: BC Liberal leader

Andrew Wilkinson made a campaign stop in Campbell River and was asked about homelessness

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Most Read