The People of St. Alban’s: Meet Madison!

Madison Granger Wing has been coming to St. Alban’s since she was 5 years old, when she first took beginners swimming classes. She has been coming here for 7 years and considers St. Alban’s her second home. 

How did you hear about the Club and what got you started here? 

My aunt told us how my cousin was playing water polo at the Club and how he had such a fun and interactive experience.  My parents loved the idea of how St. Alban’s was a safe environment that would allow me to thrive in a positive way. 

Describe the feeling you have when you come to the Club. 

When I come to St. Alban’s, I feel excited because I have the opportunity to be on the swim team.  I feel motivated to succeed and set goals for myself because of the great aquatic leaders and coaches. 

What are some of the programs you come to here? 

I have attended the H2O summer program for the last two years and absolutely fell in love with it.  This program is super fun because you get the chance to learn life saving skills while at the same time having fun.  This camp has kept me active in the summer, allowed me to meet lots of new friends and let me go on super fun excursions on Fridays. 

My absolute favourite activity is being on the senior swim team because I feel challenged, important and it makes me set goals for myself.  I love going to swim meets because it lets me show off all of the hard work that I put into swimming. 

If you had to describe what it’s like here to another kid, what would you say? 

I would say St. Albans is a great place to be.  There are tons of fun activities like baking club, skateboard club, and swim team.  Thanks to the great staff at St. Albans, you will always be able to feel safe, welcome and be able to express your ideas freely. 

Who is your favourite leader and why? 

Fabian is my favourite leader because he always gives me the challenge to be a better swimmer and he pushes me to pass the goals I set for myself.  He is very thoughtful and kind and he goes the extra mile by helping us on his free time.  He makes you feel good about yourself when you try your best and he is the best coach ever. 

The People of St. Alban’s: Meet Charlotte!

Charlotte Winter is an 11-year-old in grade six at McMurrich Jr. Public School, and she has been enrolled in our STARS after school program for the last two years. At such a young age, Miss Winter has managed to write a number of short stories, spoken word poems and she aspires to be a pediatrician someday “in a clinic so [she] doesn’t have to work crazy hours”!

We sat down with Charlotte to learn more about her experience as a tween, big sister, and young writer.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
I used to live really close to school. But I just moved in with my step dad, and he lives in Forest Hill. I have the whole 3rd floor to myself. And there’s this giant dresser in my room that we can’t get out, because there used to be an elevator but now there isn’t one!

Can you tell us what your coolest accomplishments have been?
I’ve learned to play two instruments. The violin, which I play at school, and the piano that I play at home. I like the piano better. Also, I’ve written a number of short stories. One about an insane asylum, another about a girl named Doll. Her mom dies from alcoholism, and she goes home for the funeral but everything is different. It’s called “Home Again”. Usually you write the beginnings of a lot of stories but never finish them.

How did you start writing?
It came naturally. My dad writes poetry. My siblings are into DJing and one is into photography.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Winter, Age 11.

What do you enjoy most about your writing?
It’s an escape from reality. You are no longer in reality, you are in your own reality. And everyone can write but not everyone can write well.

Have you gotten any recognition or awards for your writing?
No, but my writer friends say I’m good!

What is your 15 year plan?
I want to go to U of T medical school to become a pediatrician… and continue writing on the side as my main hobby. My step dad is a doctor and he says you’ll always come out of med school with a different specialty so who knows!

Do you know where you want to live? Will you stay here?
I love Toronto it’s my favorite place in the world. I want to work for a while, retire and then move somewhere warm! After I retire I want to be peaceful with the world. Live in a hut and have a pet zebra. And name it Stripes because I’m very original.

What do you find most challenging with being 11?
I’m between being a child and being a teenager. Being a teenager comes with responsibilities but being a child has privileges and no responsibilities. Which also means I can go one of two ways – where my younger siblings look up to me, and I’m babied by my older siblings –  and – I feel most comfortable being a child. 

What do you find rewarding at your age?
I don’t know… life, life is rewarding.

Do you like being a big sister?
Yes. My brother is my favorite person in the whole world! But we love each other in very different ways.  I’m aware of the different roles we play in our relationship.

What are your thoughts on social media?
I have Snapchat and Instagram. I mostly use Instagram for my photography. 

Charlotte’s self-awareness and maturity led us to write this piece on her, but her spirit and will to remain young is what captivated us the most. She described herself as goofy! Which is such an admirable quality to have, because most 11-year-olds are too concerned with acting like mini adults to express their childlike ways. If Charlotte could have one wish it would be that she could eat ice cream and not get fat, because it tastes good but has no nutritional value and she’d prefer to stay healthy! We’re on the same page, Charlotte, we’d love that magical ice cream too!

When we asked Charlotte for any advice she’d like to give anyone, she said

“Adulthood is a trap. Stay a kid for as long as possible. Stay a kid for as long as possible. Make it last.”

Charlotte graciously shared one of her spoken word/poetry pieces about her younger brother.

 

Free (or almost free) things to do for families in Toronto this month

No vacation booked?  Not to worry, there’s lots to do in this wonderful city of ours during the holidays.   And don’t forget, there’s always holiday break camp at St. Alban’s!

Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery History District

Bigger and better each year!  Local vendors, artisans, and food stalls with delicious and festive European street food.  A giant Christmas tree, a ferris wheel, a carousel, entertainment, and Santa himself!   Free on weekdays and only $6 on weekends.

 

Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre

A heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms.  Food and hot drinks available at the rink side restaurant.  Skating is free!

 

Holiday Fair in Nathan Phillips Square

Skating and festive fun including vendors, food trucks, shopping, a fireside lounge, a carousel, music, entertainment and photos with Santa on weekends!

 

 

 

Christmas Flower Show

Both Allan Gardens and Centennial Park Conservatories host the Christmas Flower Show. Thousands of flowering plants and more than 30 varieties of poinsettia are on display along with topiary masterpieces.   Visitors are treated to horse and wagon rides, carollers, hot apple nicer and of course, visits from Santa!

Christmas in the Valley at Todmorden Mills

Explore the holiday traditions of Toronto past.  Enjoy festive treats and create a take home craft.  ($3-$7)

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Village at Evergreen Brickworks

Every December weekend and December 26-29 from 10am-5pm.  Play outdoors – try street curling, ride a fat bike, play in the Children’s Garden.  Shop – at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, the Sunday Etsy Market, or the Garden Market.   Eat – from local vendors or roast s’mores over a campfire!

What is your family up to this month?  Let us know in the comments!

Summer Time Crafts

michelle-clarkeBy Michelle Clarke
Arts Program Coordinator

Summer is a great time to try out some of the messier crafts. Kids looove the messy crafts, and you can even have your kids do this in their bathing suits outside and follow it with some water fun 😉

But for those of you who prefer to keep the mess for us over here at summer camp, I’ll also include some less messy summer-themed crafts for those times you want to chill out in the air conditioning or get out of the rain.

swimming-jellyfish-craft-2For Young Children:

SWIMMING JELLY FISH

These are so cute, you may want to make them with your older children too!

http://iheartcraftythings.com/paper-plate-swimming-jellyfish-craft.html

How To Make Ice Paints A Fun Summer Lesson In All Things Frozen That Toddlers Will Love Sprout Organices One Savvy MomICE PAINT

A fun way to keep things “cool”!

http://www.onesavvymom.net/2016/07/summer-toddler-craft-idea-ice-painting-how-to-make-ice-paints.html

TISSUE FISH

For this one, you just need a paper plate and tissue paper. Cut out a triangle for the mouth and use it to glue on the back for a tail. For a more colourful fish, you can paint it before adding the tissue paper. Use a googly eye or just draw on an eye with a marker.

Older Kids:

DSC_159533SALT PAINTING

This tutorial is for Jelly Fish, but you can paint anything you want with salt paint: try other sea creatures, writing your name, or anything you like!

http://www.iheartartsncrafts.com/jellyfish-salt-painting-activity-kids/

Fidget-Spinner-CraftDIY FIDGET SPINNERS

These ones are very popular around here 😉

http://www.redtedart.com/make-fidget-spinner-diy/

 

 

 

 

 

For Kids of All Ages:

cotton-candy-puffy-paint-craft-for-kids-PUFFY PAINT

Kids of all ages love this one!
Just make sure that the kids don’t eat it!

http://www.craftymorning.com/puffy-paint-cotton-candy-craft-kids/

Squirt-Gun-Art-3-1SQUIRT GUN PAINTING

This one is super fun! A friend of mine had the brilliant idea to do this at her daughter’s birthday party on a big canvas and now she has some a great big abstract art piece up in her living room!

http://www.firefliesandmudpies.com/squirt-gun-painting/

 

TIE DYE

Go retro with some good old fashioned tie dye!

https://www.tiedyeyoursummer.com/techniques?pp=1

ice cream in a bag pin 0ICE CREAM IN A BAG

This one is fun and delicious too!

http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/07/summer-fun-ice-cream-in-bag.html?m=1

 

diy-chalk-5DIY SIDEWALK CHALK

These can be made in ice cube trays, muffin tins or popsicle moulds. If you are feeling fancy, you can also look for different shaped ice cube trays at the dollar store.

https://projectnursery.com/2015/05/diy-sidewalk-chalk-pops/#_a5y_p=5245552