Inquiring minds wanted to know whether they could keep pigs, chickens and kangaroos in their Trail yard when the mayor turned up to the library to talk about his role in the community.
Trail Mayor Mike Martin was the first VIP in Your Community to present recently to a boisterous group of five to 12-year-olds in the After School Club at the Trail and District Public Library.
Questions moved from what animals could be domesticated in the city and just how many to bigger slides and a zip line at Gyro Park.
“All I can say is maybe one day we can look at that slide, but right now we’ve got our hands full,” said Martin, who received a round of applause when he informed the group that council is still pressing forward with a skateboard park.
“That sign has been there for a billion years,” said an outspoken girl, who was quick to question just when the city was going to get this long-overdue project going. Martin explained that council just approved relocating the project to Gyro Park’s boat launch and abandoning its former plan of a new development on Rossland Avenue in the Gulch.
“Gyro Park is a family park, and we believe that’s where the skateboard park should be,” he said. “Columbia Basin Trust is offering an opportunity to gain some significant funding, and we’re counting on that $400,000 to move this forward.”
The mayor made his way through a series of questions crafted on hand-made Valentine’s and then took some other inquiries in rapid fire. The young citizens were interested in when the new library/museum will open, what a mayor really does in office and what he likes to do when he’s not acting on the city’s behalf.
“Right now what I like to do is be mayor, honestly, because it takes up so much of my time,” he said, noting his supportive wife and well-rounded council.
Martin was overjoyed with the opportunity to engage with some children in the community and left with a new appreciation for what programs are offered to the young learners out of the Trail library.
“I really applaud the group that’s actually putting this together,” he said. “What a wonderful opportunity for the children to share very many aspects of our community.”
VIPs in Your Community is one of the creative ideas introduced by children’s programmer Darcee O’Hearn. The program invites very important people into the library to talk about their jobs on a local and sometimes global level Tuesdays from 3-4:30 p.m. until the end of May.
Martin was the first to connect with the group of kids, who sit tight for a well-rounded list of guest speakers to come. This week, members of the Trail and Greater District Detachment brought a police dog in and next week the kids will be getting a visit from local firefighters. Other contributors to the program include (Coun.) Kevin Jolly of Kootenay Savings Credit Union, Gina Ironmonger of Trail Community in Bloom and Sue Benedict of Trail and Castlegar Child Care Resource and Referral Program.
O’Hearn is overwhelmed by the response she’s receiving from the community.
“The idea behind this program is you get to know what’s in your community and then that way you can learn how to network and pull from your community to then go global,” she said.
O’Hearn is introducing larger concepts to the group in preparation for a global project in September when she hopes to take advantage of a maker space in the new facility. The kids, with parents participation graciously accepted, will be crafting goods to sell at Christmas craft fairs then and the money raised will go toward the purchase of a well in a developing country.
Before launching VIP in Your Community, O’Hearn introduced Passport to the World, which gave kids a taste of different cultures through presentations that highlighted traditional food, clothing and stories from around the world. By the end, the kids were taking the lead and presenting their country.
“There is literacy in so many forms,” said O’Hearn, who stands behind creative programming that teaches skills from research to power point presentations and the confidence needed to be community leaders of the future.
“It’s only been with the new director (Kathryn Foley) that I’ve been able to express myself and all of my ideas, and she doesn’t stop me,” said O’Hearn.
“There are no boundaries as long as my ideas are reasonable.”