Seeding the Vernon Farmers’ Market
Spreading 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 www.okanagancollegefoundation.ca.
Vernon on track for new facility
In 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
More 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.
Over 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.
Pointing 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
The 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