From judo to A Taste of India, folk dancing to Mother Goose, Haida Gwaii Rec is running all kinds of new programs this year.
Supporting it all is David Lomax, who started as Haida Gwaii Rec’s new co-ordinator in September.
“We’re facilitators,” says Lomax, noting that Haida Gwaii Rec can run its own programs, partner with other groups, or offer basic supports such as insurance, all to get more local sports and culture programs off the ground.
“If you come up with a new idea, the best way to go about it is to try a pilot project, run it for six or eight weeks, and see what kind of interest we get,” he said.
Among this winter’s new offerings are Latin dance and ballet classes taught at Queen Charlotte’s Sun Studio by dancers Jessica Ruskin and Ceitlynn Epners.
In Skidegate, Sensei Tom Argue recently launched a new judo class for youth and adults Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary.
Back by very popular demand, Ashley Lomax is also running round two of her new butt-kicking Fitness Bootcamp in Masset.
Not to be outmatched, Sandspit’s Amber Faktor started offering circuit training last week, while Ruth Bellamy is offering a Total Body Conditioning class in Port Clements that combines boot-camp exercises with pilates, circuit training, even kick boxing.
If the buzz on Facebook is any sign, plenty of people are also keen to try a six-week Taste of India cooking class that just started in the new kitchen at Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay in Masset. This month will also see Haida Gwaii Rec’s popular after-school program launch a Grades 4 to 7 Glee Club and kindergarten to Grade 3 Kids Choir at Sk’aadgaa Naay.
Lomax said he looks forward to launching a new Haida Gwaii Rec website that will help islanders keep better track of everything on offer, from registered classes to drop-in sports and weight room orientations.
Organizing such a variety is a natural fit for Lomax, who grew up playing provincial rugby, junior hockey, and rep-level soccer in Hamilton, Ontario.
Trained as a general machinist, he made fitness his full-time job in Toronto and then Vancouver, where he managed several fitness clubs over 10 years.
Vancouver is also where he met his wife Ashley, who grew up in Queen Charlotte. When they moved here this fall with their two young children, it was the end of a two-year effort to return to Haida Gwaii.
“I’m enjoying all the community involvement,” he said.
The biggest challenge, he said, is launching programs that last longer than the pilot phase — Deavlan Bradley’s Shitu Ryu Karate classes are maybe the best example, having run four years with plenty of youth and adults signing up. Haida Gwaii Rec gets a core budget plus a Moresby Island travel grant from the North Coast Regional District, and it has many volunteers as well as staff. But program fees are also needed to keep activities rolling long-term.
Even though he was busy settling into a new role, Lomax found enough of his own rec time last fall to try surfing with his kids on North Beach, and hopes to get some fly-fishing in soon, too.
“I’m up for anything,” he said.
For the latest on Haida Gwaii Rec programs, visit www.hgrec.com or check out the Haida Gwaii Rec and Haida Gwaii Rec ASSAI pages on Facebook.