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Community Matters

All About Macdonald Island Park

June 26th, 2013

By: Theresa Wells

Jodie Mercier is the mom of a four and ½ year old daughter as well as a sports and recreation professional, so it is no surprise that her daughter is very actively involved in a variety of sports and recreation activities. “She loves to dance,” says Mercier, “and so she takes creative ballet classes. She loves tap dancing, too, and she can’t wait to start tap classes. She loves to skate, so she’s in some learnto-skate programs, and she loves to do swim lessons”. Mercier pauses and laughs, “We’ve tackled a lot of pieces of our facility with a 4 and ½ year old”.

The facility Mercier refers to is MacDonald Island Park, home of the Suncor Community Leisure Centre, the Miskanaw Golf Club, the Syncrude Aquatic Centre, the MI Dance Academy, and a bevy of other sport, recreation, and arts and culture amenities. For Mercier and her family the activities are simply a natural choice to pursue, since she is employed as the MacDonald Island Park General Manager of Sports and Recreation. As summer approaches and the usual programming winds down, though, Mercier and her daughter are looking at a new adventure – summer camp.

“This will be her first year at camp,” Mercier explains. “It’s a big step. The great thing is we have a whole range of summer camps to explore. At MacDonald Island Park we offer preschool camps for ages 3-5, which is more of a halfday for the little ones not ready for a full day. These camps still offer an opportunity for the children to experience all the amenities of the Suncor Community Leisure Centre while also helping to prepare them for early-entry programs and even kindergarten. Then we offer youth camps for ages 6-12, which are full day, week-long camps that run for 8eight weeks during the summer.”

The flexibility and variety of the camps available is apparent when Mercier explains that some of the camps have a sports focus but integrate arts and culture aspects, while other camps are more sport-specific , such as those centred on dance and golf. “We offer camps like ‘MI Chance to Dance’, which is almost like a “try before you buy” program for the little ones where they can try dance before you commit to an entire year. This summer class gives kids an opportunity to just try it for the first time. In some of our other camps we offer a variety of sports activities, from field house sports to the aquatic centre to fitness to the climbing
wall – basically everything we offer under one roof. Because we tie into so many other amenities though we are able to include an arts and culture component in these camps, too,” says Mercier.

“There are so many different options, but what’s great is that because they are just a week long commitment the camps are a great tasting session to see what a child’s interests are. So much of what we do at MacDonald Island Park is centred on youth, which is why the staffing component is so vital in terms of the family culture we create. Our staff is passionate about what they do, and they come with so many skill sets in terms of child development. Some of them are more sportspecific while others centre more around arts and culture, so I think the summer camps offer a lot of opportunity to provide a really unique experience to children of all ages,” says Mercier.

It seems it may be a busy summer for Mercier and her daughter. She says with a laugh, “I think the real question is
how many camps we can fit around my work schedule, because my daughter will want to try them all!”

Theresa E. Wells is the Communications Coordinator, Capital Projects, at MacDonald Island Park. An eleven-year resident of Fort McMurray and mother to a thirteen year old daughter, she is passionate about community and opportunities for children to explore the exciting world we inhabit.

Photo Credit to LuLu Photography

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