Strong support has helped make Storytime in the Park a weekly event.

Strong support has helped make Storytime in the Park a weekly event.

Storytime in the Park turns a new page

Catch 'The Sandwhich Thief' on Aug. 10 at Storytime in the Park.

By Terrill ScottSupervisor, Agassiz Library

Library buildings are wonderful, but there are times I have looked at pictures of places like Hawaii where there are shelves of books on sandy beaches. I sigh and wish that we could have some of that too. But then, its summer and I remember Storytime in the Park. Every week we get to sit in the great outdoors with books in our hand and share a snack and playtime with friends old and new. It ‘s not quite a library in the tropics, but I happen to think it’s the next best thing.

We start each event by talking about how Story Time in the Park, does not happen by magic. It happens because many people, businesses and organizations believe in it, and want it to exist. So much so, that they commit to it by contributing some cash, whatever they are able, and we the committee put it all together and make the magic happen.

This summer has been exceptional as Storytime in the Park has made its comeback to a once a week event for the months of July and August. The first week there were 329 humans, large and small, young and old, present.  Seeing that, I feel its time to talk about how this all happens. One of the reasons, was the availability of some starter funding this year. As well, there was unconditional support from local governments and local non-profit committees.

The bonus however, and maybe the thing that allowed Storytime in the Park to be a weekly event, is the presence of businesses as financial contributors. Fortis has been a supporter for two previous years, and The Agassiz Harrison Observer has long been our media sponsor and best cheerleader.

This year however, one can add to this list by looking up and down the local streets to see how Subway, The Dollar Store, Super Valu, Agassiz – Harrison Printers, Agassiz Produce, The Deli, Petro’s Canadian Pizza and others have done their part with help and discounts.

Tourism Harrison showed its support early in the year, as Storytime in the Park does its time in Harrison Hot Springs in August.

Harrison Agassiz Chamber of Commerce offered their fundraising support by raising money at their Excellence Awards night and donating it to Story time in the Park.

A newcomer to the business funding family is Subway, but more about that later.

Here is the untold story of how Storytime in the Park happens …  the one that isn’t published in a pretty book.

When you look at the cost of buying a new, good quality book, supplying food and entertainment or activities for over 200 people weekly, you don’t have to be a math-wiz to figure out what is needed.

This summer, it was remarkable to answer phone calls and emails from organizations and emails from agencies offering funds. You can see these literacy & community minded folks on the V.I.P. page of the website, storytimeinthepark.wix.com/storytime#!blank/c16s4.

If you are wondering why so many  businesses have put their money out for this, here is the what actually happens beyond the books, puppets and pizza at Story time in the Park. There is no admission – everyone is welcome, anyone can attend; it takes place in a community park – no need to go where some feel uncomfortable; there is food – food and anything go together to make what’s happening even more valuable;  there is fun – fun and laughter help people break that barriers so that children find each other to play and the adults around them meet on common ground.

And finally there are books – studies have proven that reading early helps with successes later in life, but also book ownership itself has a huge impact on educational achievement for children. Reading is education, – is health – is the power to make ones own great future in the world.

That, my friends, is what is really happening at Storytime in the Park. It is businesses recognizing a need that allows them to help the children and families in their community make a better life, one book at a time.

Michelle Mailhot, parent, local resident and owner of Agassiz and Popkum Subway in Agassiz, and a member of the Chamber says it best: “I have attended this program for years with my children and it has been enjoyable and memorable for my family. Storytime is so valuable to the community because it encourages child and family development through literacy, with fun. As a business owner too, I am happy to financially support Storytime and see this continue.”

So this tale of fun and sneaky literacy continues and summer has many good Wednesdays left to enjoy Storytime in the Park. July has been exceptional for weather and good times in Agassiz, and so we head to the plaza in Harrison Hot Springs for August. With the other books and activities planned, Michelle, her family and business will be there, as always. Join them at Subway Day on Aug. 10 as we read “The Sandwhich Thief” and enjoy some yummy food and special surprise interactive fun. See you out there!

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Black Press file photo.
COVID exposure recorded at Kent Elementary

Students, families encouraged to keep monitoring for symptoms

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read