Last year she was one of three assistants, this year, Caitlin Burdeniuk has three assistants of her own.
But she’s up for the challenge —the challenge of being the District of Fort St. James Recreation Coordinator, that is.
Burdeniuk is only 19 years old, but she’s about to be the one in charge of the summer recreation programs, providing recreational entertainment and learning opportunities for children ages five to 13.
The job is the perfect fit for Burdeniuk, who just finished her first year of a Bachelor of Arts degree at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, where she hopes to do get into the Education Program for elementary school education in a few years.
For Burdeniuk, it’s all about the kids.
“I like working with kids, it’s really fun,” she explains. “They seem to really like me.”
Even though Burdeniuk is new at the job, she was an assistant to last year’s recreation coordinator, so she does have a pretty good idea what will be involved with at least the hands-on part of it.
The planning aspect of the job is a bit more new to Burdeniuk, who will spend the months of May and June making up programs for each day the recreation program runs, with some back-up plans in case of inclement weather.
The planning aspect is a big learning curve, but Burdeniuk does have some previous experience in that department as well. She did event planning in high school as part of her duties on the student council, but she is also relying heavily on the expertise of Kevin Crook, the district’s chief administrative officer.
“I’m looking forward to being done planning and actually doing the programs,” says Burdeniuk.
There are some interesting programs planned throughout the summer, with a few of them Burdeniuk is looking to with extra anticipation.
There will be a ‘Survivor’-type experience for the kids, which last year was only a day-long game, but this year will be expanded to take place over an entire week of games and experiences.
There will be a summer birthday bash to celebrate all the children with summer birthdays, as well as Burdeniuk’s, whose birthday is in July.
The other programs she is most looking forward to so far are the Mexican Fiesta and the camp-out at Paarens Beach.
While he only just graduated in 2010, she is already well on her way to getting some of the experience needed for her acceptance into the Education Program at TRU, and Burdeniuk will likely bring that knowledge back to the Fort when she’s done.
She couldn’t wait to get home after her year away, and thinks she can see herself here in the long-term.
“I like home, I missed it when I was in Kamloops,” she said. “I guess I’m like my dad, I’m lifer.”
While Burdeniuk did get to live with her grandparents while she was in Kamloops, and had the support of family close at hand, she’s still a big fan of this small town and the events it has to offer.
As the recreation coordinator, she will be out and about at different celebrations in the community as well, so kids and their parents can get to know her face a little.
She will be at the Canada Day festivities, the Children’s Festival and will be doing lots of crafts and activities at the Music on the Mountain festival in August as well.
Children and parents should all have something to do throughout the summer, and she’ll have some good help at her side as well.
Kelsey Oullette, Catie Cromerty and Tamara McDougall will be Burdeniuk’s three assistants, helping to keep a watchful eye on the program participants.
The recreation program runs July and August and each program is limited to 20 children between the ages of five and 13.