Although it hasn’t been in the papers much, the Burton Community Learning Centre (BCLC) is moving ahead in a big way. The Burton school which no longer holds regular school classes is still being used every day.
The BCLC is working on a partnership agreement with School District 10, hammering out who is responsible for what, and getting more classes running in the building.
Superintendent/Treasurer Denise Perry is very excited about the facility, and sees the collaboration as an opportunity to offer specialized academic courses to students. At the moment, Nakusp Secondary School uses the building for its Outdoor Education classes, and plans are still in the works for a Search and Rescue training course to be offered to both students over 16 as well as adults and distributed learning students.
Burton students are already taking advantage of the opportunities available at the BCLC. The reading centre has local kids volunteering Tuesday evenings, and Burton youngsters have the chance to get out and exercise as part of the frequent athletic events going on in the gym.
The collaboration is very supported by the community, Liz Gillis from the BCLC told the Arrow Lakes News. At the moment, community members pay $2 as a drop in fee or $40 for the year to keep the centre running. Many local groups such as the Arrow Lakes Environmental Stewardship Society also use the space for meetings, making the centre a valuable community resource in Burton.
Having community organizations and students both use the space make it a central resource that is welcoming and inclusive, bringing people together and shaping community.
Recently, a two-hour wellness workshop given by Petra Allen for cats and dogs brought people together, and they’re sticking together. Thanks to the class and Allen, each Saturday there is now a group of dog walkers that start out from the school in a bunch, talking and walking through the area. It’s made a big difference in town, said Gillis.
“There have been dog issues in Burton,” Gillis said. She sees the group as a positive way to influence dog behaviour both through owners trading tips and tricks as well as getting humans and dogs to socialize in a fun atmosphere.
The one thing that could be useful to the BCLC board, said Gillis, is a paid coordinator. Right now, volunteers are running the show, but having someone who could dedicate time on a regular basis would be great, she told the Arrow Lakes News.
Gillis and Perry are both keen to work together to get students using the space as much as possible. Their two boards will be coming together in March to finalize the agreement, and Gillis sees it as a chance to come up with new and fresh ideas to get students to come to Burton and use the space. Perry agrees, and would like to bring in special academy classes which will allow students to earn credits and learn great new skills.
“It’s a great space, we don’t want to lose it,” she said. With the momentum the BCLC has, it’s looking like students and community are already using the revamped school, not losing it.