GSPS’s New SPARK Program Gets Started at Kivi Park
Kivi Park SPARK group

Constable Nihad Hasanefendic (left) with Lauren-Ashleigh Beaudry and Marcus Rouleau all of GSPS, Chief Pedersen, Melissa Sheridan, Jen Oelschlagel with SPARK participants Arthur, Kayleigh (left front), Shaun, Eric, and Lillie get together to begin the new SPARK program.

Thanks to Mrs. Fielding and Kivi Park a new opportunity for kids between the ages of 12 and 17 has been developed. SPARK – Sudbury Police Adventure Recreation at Kivi Park – will give kids an opportunity to connect with our local police force while enjoying an amazing opportunity to learn how to kayak and canoe at beautiful Crowley Lake in Kivi Park.

Kivi Park SPARK kayaks together

Loading up the kayaks and learning water safety before they start.

The first of six sessions this summer took place on July 18th. Six kids took part and were welcomed by Greater Sudbury Police Chief Paul Pedersen who told the kids when he was young he was a Boy Scout and always wanted to become a junior forest ranger because he wanted to work somewhere in natural setting like Kivi Park instead of a city. His girlfriend at the time, who later became his wife, was opposed to the idea and so Chief Pedersen became a police officer instead. He told the kids that he actually got his wish when he moved to Sudbury to become Chief of the GSPS and could enjoy all the activities Greater Sudbury had to offer and that he hoped the kids would enjoy their opportunity too.

Kivi Park SPARK logo towel

Constable Nihad Hasanefendic (left), Melissa Sheridan – Kivi Park Leader and GSPS Chief Paul Pederson show off a towel Constable Hasanefendic designed for the SPARK program.

Chief Pederson also thanked Mrs. Fielding and Kivi Park and other sponsors for agreeing to fund this project as there would have been no other way to get the kids out to learn new skills with the help of police who now have the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with the kids in the SPARK partnership program.

Kivi Park SPARK shore

The kids got familiar with their kayaks in a small bay before moving out into the larger area of Crowley Lake.

The kids are chosen from area schools and a variety of referral programs. If you think your child could benefit from this program you can email info at kivipark.com and they will put you in touch with GSPS.

Kivi Park SPARK shore

The kids getting familiar with paddling and learning how to steer in the bay at Crowley Lake. The Crowley Lake outpost building on left was built for people enjoying Crowley Lake giving them somewhere to take cover in case of rain.

Jennifer Oelschlagel, a Laurentian University student who studies Outdoor Adventure Leadership designed the SPARK program with the help of Melissa Sheridan, Kivi Park Leader and GSPS Constable Nihad Hasanefendic who works with youth in Greater Sudbury as a School Resource Officer. The program runs once per week for three hours. Kids will have the opportunity to improve their paddling skills, and enjoy a variety of activities including swimming and fishing. Two to three police officers will be with the kids and it gives the opportunity for the kids to see our local police force in a positive light.

Kivi Park SPARK kayaks together

Jen gathers everyone around her kayak to give them information on what the kids will be doing next.

Gabriel is one of the kids who is attending the program and he is very excited to start. He lives in Chelmsford and hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to go kayaking and even swimming in his life. Without SPARK he had resigned himself to spending the summer indoors playing games and he looks at this as a great opportunity to get outside and learn some new skills.

The kids got a water safety lesson from Jen and then they all got into kayaks, a few kids for the first time, and began to get familiar with paddling. They had a blast a few even racing with their police paddlers shortly after they started. It was a great start for the SPARK program that will help introduce kids to wonders of Kivi Park.

The first fire station in Sudbury was built in 1885.

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