Horsefly Elementary School, Horsefly, BC
2017-2018 (Year 2)
In the middle of the Province of BC, about 45 minutes east of Williams Lake, in prime ranching and forestry country, surrounded by mountains, lakes and wildlife, one will find the thriving metropolis of Horsefly which includes one very friendly, family-based school, Horsefly Elementary/Junior Secondary. Our school, and our community, may be small, but what we lack in size we more than makes up with in heart!
Horsefly School is a K-9 school of just over 50 students. Most students are bussed to school with some travelling close to an hour in each direction as they live on ranches in remote areas. As with most schools, parent involvement is key to success but in our small community the parents are helped by a myriad of other volunteers and in many ways. Our F2S program, in just its second year, is offered every Friday from October to May. It has a Coordinator, an Assistant Coordinator, and a group of very dedicated community members who do the food preparation, help serve the lunch, and do all the clean-up. This group of volunteers is made up of a couple of parents and four very dedicated community members who do not have any children or grand-children in the school. They do it because they really believe in the benefits of the |F2S program and they just love coming out every Friday for the social aspect, and of course to help out at the school, which is a central part of the community. When one enters the kitchen and listens to the conversations it is clear that the F2S program not only gives the benefits of a nutritional diet but also gives children and adults the opportunity of enjoying a complete and balanced meal in the company of their friends and family …. just like it used to be in the dining rooms of the large families that settled most of Canada. The community volunteers are most certainly unique to our school, and greatly appreciated!
Horsefly community is also involved in supporting our F2S program with food donations coming in on a regular basis. Living in a rural ranching community many families plant their own gardens and the raising of all types of animals is a common thing in the community … and so is the donation of fruit, veggies, eggs and meat. All of this is greatly appreciated and is thoroughly enjoyed by the hungry students as they fill their plates every Friday. Most ingredients in our program, during harvest time, are extremely fresh, being picked just hours before being served. This truly makes for delicious meals!
Members of the community further involve themselves by sponsoring children in the F2S program. Generous community members pay a yearly fee so that families who don’t have the means to support the program can still have their children attend the F2S meal every week. The direct spin-off result is that between 95 – 100% of our students attend the F2S program weekly! This is an extremely high number and we are so proud that we can help families and we are very thankful the community supports us this way. The Horsefly F2S program accommodates all our students and still makes our program sustainable and affordable to other families, thanks to these generous donations.
If Johnny Harris from the show “Still Standing” was to visit Horsefly he would see the great salmon spawning channels next to the school, he would enjoy the abundant wildlife that is common place around us, he would visit stands of large spruce, fir and cedar trees and pass by herds of cattle in lush hay fields that are everywhere, and of course he would enjoy a great meal in the company of our wonderful students, staff, parents and other volunteers at our Friday F2S salad bar lunch. He would talk about our rural community and what it means to be a part of this large and very caring family, and he would end his show by saying, “Mom, I’m talkin’ about Horsefly, British Columbia!”
2016-2017 (Year 1)
Situated in the foothills of the Cariboo Mountains, approximately 70km from the city of Williams Lake, Horsefly Elementary Junior Secondary Schools enrolls approximately 65 students a year in grades Kindergarten through 10. The community of Horsefly relies heavily on cattle, forestry and tourism as their main sources of employment; with many of our students living on ranches themselves.
Led by a group of very dedicated community volunteers, Horsefly’s salad bar program began 5 years ago. With the dream of simply providing a family style meal to our students, the program blossomed into a community venture.
Funded solely by donations from community members, both connected to the school and not, grants and student fees, the program aims to feed all kids, regardless of their ability to pay for their lunch. Our school has been very fortunate to have made connections with a wide array of community members who are dedicated to the health of our students. Their passion for good food has kept many volunteers connected for the entire five years. We have been very fortunate to maintain a core group of men and women, who return each week to help with the shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning for our lunches. Many of our volunteers have no connection to our school other than our salad bar program. Community volunteers say that seeing our students once a week is the sole reason they keep coming back to volunteer. Their passion for good food and kids has allowed our students to make amazing connections with people they normally would not.
Our goal for this year was to increase the amount of truly local food used in our salad bar program. We have been very fortunate to have local ranchers donate meat and eggs throughout the year, and are beginning to look at increasing the percentage of local produce used. We have also set a goal to begin a school garden next year, with parents passionately planning a garden site on school grounds, which will then be incorporated into an outdoor classroom space. This goal has also led us on a journey of learning how to compost properly, a responsibility student volunteers on our green team have eagerly taken on.