Time to (block) party!
Okanagan Edge Staff - 3:02 pm - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

The 29th annual Downtown Kelowna Block Party will take place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there will be no shortage of activities.

The event will take place on Bernard Avenue from Bertram Street to the water and in Kerry Park. The list of events includes family fun activities, entertainment, an inflatable park, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, shopping and plenty of food options.

A full list of the fun that is planned can be found on the Block Party website.

Bernard Avenue will be closed to vehicle traffic from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be no through traffic on Pandosy Street and Water Street between Queensway Avenue and Lawrence Avenue.

Firefighters up on the roof
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 17 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Kelowna’s firefighters are going up on the roof this weekend, but it’s not to fight a fire.

The Kelowna Professional Firefighters Charitable Association and the Kelowna Yacht Club are collaborating on the inaugural Kelowna Firefighters Rooftop Campout from Friday to Sunday.

The firefighters will go up on the Kelowna Yacht Club roof Friday at 6 p.m. and return to Earth on Sunday at 7 p.m. In between will be family-oriented events and activities that will raise money for Youth Recovery House in the Okanagan. The Diamond Fitness Boot Camp begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, followed by Valley First Community Crew Face Painting from noon to 3 p.m. The Kids Firefighter Challenge is slated for noon to 6 p.m. at Stuart Park.

The firefighters on the roof will lower a boot to collect cash donations, and KPFCA members will be doing the same on the ground.

Youth Recovery House will be a 16-bed rehabilitation program for people under 19 years old who struggle with a substance use disorder.

Pathways seeks board members
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 10 - Get Involved

Photo: Thomas Masat, Unsplash

A Penticton rehabilitation centre is looking for new board members.

Pathways Addictions Resource Centre is looking for a treasurer, fundraiser/special events co-ordinator and a social media co-ordinator to help those with substance abuse problems.

Pathways has been part of the Penticton community for more than 44 years.

Those interested in the position can e-mail chairperson Sherry Ure at [email protected] or executive director Daryl Meyers at [email protected]

Rutland students fired up
Jon Manchester - Jul 06 - Get Involved

Photo: RDCO

Rutland Secondary School has wrapped its first-ever firefighting class.

The school collaborated with the Joe Rich Fire Department and Regional District of Central Okanagan–and all involved are calling it a huge success.

Eleven students completed a rigorous program of real firefighting training, aimed at providing valuable work experience and possible work opportunities.

The students received certificates in emergency scene traffic management, basic wildland firefighting, forest fire suppression and safety, and WHIMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System).

Instruction included first responder training, live fire training at Big White as well as support roles at the fire hall.

Fire Chief Ben Wasyliuk says the program provided the students “with valuable skills that will hopefully be utilized down the road in either paid-on-call or full-time firefighting or other emergency services. We look forward to holding another program next year.”

RSS teacher Aaron Volk is also a captain with the fire department and a primary care paramedic.

Victor Laderoute
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 05 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

Name: Victor Laderoute

What business or organization are you involved with? QB Gelato

What is your role with that organization? Owner/Gelato Maestro

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Access to the incredible bounty of produce available in the valley. From fruit to organic herbs to milk and cream, there is nothing quite like it in Canada. Top that off with the orchards, farms and wineries … well, you’ve got one of the best places to live!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My dad’s father, my grandfather. I never knew him. He died when my father was very young. I would probably want to invite my own dad to this lunch so we could both get a chance to ask questions and learn more about this man. If he is anything like my own father, I am confident it would be a great lunch!

What’s your go-to happy place? My home. And when I say that I don’t mean a place. It’s where I currently am … right now. So for me, today, it is here in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley. This place makes me happy. The mountains, the lake … it is my go-to happy place.

What are you most proud of? QB Gelato. They say to pursue your dreams and make them a reality it takes a lot of guts and sacrifices, and I can definitely relate to that. I am so proud of what we accomplished with the shop and our ongoing commitment to bringing people together through the simple enjoyment of great food and creating joyful moments.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? This question is hard to answer, because I’ve been fortunate to get through a lot of items on my list. I want to travel to the Maldives and snorkel the reef. It would be awesome to visit a good friend in Sydney and stay at the hotel he manages, and lastly it would be awesome to one day own a small vineyard and learn the art of winemaking.

Latest movie or book? I grew up with Star Wars. I continue to be amazed by the franchise.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My engagement ring from my partner, Kevin. I had given him his on Christmas Eve 2012. He asked where mine was. I said he needed to get me mine. It took ten months of guessing when he would finally present me with mine. When I had finally pretty much given up and about to just go out and purchase one, he totally surprised me on my birthday with not only the ring but a surprise engagement party! It was awesome.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would spend it with a huge dinner party! Good food, good friends, good wine … what a way to go out!

Tech hopefuls get funding
Kirk Penton - Jul 03 - Get Involved

Photo: Kirk Penton
(L to R) RBC’s Ray Warren and Art Monahan, and United Way’s Jeremy Lugowy and Helen Jackman

The tech industry is huge in the Okanagan, but not everyone has the ability to work their way into that sector.

That’s why the RBC Foundation donated nearly $12,000 to the local United Way chapter on Tuesday in downtown Kelowna. RBC’s Ray Warren presented a cheque for $11,800 to the United Way’s Helen Jackman, and the money will help those between the ages of 16 and 22 get a leg up on tech training to which they might not otherwise have access.

“The whole point of that is to give them exposure to what it might be like to think about a career in those sectors and to give them a bit of confidence, because traditionally they may have been overlooked or may have not even thought that they would have opportunity to move into that kind of space,” said Jackman, who is the executive director of the United Way’s Central and South Okanagan Similkameen chapter.

The program is called <Code>anagan, and it is a partnership between the United Way CSO, Accelerate Okanagan, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, and Okanagan College.

“RBC Future Launch, which is the theme for this donation, is really about empowering Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Warren, who is the commercial financial services vice-president for the Okanagan and Kootenays. “We find with United Way and the great work they do within the community there’s a venue, there’s an avenue, where they’ll make great use of this funding to hit these marks for RBC and for our communities.”

The United Way tested out <Code>anagan in the spring to much success, and Tuesday’s donation will specifically fund the program into the fall.

“Ultimately we’d love them to get internships or placements with some of the tech companies in Kelowna, so it’s great for the young people,” Jackman said. “It’s also really important for the tech sector in Kelowna. Accelerate Okanagan thinks the flow of talent into the sector is one of their number one challenges for growth. There’s talent right here.”

Students, industry share ideas
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 29 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

School is out for the summer, but a group of Okanagan Mission Secondary School students conducted some job learning on their ways out the door.

The recent Skills Ready Showcase Event brought shop students and industry members together to showcase the skills the high schoolers learned during the year. The occasion attracted 44 students and 24 employers, including representatives from Southern Interior Construction Association, Canadian Home Builders Association and Industry Training Authority, among others.

“It was a great mixer, and watching the students meet the industry’s best and be able to talk about real life skills was incredible,” OKM career co-ordinator Jill Robinson said in a press release.

Skills Ready is a Construction Foundation of B.C. initiative whose focus is to create bridges between industry and educators.

Buy a butterfly, help hospice
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 27 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

Central Okanagan Hospice Association will host its sixth annual Butterfly Effect event next month.

The fundraiser will be held at Kelowna’s Falcon Ridge Farms on Sunday, July 15, and will feature fun for the whole family before 500 butterflies are released.

The event, which is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., will also include the Valley First Community Crew Kids Zone, the Bayshore Home Health Family Activity Centre, Grimm’s Fine Food BBQ, local artisans and live entertainment.

“It is such a special day for our community to gather and remember those who have touched our lives and share a symbolic experience unique to us all,” COHA executive director Natasha Girard said in a press release. “The Butterfly Effect is such a great family-friendly event, and to watch the release of hundreds of butterflies into nature is so amazing.”

Butterflies, which are $35 each or three for $90, can be purchased at hospicecoha.org or by calling 250-763-5511.

Vernon chamber needs you
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 26 - Get Involved

The Vernon Chamber of Commerce is looking for a few good men and women to serve on its board of directors.

The nomination window is now open for candidates with established business, leadership and advocacy expertise. Nominees must be chamber members in good standing or representatives of chamber members in good standing for a minimum of two years.

Nominations will close on Friday, July 27, at 4 p.m., and the two-year terms for the new directors will begin Sept. 12.

Art supports local non-profit
Chantelle Deacon - Jun 20 - Get Involved

Image: Facebook

Buy affordable pieces of art while supporting a Vernon non-profit this Saturday.

The community is invited to the Thrifty Under FIFTY Art Event hosted by the Upper Room Mission Boutique.

There will be hundreds of prints, original drawings, watercolour, acrylic and oil paintings to choose from.

Take a stroll through several tents that will be filled with a colourful array of diverse imagery to purchase for all less than $50.

Or go inside to view and bid on s beautiful selection of unique and historic art pieces.

There will also be a silent art auction.

The event kicks off at noon and finishes at about 3:30 p.m. at the Upper Room Mission.

All proceeds support the Upper Room Mission.

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