When 2020 started, the gym in Birch Bay was bustling with fitness classes, kids’ activities, basketball practices, pickleball and more. This all came to a screeching halt in March when we were forced to close our doors to all public activities due to Covid-19. During that time, the district made some much-needed improvements to our offices and kitchen area.
The gym’s 1965-era basketball scoreboard got a facelift in February made possible by donations from Rick Chinn and other alumni of the Blaine Air Force Base. A brand-new scoreboard was purchased and installed.
The district helped fund community programs for the Blaine Youth Sports and local boys, girls and cub scouts and sponsorship of the Run with the Chums event hosted by the Whatcom Conservation District.
In early June, we were limited to what we could do, but the outdoor pickleball courts saw much activity. We offered Zumba, POUND and line dance classes with up to five people plus an instructor in the class. In August, we were able to expand our inside programming to 10 people. Classes were full and people were happy to get out and move! Although some of our popular classes had not restarted, we look forward to bringing back those classes, movie nights, community events and kids afterschool activities when restrictions are lifted.
The district received a grant from the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office to develop the California Creek Estuary Park along Drayton Harbor Road. The two properties have been transferred to the park district and are in the permitting phases for development of a parking lot, kayak launch, restroom and trail system. Additional grants for further expansion and development of the park were submitted. The district is waiting to hear what type of funding could be awarded.
In November, we hosted a H-O-R-S-E basketball tournament with the help of the Blaine Girls Hoops. Fifty kids from grades 5–12 participating in this fun game of no-contact throwing challenges! The kids wore masks during the event, and since we were limited to 11 people in the gym, we livestreamed the event for family and friends to watch the competition.
The gym and all activities were suspended per the governor’s orders in November. We look forward to 2021 and bringing back all the fun at the center and in our community.