Seeding the Vernon Farmers’ Market

Seeds 1Spreading the word about what's growing in the region, and with seeds and information in hand, the Seed Library from the Okanagan College Vernon Library held an information booth at the Vernon Farmers' Market on Thursday July 10. Seed saving is an important component in sustainable gardening. Partnering with Patchwork Farms and the Vernon Public Library the program is taking root. The community has been receptive and appreciative of learning just how diverse in agricultural resources the region is and how to preserve, grow, and share the littlest of treasures – seeds.

The Seed Library has a goal of bringing broader awareness about our local plant diversity, and the role seed saving has in preserving our agriculture history. The project receives support from the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, USC Canada.

Following the success of this first information booth at the Farmers' Market, two more are planned for Monday July 20 and August 3. The market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, contact Karen Friesen or call 545-7291 local 268.

Okanagan College Foundation announces
new board directors

Five new directors have joined the Okanagan College Foundation board in 2015. At the June annual general meeting, Foundation President Alf Kempf shared that this new group represents a great diversity of skills and depth of experience which will help the Foundation achieve some important goals over the next term to net a positive impact on students in the valley.

Incoming directors are:

Anne Clarke, BA, B.Ed, MA (North Okanagan)
A retired English professor at Okanagan College, Clarke has served both as a Councillor for the City of Vernon and as Mayor (1987-1990).

Bob Eby, CA, (North Okanagan)
An experienced education administrator and chartered accountant, Eby has served as Okanagan College’s Vice President of Finance and Administration, Treasurer for the Okanagan College Foundation, and worked for the Vernon School District as Assistant Secretary Treasurer.

Gladys Fraser, MBA, PFP (North Okanagan)
Fraser has over 25 years of experience in banking and is a Branch Manager for Scotiabank. She is a Director and Vice President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, and President of the Vernon Montessori Society.

Keith Grayston, B.Com, CGA,  (Central Okanagan)
Grayston has 35 years experience in the financial sector, and recently retired as the Director of Financial Services for the City of Kelowna. Recently he served as a Director on the Board of the Government Finance Officers Association of BC.

Alan Sanderson, CA (Central Okanagan)
Sanderson is a partner with BDO Canada and previously was a partner of Sanderson & Company Chartered Accountants.

At the meeting, three of the Foundation’s current directors announced their retirement: Frank Richter retired after serving nine years, Vern Nielsen retired after serving five years, and Cher Watkins retired after serving four years.

Read the press release for the announcement here, and additional information about the Foundation’s current board members, mission, and projects is available at

Vernon on track for new facility

Vernon TrackIn tip-top shape, the new Greater Vernon Athletics Park (the track project) at the Vernon campus is nearing completion. The Regional District of North Okanagan is predicting an early August soft opening for use of the running track and inner field, which will be followed by a grand opening of all the facilities scheduled for late September.

Work on the facility has been progressing and the brilliant blue of the running track is the latest project development. Construction on the building that houses the dressing rooms, showers, and classroom space continues and the bleachers are scheduled to arrive in mid-August.
College employees can now book the new facility— including the track, fields, or classroom—for any classes or events scheduled during the next year. Please contact Jane Lister, Regional Dean Vernon Campus for any booking requirements.

Mini chefs whip up treats at Camp OC

Mini ChefMore than 1,200 young learners are keeping busy this summer on campus learning new skills while having fun at Camp OC, Okanagan College’s summer camp for children and teens.

Among them, eight-year-old Sarah Clarke has been showing that hot dogs don’t cut it for today’s young foodies. Camp OC’s Mini Chef Academy is all about going gourmet—and having fun in the kitchen.  She lists smoothie popsicles as one of her favourite dishes to date, and having fun with rolling chocolate and coconut balls. The best part of all: getting to eat the treats when done.

While enjoying their gourmet creations, children are also learning key skills such as measurements, math and vocabulary.

From now until Aug. 28 more than 100 programs are scheduled for kids at the Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon campuses. Programs cover a range of interests from culinary to Extreme Survivor Challenge, to LEGO Robotics and to Game Programming using Minecraft.

Space is still available in some courses. To find out more or register, visit the Camp OC website. Read the press release here.

Valley auto dealers’ donations continue to rev up College’s trades training complex

The valley’s automotive dealerships have contributed more than $600,000 to date to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign, and among those are Kelowna Kia and Kelowna Toyota, which each announced pledges of $50,000 to the campaign in recent weeks.  The donations will help fund construction of two new classroom spaces in the new three-storey building at the Kelowna campus.
Kelowna ToyotaOver the years, Kelowna Toyota has hired a number of Red Seal graduates from the College and seen first-hand the quality of the training students gain. As technology in vehicles advances at an ever-increasing pace, Kelowna Toyota’s Dealer Principal Jack Kofoed said it is vital for automotive tradespeople to have a solid foundation of formal training. Kelowna Toyota has also donated two vehicles to Okanagan College in recent years giving valuable hands-on training opportunities for students. Once road-ready the vehicles are auctioned off by the Okanagan College Foundation to generate funds for student bursaries, emergency funding, and other support.
Kelowna KiaPointing out that investing in new tradespeople benefits many sectors of our regional economy, not just the trades, Winfried Gradnitzer, Dealer Principal of Kelowna Kia said it is important to help young people get started in automotive careers. Building a skilled labour force is both good for the industry and it also helps create a positive impact on many other sectors.
In the past year, Okanagan College and Okanagan College Foundation have disbursed more than $133,000 to trades students in scholarships and bursaries to help make trades training accessible.
Read the Kelowna Kia donation announcement press release here, and the Kelowna Toyota announcement here. More information about the campaign is available online.


Employees’ outstanding trip embodies vision statement

San Juan TripThe College’s vision statement says “we create outstanding educational experiences for our learners, both students and employees.” Recently a group of current and former Okanagan College employees made the outstanding experience a reality as they rafted together for seven days down the San Juan River from Bluff to Clay Hills, Utah. Retired College Geography Professor Steve Doyle inspired the trip.

The group, comprised of employees from a number of departments and campuses, created a microcosm of the OC community in the red hills, as they rafted, floated, hiked, kayaked and socialized together. Along with academic friends from across Canada and the USA, and accompanied by local river guides, together they traveled the remote and historic 83 mile (133KM) route through swelling 1,000 feet switchback canyons and class I-II rapids in daily sweltering 42 degree heat. It proved to be an engaging and educational experience for all.

Photo (L-R): CJ Mitchell, Don Kolysher, Bob Groves, Tim Walters, Steve Doyle, Melissa Munn and Doug Birtwistle

Jul. 14, 2015, Vol. 10, Issue 8


Fall registration open for
Little Scholars YMCA

Little Scholars Child Care & Preschool at the Kelowna campus is now accepting fall Preschool program registrations for children ages 3-5. Year-round childcare services for children aged newborn to 5 years are also available. To register or for more information, visit the website or call 250-491-9622, extension 237.

Employee health and wellness newsletter

The July edition of The Balance Sheet newsletter provides an overview of services available to employees from Optum PPC Canada, as well as tips to help maintain balance in our personal lives. It includes an article providing recommendations on how to prioritize friendships and relationships as we lead busy lives.

Okanagan College’s employee and family assistance provider, Optum PPC Canada, provides information on issues regarding your health and wellbeing. On Wednesday July 29, join an orientation webinar to learn more about the support available to employees and their family members. Register here.

View the calendar of upcoming Optum webinars and monthly themes here.


Share your story at Connections 2015

Help us broadcast the diversity at Okanagan College. Public Affairs is producing a video presentation for Connections 2015 that highlights the various paths employees and students take to Okanagan College. To share your story about how you came to arrive at the College, follow this link. All employees, new and veteran alike are encouraged to participate. Filming will take place during the first two weeks of August, with segments filmed at each campus.

Aug. 18 and 19 – Employees can still register to attend one of the two days of the College’s 10th annual employee learning conference Connections taking place at the Kelowna campus from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Each day will have a similar agenda: an overview session at 9:30 a.m., followed by a morning workshop, lunch to be provided, and an afternoon workshop.  Concluding the day is a social event featuring appetizers and samples from the Okanagan: Big Surf, Rider Cider, and Okanagan Spirits. This is an opportunity to connect with your peers, have fun, and celebrate the OC network.

To plan your day, see full descriptions of each workshop on the Workshop Planner.

Explore effective learning & teaching environments
“Planting The Seeds” event

Aug 24 and 25 – New and continuing faculty are invited to participate in a two-day interactive workshop held at the Kelowna campus that will focus on creating effective learning and teaching environments. The "Planting The Seeds" event is presented by Learning and Teaching and IT Services.

Much like planting a seed and watching it grow, learning and teaching provides a rewarding, organic experience of growth. This two-day workshop will look at multiple topics to foster learner centered educational environments.

Register for the event by emailing Carla Whitten. Questions about the event can be directed to Ross McKerlich at ext. 4921. 

Tiltshift Conference
registration open

The first annual Tiltshift Education Technology Conference at Okanagan College will be held on Friday Sept. 25 in the evening, and continue throughout the day on Saturday Sept. 26. The conference is presented by Learning and Teaching and IT Services.  

Conference sessions will explore themes, including:

  • Making the classroom a better place to be
  • Learning online
  • New and improved tools for student learning
  • Technology leadership

Registration fee to attend the conference is $50. To register for the conference or for further information please visit the Tiltshift website or contact Ross McKerlich


The College’s School of Business Dean Dr. Heather Banham has been elected to the inaugural board of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia. The Okanagan Saturday shared the announcement in the July 4 print edition.

The Vernon Morning Star published a story on July 5 about Okanagan College’s construction students lending a helping hand to build the Lake Country Food Bank. The Lake Country Calendar also featured the story online.

Kelowna Toyota’s donation to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign was noticed by the Kelowna Daily Courier’s business reporter Steve MacNaull in the July 8 More trades money article, and in an online article.

Adding to the auto dealers’ generous contributions to the campaign, Kelowna Kia’s $50,000 donation was noted by and in a Kelowna Daily Courier brief. 

Kelowna Capital News columnist Max DeHart captured the news of five new directors joining the Okanagan College Foundation Board in a July 8 brief. The Vernon Morning Star reported on three of the new directors being from Vernon in the Local joins foundation board article.

The second Kelowna Cactus Club Cafe location opening helped bolster the Kelroy Munroe Memorial Scholarship at the College, as captured by the Kelowna Capital News online.

Mini chefs whipping up treats at Camp OC made for a tasty read in the Kelowna Capital News July 8 print newspaper and the Kelowna Daily Courier print and online editions.

From young chefs to young authors, the Penticton Herald published a photo of the BC Youth Writers Camp hosted at the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the Penticton Campus in the newspaper’s July 7 edition.

Convocation celebrations at the Vernon campus garnered some additional press coverage with a published photo of the College’s Dean of Science, Technology and Health Yvonne Moritz and Doug Manning, Vice Chair of the College’s Board of Governor’s in the Vernon Morning Star.

The success of OC students shone in the annual BDO Kelowna Top Forty Under 40 profiles in the Kelowna Daily Courier. In total, 15 alumni were featured, including Jason Blucke (Investors Group), Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, Evan Dizak (formerly of Community Futures), Jason Ranchoux (Junior Achievement), Molly Ciardullo (Central Okanagan Foundation), John Perrott (District of West Kelowna), Dustin Serviss (Serviss Wealth Management), Donnie Ungaro (Culinary Ink), Drew Vincent (Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission). Read the profiles here.

Embodying student success, the Vernon Morning Star print and online editions featured an article about Jes Hatt, detailing his pursuit of both adult literacy and personal training programs at the College that helped him start his own fitness business.

The Foundation’s recent creation of the Anne and Ted Chudyk Memorial Awards in Memory of George Ryga earned more ink in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s July 1 print edition.

A July 3 Vernon Morning Star article comments that local residents welcome the new track at the Vernon campus with mixed emotions.

Honorary Fellows in the news: Annette Sharkey provided expert commentary about a strategy being developed to support residents needing to leave a Vernon motel in a July 3 Vernon Morning Star article. And, In an early federal election poll Honorary Fellow Dick Cannings, NDP candidate for South Okanagan – West Kootenay, is leading with a 44 per cent lead, as reported by the Penticton Herald.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Axelle Bazett.

To ensure your submission is included, please send all details at least one day in advance of the newsletter’s publication.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Jul. 28, 2015.