Some of us old-timers may remember when all the rambunctious students of the Ponoka Elementary School got to march down to a spot near 46 Avenue to hang out all afternoon and carefully throw rocks into a great big hole that would eventually become our first outdoor swimming pool. It turned out to be the coolest place in town, where we and future generations would splash and play dive and learn to swim for the greatest summer days of our lives.
I think that was back in the 1950s, and for those of us who grew up in and around Ponoka, it was always amazing how many fabulous places we had to play, both indoors at the arena, swimming pool, curling rink, school gyms and churches, as well as outside on the outdoor skating rinks, soccer fields, ball diamonds, playgrounds, tennis courts, splash park and so much more that has been added. As well as the town and county councils providing the ongoing funding and planning for these facilities, there were and will always be countless service clubs, organizations, youth groups, businesses, and individuals who organize the funding and willingly volunteer endless hours of their time and labour to make these facilities and equipment a reality for all age groups then, and long into our future.
Also heavily involved along the way are a great number of sports and youth organizations who organize all facets of the yearly programs such as hockey, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, figure skating, curling and so many others. As always the community also chips in not only as volunteer coaches, officials, and of course parents, but also with the kindly donations to help purchase the vast amount of uniforms and equipment that will always be an important part of every good and fair game or event.
The long and colourful history of community support
From as far back in our history books as one can go you will find countless delightful stories about the hardy new families that had settled in the vast area of Ponoka Town and County, who will always be remembered for their sheer determination and hard work, as well as for finding precious time for group and family social and recreation fun-time. There were always the weekend picnics, which was also the ideal time for everyone to team together to build the community hall, the curling rink, the ball diamond, the rodeo grounds, and all that was required for the games, the dances, and the special family events to begin.
Some of the early service clubs in this area were the I.O.D.E., Eastern Star, Royal Purple, Riverside Good Neighbour Club, Kinsmen, Kinettes, Knights of Columbus, Masons, Lions, Moose, Stagettes, Kinettes, Oddfellows, Elks, and Legion, many who have continued to serve and support the community and districts for many decades, with many others who have come on board as the town and county grew. There have also been those very dedicated ladies’ clubs, church groups and countless others who have hosted their annual longstanding traditional box-socials, bake sales, bingos, dances, garage sales, quilting bees, raffles and on and on in support of the Red Cross, our soldiers overseas, to assist and welcome new babies and neighbours, and for so many other very special causes and community support.
It would likely take several Reflections pages to list all of the clubs, youth and adult sports and recreation, agricultural, arts and culture and other organizations who faithfully serve our urban and rural areas all year round in so many worthy and wonderful capacities. As they all plan and pursue their lofty goals and projects big and small, these dedicated and very much appreciated groups rely completely on the ongoing support of their members as well as the kind assistance of hundreds of volunteers and the generosity of the citizens in and around our community. A very large contact list of these most vital support and organizing groups is available on Page 15 of your free Town of Ponoka 2016 Community Program Guide, which also lists the many programs and events that are available for the enjoyment of every family member. As we salute their ongoing efforts with our stories, we will remind everyone that they will always all have the welcome mat out for new members and volunteers to join in on the fun and camaraderie of their keen teams.