Charlotte Diamond was a big hit at last year’s event.

Family Literacy Week jam packed with free events

Kat Eddy, executive director of the Campbell River Literacy Association, has been working to organize Family Literacy Week – Jan. 22 to 27 this year – since about mid-October, and she’s pretty happy with how it has come together.

“It’s always amazing to me how generous Campbell River is,” Eddy says. “We’ve been doing this for eight years now, and when I was making phone calls to our traditional community partners when I was starting the organizing of it, everyone was all, ‘Oh yeah! What are we doing this year? How can we be a part of it again? What do you need?’”

And so, thanks to those sponsors and partners, families will once again have access to many events, as families, to which they wouldn’t otherwise have had access.

“All the community events within the community, as per usual, are free,” Eddy says, beaming.

The week kicks off with a free family swim on Sunday, Jan. 22 at Strathcona Gardens, which Eddy says is maybe her favourite event of the whole week.

“It’s just a super fun day,” she says with a smile, leaning back in her chair in her office at Robron Centre and picturing the scene at the pool last year. “If you’ve never gone to one of these, you should really go experience it. There are just children everywhere. It’s definitely loud, but the atmosphere is just so great, and to see all these kids, of all ages and from all backgrounds, just having fun and playing and laughing together is really something.”

Throughout the week, Eddy says, all sorts of community partners and sponsors have donated time and energy to make sure there’s always something for families to do together.

“The school district is having the Rotarians go read in schools again, the city has donated their $2 drop-in programs for the entire week – so there are 10 programs at the Sportsplex and Community Centre that are completely free to try out during the week.”

The Museum at Campbell River is also offering free admission to families for the week (Monday to Friday), the Campbell River branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library has a full day of events scheduled for Jan. 25 and Laichwiltach Family Life is opening their gymnasium for a night (Thursday, Jan. 26) for a family drop-in event.

The week wraps up with a performance by award-winning children’s entertainers, The Kerplunks, at the Tidemark Theatre.

The reason Family Literacy Week is so important, Eddy says, is that it’s about families learning  and having fun together, rather than as individuals.

Which is why this year’s week-long event is encouraging parents and children to unplug from their devices.

“It’s about taking some time, getting off your phone and engaging with your children. Take your kids out and leave your phone in your car. You really don’t need it for an emergency, you’re bringing it with you to hang out with it. Leave it in your car and spend a half hour full-on tuned into your kids. You might be amazed at their insights and how incredible they find the world. You can watch the world through Facebook – and I, myself, am someone who does that, so I’m not casting judgment – or you can watch the world through your children. I think that’s the way to go.”

For more information on the events planned for the week, “Like” the Campbell River Literacy Association on Facebook – they will be posting all of the schedules there – follow them on Twitter, or look for the fliers that will be circulating around town at various locations.

“And if none of that works for you,” Eddy says, “just give us a call here at the office at 250-923-1275 and we will email you a schedule directly.”