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Our Community: Bowling clubs welcome new members

Lawn bowling, Saanich Earth Day, dragon boat racers, Stelly's food drive, Cook Street wellness centre, donate blood
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Lorne Carnes bowls at the ­Canadian Pacific Lawn Bowling Club in ­Victoria. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The 2022 lawn bowling and croquet ­season is about to get underway, with 11 clubs in the South Island hoping to attract new members through ­community open houses in the coming weeks.

Every club offers lessons to ­beginners for free, or at a nominal cost. They ­supply all equipment required to get going, including bowling assist arms for those who have difficulty bending down. More and more clubs also offer croquet ­programs.

Recreational players are offered ­drop-in draws most days of the week, where they can make friends while ­enjoying exercise in the sunshine. Both lawn bowling and croquet are played equally by men and women, young and old, skilled or not. Competitive players can enter tournaments just about every week during the summer.

Many clubs have expanded their ­outdoor programs to run year-round, with most offering indoor social ­activities ­during the winter, ­including bridge, cards, darts, short mat and indoor ­bowling.

Although the average participant tends to lean toward retirement age, there are options for junior players and under-40s.

In Victoria, you can find Canadian Pacific Lawn Bowling and Croquet Club downtown at Cridge Park, Beacon Hill Park is home to the Victoria Club and Victoria West is just across the bridge. Saanich has the Lakehill Club in ­Reynolds Park, Burnside Club in ­Hampton Park and Gordon Head Club in Lambrick Park.

Other clubs include Oak Bay in Carnarvon Park, Central Saanich in ­Centennial Park, Sidney in Iroquois Park, Juan de Fuca at West Shore Parks and Recreation, and the refurbished ­Cowichan green is in Duncan.

Club facilities and programs are run and maintained by volunteers. Annual membership fees range from $160 to $300.

The Victoria Sport and Social Club is registering teams and individuals for their Summer League, which will be run out of the Canadian Pacific Club, ­meeting at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday from May 17 to Aug. 9.

Get on your bikes for Saanich Earth Day Festival

Explore Saanich by bike and celebrate Earth Day at the Saanich Earth Day Festival on Saturday.

The family-friendly event, with the main festival site at Saanich Municipal Hall, includes activities and eco-friendly interactive displays. There will be two live bands, a cycling obstacle course and skills challenge, an electric bike demonstration and trials, and more.

Those who cycle to the event can register to win prizes that include a $1,000 gift certificate toward an e-bike from a local cycling shop. Food carts and concessions will be on site.

Attendance is free. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Saanich Municipal Hall, 770 Vernon Ave.

Dragon boat racers show cancer doesn’t always win

Island Breaststrokers dragon boat team is hosting its Huge Book Sale at the Oaklands Bible Chapel on Saturday.

The team, made up of breast cancer survivors, participates in local and international festivals.

More importantly, it provides hope and health for breast-cancer survivors. Being part of the team provides a way to not only survive cancer, but to thrive. Paddling provides survivors with a way to challenge and recharge themselves physically and mentally.

Dragon boat racing is a whole body sport. Each paddler is proof that there is life after cancer.

The team practises on Saturdays and Wednesdays during spring and summer, and on Saturdays during fall and winter.

It is a sport for all ages and experience is not required. Lack of experience or fitness should not deter anyone from picking up a paddle.

Fundraising and finding sponsors ensures that no one is left out due to financial restraints.

The Huge Book Sale runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Oaklands Bible Chapel is on the corner of Fernwood and Cedar Hill roads.

For more information, go to islandbreaststrokers.com.

Stelly’s school collects food to help families in need

Stelly’s Secondary School holds one of its largest fundraisers, the Fill the Hive Food Drive, on Wednesday.

The main goal is to come together as both a school and neighbourhood community to make a lasting impact. All monetary and non-perishable food donations will go directly to the Saanich Peninsula Food Bank

The food drive is organized by a team of teachers and grade 11 and 12 students who are trying to help local families facing financial crises.

Students leaders include Jasmeen Lalari, Erin Flight, Tahlia Cook and Norah Hood from grade 12 and Ellaina Colley from grade 11. Volunteers include students, teachers, their families and alumni of the school.

Last year, more than 19,200 donations were collected.

Food drive canvassers will be knocking on doors between 4 and 7 p.m. Donations will be accepted at satellite locations, including Stelly’s Secondary, Brentwood Bay Elementary, Keating Elementary and the Saanichton Fire Hall.

Everyone welcome for opening of Cook Street wellness centre

Cook Street Village Activity Centre will host an open house as part of the grand opening of its Wellness Centre on Friday.

The non-profit organization offers wellness, educational, recreational and social activity events.

Cake and refreshments will be served at the open house, which starts at 1 p.m. The centre is at 380 Cook St. For more information, go to cookstreetvillageactivitycentre.com.

You can help save a life over the Easter weekend

Canadian Blood Services is appealing for donors over the Easter long weekend.

With the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, many people have returned to a new normal during holiday weekends, but the demand for blood and blood products never stops. At this time, the Canadian Blood Services can only welcome people with appointments.

The fixed donor centre in Victoria, at 3449 Saanich Rd., has appointments spaces to fill on Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There is a need for plasma, platelet and stem-cell donors in addition to blood to support patients requiring lifesaving treatment.

Eligible individuals between 17 and 35 are urged to join the Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry online.

If you have travelled to the United States in the past 14 days, you will not be eligible to donate until at least 14 days after you have returned.

Show up and give as if lives depend on it, because they do.

For more information, go to blood.ca.