June 19th, 2024

Resilient YQL program offers purposeful fun on the water

By Dale Woodard on August 31, 2021.

Submitted photo - A participant from the Resilient YQL program has a laugh while trying out a kayak Saturday at Henderson Lake.

For over a year, Resilient YQL founder Tannis Chartier has been offering a variety of programs for Lethbridge’s homeless population, running out of the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.
On Saturday afternoon at Henderson Lake, Chartier and Resilient YQL’s latest outing made a big splash as a group grabbed some paddles and took a course in kayaking, taking advantage of a sunny, warm day with minimal wind.
“Since about last July we have been doing programs at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen,” said Chartier. “It started with an art program and it took off. We decided that art isn’t necessarily for everybody but recreation is definitely for everybody. It’s a huge catalyst for meaningful change and purpose in life. So this is our kick-off event for that. We thought we would take a few people kayaking. People are definitely enjoying it. We took four of them out kayaking.”
Were the students quick studies?
“Oh yeah, they were faster than me,” said Chartier with a chuckle.
With the kayaks now out of the water, more activities are planned at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.
“Every Thursday we’re going to be running events,” said Chartier. “We have Bingo next Thursday. We have card game nights, we’ll have an art night and a movie night and we’ll have somebody doing a drumming night. A professor from the university has a drumming class and he is going to come and run that on Thursdays.”
The movie nights have been the most popular thus far, said Chartier.
“We get up to 50 on movie night. It’s great. We have popcorn and pop and watch a movie together. But (kayaking) was good.
“This is fun and that’s my whole job, for them to have fun. Because I think that is the catalyst for meaningful change. We’ve launched a more wide variety of recreational programs. It’s an open space for them to try something new and somewhere to be that is not on the street.”
Among the kayaking students doing a little paddling was Scott MacKenzie, a first-time kayaker who caught on pretty quickly once he got on the water.
“It wasn’t so bad,” he said. “As long as you observe everybody and watch everybody. Then you just take the lessons you learned from everybody else and it’s not so hard once you get out on the water. It was cool. It doesn’t take you long to learn once you get out there. It was a good trip.”
MacKenzie credited Chartier and her programs for reaching out and assisting Lethbridge’s vulnerable population.
“It’s great to have a person like that in these peoples’ lives that has some meaning for them and if they can all take it in then hopefully there will be more people here the next time she does this,” said MacKenzie. “Then it would be really great for everybody to get it out there and get more people involved. It would be really great for everybody else. I just wish for the best for everybody.”

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