The Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA) is delivering a unique, safe and active family-friendly experience by taking community members on a literary adventure through Brown Drive Park.
Ladysmith’s first-ever Storybook Walk is launching on Family Day, February 15, 2021 thanks to a community-supported partnership between the LRCA, Town of Ladysmith, Ladysmith Rotary, Ladysmith & District Credit Union, Vancouver Island Regional Library – Ladysmith Branch, and La Rosa Gardens residents.
“The support for this project has been incredible,” LRCA Program Coordinator Tanya Reid said. “In a time when COVID-19 is keeping us apart, our partners and sponsors have come together to help make something truly wonderful for our community. We now have magical trail through the forest that will beckon families every week with a new and exciting book.”
The Storybook Walk will be in place at Brown Drive Park for a period of 24 weeks until July 31 with a new book installed every Tuesday. Reid said that Brown Drive Park is the ‘perfect’ location for the storybook walk. It’s already a popular park with Ladysmith families, and it borders on forest trails — some of which have been included in the Storybook Walk trail.
Julia Donaldson’s “The Gruffalo” is the first book being showcased. Reid said that it was a great pick for the first book because it tackles poignant topics like finding resilience in the face of fear.
Ladysmith Rotary provided the materials and the elbow grease to make the signs and the Town’s Parks crews took care of the installation. The project is made possible by the generous donations from the Ladysmith & District Credit Union, residents of La Rosa Gardens, the Vancouver Island Regional Library - Ladysmith branch, and a donation made in honour of Margot Ney — a former teacher and literacy advocate in Ladysmith who passed away in 2019.
COVID-19 has put the LRCA’s Adventures in Early Literacy Program on hold. The pandemic challenged LRCA staff to deliver literacy programs in a safe and engaging way, which led to the idea for the Storybook Walk.
Storybook Walk passports will be available to families once the walk is up and running in February. Every time families visit the Storybook Walk, they are encouraged to keep track of their progress by filling in their passport when they get home.
At the end of the 24 weeks, families with children aged five and below can redeem the coupon on their passport for a literacy bag containing a book that was showcased on the walk as well as an assortment of early learning activities and materials for home. Pacific Care and Child Care Resources and Referral have generously provided the funding for these bags. Families with children over the age of 6 can obtain a separate passport containing an entry form making them eligible for a free book draw in July.