Letter-writing: a forgotten skill? Something people in an age of emails and texts don’t need to learn?
The sight of six children seated around a table at the Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre on Friday afternoon, writing letters by hand, and addressing and sealing envelopes, suggested otherwise.
They were participants in the first day of a Maple Creek camp run by the Swift Current-based Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre, which provides programming and resources to help people settle in Southwest Saskatchewan.
The centre rolled out its youth summer program last week, with its Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) team heading activities.
In Maple Creek, the children enrolled hail originally from the Philippines and are in the Grade 3-Grade 9 cohort.
They were guided by Rebecca Anderson, a community connection worker.
One of the camp activities was writing “pen pal” letters to seniors at Cypress Lodge. See photograph on Page 1.
Afterwards, the group went to the Post Office to send their missives and learn about the postal service.
The busy schedule also included a tour of the Jasper museum with assistant curator Jean-Luc Mudingayi, creating quilts, and making strawberry jam. It was a lot to pack in between 10am and 3pm.
The next four weeks promise to be just as hectic. Activities on the agendas include going to the new fire hall, an RCMP session on bicycle safety, catapult-building at Maple Creek branch library, getting information on library cards, a trip to The Salvation Army, a visit to the Town Hall, and learning about Indigenous crafts.
The camp will run for five weeks at the Jasper Centre (July 9, 16, 23, 30 and August 6), always on a Friday at the same times.
Icasiana de Gala, executive director of the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre, said the objective of the youth summer program was to learn while having fun.
She wished to thank the Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre for partnering with the welcome centre and agreeing to be a home base for the Maple Creek rural day camp.
“We will be evaluating how the program works,” she said.
“Whether we hold the program again next year depends on that evaluation.”
Registering with the camp can be done online. Information on the centre can be obtained from its website or Facebook page.