Our Town

Volunteer program fixes up areas around Elizabeth Lake

Volunteers and vocational workers Jodi Buckingham (fourth from right) and Wendell Dalke (second from right) with the Cranbrook Society for Community Living summer program took a break from lunch and working on the trail around the picnic table area at Elizabeth Lake. The work is part of summer recreation programming that caters to the society’s clients with special needs.  - Arne Petryshen photo
Volunteers and vocational workers Jodi Buckingham (fourth from right) and Wendell Dalke (second from right) with the Cranbrook Society for Community Living summer program took a break from lunch and working on the trail around the picnic table area at Elizabeth Lake. The work is part of summer recreation programming that caters to the society’s clients with special needs.
— image credit: Arne Petryshen photo

The Cranbrook Society for Community Living (CSCL) has a program that is helping to maintain and spruce up areas around Elizabeth Lake. CSCL is working has been working with the Rocky Mountain Naturalists Society.

"We run a summer program with our clients with special needs," said Wendell Dalke, a vocational worker at CSCL. "We've been volunteering our time and doing some work out at the Elizabeth Lake trails there."

Dalke helps to run the summer recreation programming for the Community Living centre. The program has been running for a number of years and he's been involved for the past four years.

The trail project started three years ago and helped to qualify the society for a grant from Columbia Basin Trust. The CSCL started working together with the Rocky Mountain Naturalists Society as part of the project.

"It was kind of agreed upon that we'd work on the Elizabeth Lake Trails there," he said. "The first year, we restored a section of trail there from up on the hill where it's not flooded. The last year we restored another section of trail up there. And this year we did another little section by the picnic table."

The area's trail has been restored and is now looking great, he said.

"We have been continuing on with it," he said. "We thought it's a good program for the clients. We weren't specifically looking at the grant this time. It's a good way to get the clients involved in the community and get them volunteering."

He said it also helps them to feel and see  they are a part of the community.

"I imagine we'll continue next year as well as long as everything is still going the same way," he said. "We've just kind of allotted ourselves to keep working on the trails. We do about a four day week in the summer. So we work from the Monday to the Thursday, just in the mornings."

He said they meet around 9 a.m. and then work until 11:30 a.m. or noon.

"Then we have lunch and go do something different and try to cool off in the summer. So we work 9-12 on those four days, get as much as we can done and then we take the friday off," he said.

The summer recreation program at CSCL is run by two staff and they do all sorts of activities, as well as the Elizabeth Lake volunteer work.

"We do some major trips, like today (Wednesday) we're going to be doing some river rafting out Kimberley way," he said. "We're going to do a Calgary trip later in the summer. Basically we just try to get the clients into the community as much as we can, to get the clients comfortable with the community and also get the community comfortable with the clients."

According to the CSCL's website, its mission is to enrich the quality of life for individuals who have developmental disabilities.

The society provides support so the individual can participate in all aspects of living in the community. The vocational services provide a day service for adults who require continuous structured support to maintain a high level of independence in their daily lives as members of the community. It provides life skills, vocational training, employment and social recreation,

For more info go to cranbrookscl.ca/programs.

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