A program sponsored by the Westside Youth Team Dance Club
A pilot project to teach square dancing to elementary school children with the volunteer help of a caller was conducted over the last few years under SQUAREUPB.C., a marketing initiative of the B.C. Square and Round Dance Federation. After that project was completed, it was taken over as a program offering of the Westside Youth Team Dance Club. The Youth Club has been successful in obtaining bookings each year, primarily at elementary schools in the Central and South Okanagan. Caller-teacher Glen Bailie of Peachland volunteers to conduct the instruction.
Building interest among students in the modern square dance recreation, which we call "Team Dancing," especially in the Central Okanagan Valley, helps to boost membership in the Westside Youth Team Dance Club that dances every Friday night on Kelowna’s Westside. Whether or not students choose to join the youth club, the school program serves to introduce the recreation to young people as a fun and pleasant experience that they'll remember into their adult years. It's future-building for the dance activity.
The volunteer caller-teacher is booked into schools through volunteer Co-ordinator, Brian Elmer, and, in ma
ny instances, instructs selected classes over six to eight sessions. Some schools are visited twice per week and some only once per week, depending on class schedules and gymnasium availability. A nominal donation for each school visit is requested by the Club. Forty minute class blocks are the most common durations for each instruction period. Several elementary schools have had all students in grades 1 to 6 as well as their Kindergarten students participate. Students are taught modern square dance calls from a globally-standardized list known as “Mainstream.” That program consists of 69 calls and the students generally learn about one-third of them. The instruction is progressive, each lesson building upon the previous one.
Adult volunteers, already accomplished in modern square dancing, can assist the caller in several ways. They can demonstrate calls, do display dances of more complicated calls such as "grand square," and they can coach the students, such as helping them identify left from right. The volunteers are not expected to teach calls, that is the responsibility of the caller, but an adult volunteer can get the caller's attention for a particular square of students who are having difficulty with a call.
One thing that is mandatory for all volunteers who help in schools within School District #23 (Central Okanagan) and at other schools is that they fill out an application for a criminal record check. That is best submitted to the school where the volunteer intends to help. Once you submit the application, don't wait for a reply. You can begin assisting with the instruction. The school will contact you if you don't qualify as a volunteer. Please check in at the school office every time you go to a school because they generally have a sign-in procedure. Some schools provide you with a "visitor" name tag.If you have already submitted such an application, you will be on file with the school district. In that case, simply provide your name to the secretary at the school you'll be attending so that you can be confirmed.
Pearson Road Elementary -- All classes -- 2 days per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 3 or 4 weeks
Rutland Elementary -- K to Grade 5 classes -- every Wednesday
North Glenmore Elementary -- All classes -- every Friday through Feb. 15th, except Feb. 1st
Dorothea Walker Elementary -- Grades 1, 2 & 3 -- every Monday through March 10th, except Feb. 20th replaces Feb. 18th.
Glenmore Elementary -- K to Grade 3 classes -- 2 days per week starting Feb. 12th on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 3 weeks
Ellison Elementary -- All classes -- 2 days per week for 4 weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays