What started as a wild idea in a meeting with parents, came to fruition on Friday June 2nd and proved to be a true showing of generosity, community cohesiveness and collaboration.
Susan Lepin, an energetic Gr 7 parent of two at Gleneagles Ch’axáý and better known as ‘Snap’ in the children’s musical duo, Ginger and Snap; is also the driving force behind Inner City Love. The community outreach program, driven entirely by volunteer efforts of people like Susan and another GEC Parent, Christine Mattern, serves the needs of students at Admiral Seymour Elementary. Early in the new year, Susan brought the idea of connecting GEC Students in primary and upper intermediate grades and culminating this connection by hosting the Admiral Seymour students to a ‘Day in the Bay’. Soon our Gleneagles Ch’axáý PAC was on board, with PAC Chair Kelly Richter and her Co-Chair partner Grace Russell, and parent volunteer extraordinaire Shevaun Brown leading the way. After securing the support of Horseshoe Bay businesses, such as Sewell’s Marina Sea Safari, Troll’s Restaurant, Blenz Coffee, Cobs Bread, The Vancouver Aquarium and the Horseshoe Bay Spirit Gallery, Horseshoe Bay Search and Rescue… a plan came together. As our organizational team came together, more personnel and resources were committed in the name of sharing the beauty of our beautiful home with others.
Soon a pen pal relationship was built between the two schools with the commitment of Gr 6/7 teacher Charity Cantlie and Gr 2/3 teacher and GEC Vice Principal, Natalie Mendes. Student excitement built as the date approached. An activity filled day was in the works.
Horseshoe Bay, a common hub for travelers, both international and local, would provide a beautiful backdrop and experience for our visitors from Admiral Seymour Elementary. After a traditional Squamish blessing and welcome song with WVSD First Nations Education Liaison, Bob Baker, S7hplek, close to 95 students from both schools rotated through three stations over the course of our day. The day included a Sewell’s Sea Safari of the natural beauty of Horseshoe Bay and Howe Sound waters; a presentation put together by groups including Vancouver Aquarium’s AquaVan, Horseshoe Bay Search and Rescue Team and Adventure Smart; as well as an authentic Troll’s Restaurant ‘fish ‘n chip’ lunch for our guests, while being entertained and engaged by West Vancouver Police Cst. Jeff Wood and Chiaxstin, Wes Nahanee as they shared the stories behind the WVPD youth outreach canoe Ch’ich’iyuy.
In the end, the student and staff of both schools, coupled with the countless Gleneagles Ch’axáý parent volunteers that made this day possible, were left inspired and grateful. The gathering of an incredible community and the generosity of so many, made this day possible. Hopefully it also left the 55 students we hosted from Admiral Seymour Elementary, with an unforgettable memory of connect, collaboration, and new friendships. Thank you to the individuals that contributed and we hope that this is not the last edition of “A Day in the Bay” Huy chexw!