This year’s Story Time in the Park line-up promises to be a very ‘moving’ one.
Kids will be moving their arms and moving their legs.
They’ll be moving silly and moving slowly. By the end of the summer, they’ll be moving all over.
“We’re going to be focusing on physical activity this year,” says Mallory Lothian, the program’s new coordinator.
“We have a story about yoga,” she said. “And we have dancing stories and climbing stories.”
Story Time in the Park was started many years ago by Heather Stewin, and has been entertaining families on a regular, rotating schedule in Hope, Boston Bar, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs every summer since.
At each Story Time stop, pre-selected books are read aloud by volunteers from within the community. Families then get a copy of that book, a free snack or lunch, and are treated to some live entertainment.
For the last four years, it was all coordinated by Kyle Kjemhus and Dustin Martin. But this year, both have moved onto different ventures, making room for Lothian to take over. Monday was her first day on the job, and she’s been busy organizing the food, books and volunteers for the upcoming season.
Born and raised in Hope, Lothian just may have found the perfect summer job with Story Time in the Park.
During the school year, she studies at UFV in Abbotsford, and is working toward her bachelor of general studies. But for nine summers, she volunteered at Camp Squeah, and most recently she’s been working as a youth group leader at the Grace Baptist Church. Even as that position ended, she still volunteers with the kids there, alongside her husband, Nolan.
“For teenagers, it just seems so hard for them to find people who are a positive influence in their lives,” she said. “It’s nice to be that positive person in their lives, and it’s good for them to have someone their age to look up to.”
In fact, it was her own positive experiences as a youth at Camp Squeah that helped her decide to return as a volunteer.
“I knew volunteers had run it when I was there and I wanted to give kids the same experience I had,” Lothian said.
She’s looking forward to continuing working with kids in her new role, and is familiar with the program. At age 25, she knows the previous organizers Kjemhus and Martin, and has even had the chance to stop in at events in the past.
Story Time in the Park starts up again the first week of July, traveling around the Fraser Cascade spreading the joys of literacy everywhere it goes.
The schedule is Mondays in Boston Bar and Tuesdays in Hope, running right through August 29.
On Wednesdays in July, Story Time comes to Agassiz in Pioneer Park and on Wednesdays in August, they visit Harrison Hot Springs.
Watch for more details in The Observer through the summer, or contact Free Rein Associates at 604-869-2279.