July 25, 2020 – Tucked in behind the Baie-Sainte-Anne Regional School is a brand new, accessible playground – which is available to not just the school’s students, but to the whole Baie-Sainte-Anne community.

The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for the Miramichi Area, which includes Baie-Sainte-Anne, was completed in 2015 and identified limited recreational activities for children and youth in the community, particularly within outlying areas, as a priority.

Shortly thereafter, Berthe Thériault, then-acting principal of the Baie-Sainte-Anne Regional School, began the process of putting together a group of like-minded people to build a new community playground at the school.

A committee was formed, made up of parents, and Sonia Strangemore, a teacher at Baie-Sainte-Anne Regional School, came on as the school liaison.

“We wanted to bring life to the community, a whole sense of pride, so we wanted to have this as a community park, not just for the school,” Sonia said. “We wanted a place to bring people together.”

When teachers asked students about what they felt their school needed, they were onboard.

“I thought, why not have a new park?” said Morgan Doucet, a 14-year old student at the school.

The former playground at the school was less than ideal. Equipment was rusted, and nothing was accessible by a wheelchair.

“The wheelchairs couldn’t go on anything. We couldn’t go and have fun,” Morgan said. “All we could do was sit and watch the others.”

Morgan lives with Morquio syndrome, a disease that prevents his body from breaking down sugar molecules. Because of this, Morgan uses a wheelchair.

Sonia said the committee drew up a plan for the park, with an estimate of $341,000, so the committee got to work on fundraising.

“For a small community, whenever you fundraise, we did what we could. We did a chase the ace, and finally when the jackpot was finally starting to build, someone won,” she said. “So we reached out to the local fishermen’s union.”

The committee sent a letter to the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, along with a video featuring Morgan. The union members met and within 15 minutes, Sonia received word – they voted and were funding the entire project.

Mathieu Doucette, Maritime Fishermen’s Union representative for Baie-Sainte-Anne, said the union members present at the meeting voted yes, unanimously to fund the entire playground project.

“We know that kids need to go outside, they needed a playground, especially for kids in wheelchairs,” said Mathieu.

“We were crying, we were ecstatic. The kids were ecstatic,” Sonia said. “Without the union, we would still be fundraising in 10 years.”

In addition to limited recreational activities, Sonia, who has since become the president of the Baie-Sainte-Anne Community Park Committee, said the Baie-Sainte-Anne area has a lot of residents with accessibility issues.

“For a small population, we have a high number of people with special physical needs and accessibility issues,” Sonia said. “We kept hearing from our students ‘We want everyone to be able to play,’ and then we knew we had to do something.”

It was important for the playground to be available for the entire community, not just the students during school hours.

“It’s going to be a gathering place, for sure. We can envision families coming to the park on the weekends, and using it for community events,” Sonia said.

Phase 1 of the new playground was completed in the fall of 2019. This includes accessible swings, and a whole section of play equipment that’s accessible. Instead of gravel on the ground, there’s sawdust which is easier for wheelchairs to roll over.

“Now, me and my friends can all go play together. Other people in wheelchairs are able to go too.”

Morgan Doucet

Sophie Durelle-Catalano, registered nurse and coordinator of Horizon’s Baie-Sainte-Anne Health Centre, said children with mobility issues are benefitting from having the chance to play at an accessible playground.

“No one has to feel left out, everyone can be together and play with their friends,” Sophie said. “Once Phase 2 is completed, it will really become a gathering place for the whole community.”

Phase 2 of the park will be completed in 2020 and will include an accessible walking track. Once Phase 2 is completed, there will be more opportunities to fundraise and bring the community together to build picnic tables, a gazebo and eventually add some lighting.

Sophie said as part of the Community Advisory Committee that participated in the CHNA process, she is thrilled to see the playground project get off the ground.

“We were really limited in recreational space in our area, and now it’s all coming together,” she said. “A space for friends and families to gather together is so important.”

Perhaps one of the most exciting part of this whole project is the awareness students now have around accessibility in their community.

“I’m part of a group of friends at school who like to do things, we like to get things done,” Morgan said. “We have noticed a few things, but we haven’t begun any work yet.”

July 11, 2020

By Chad Duplessie, Community Developer for the Miramichi Area

Food Delivery: Chad Duplessie, Horizon community developer, and Erica Ward, manager of Natoaganeg Community Food Centre prepare produce bags for pick up.

If there is a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be that it allowed us to pause, reassess our lifestyle and get back to the basics.

Whether it’s a simpler schedule for families, relying on our closest friends and family as we invite them into our bubble, or evaluating and adjusting how we source and eat our meals. This was the case for my family, especially in those initial quarantine weeks.

I have three little kidlets, eight-year old Camden, six-year old Edie, and three-year old Calla. We are a busy family as my wife works as a Community Manager at the largest nursing home on the river and I, along with working as a community developer with Horizon, am also city councilor for the City of Miramichi.

We started cooking meals as a family, and not rushing out the door to sports with a Pizza Pop in everyone’s hand. We had to schedule our meals more and we needed to plan our groceries for our online order and curbside pickup.

During those initial days of COVID-19, it was downright scary. Our food system was incredibly fragile as supply chains began to break down, processing plants had sweeping infections and our community members had increased barriers to healthy food access.

Before the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB), the industrial nonprofit response, and before we even knew what was coming or what a new normal would look like, our regional networks, which included myself and other Horizon employees, began discussing a new model for healthy food access.

Our community needed a program that would optimize a short supply chain and surround participants with expertise through all the new virtual tools we were learning how to use. 

What came from these discussions was the Back to Basics pilot program. This is in partnership with Roots to Table, the Natoaganeg (Eel Ground First Nation) Community Food Centre and Green Life Farms. It utilizes an exceptionally short supply chain (under 10 kilometres), and builds on a diverse group of food skills, food literacy and understanding of our local food system.

The program is currently in its fourth week of operation and it’s going great! We have a group of 10 participants recruited by the Miramichi Multicultural Association, Natoaganeg Community Food Centre and Horizon Public Health.

Each week the participants meet at the Natoaganeg Community Food Centre to pick up their bag of farm fresh produce, connect with one another (in a physically distant and safe manner), then head home to begin cooking. Then, they share their cooking through our Facebook group.

We have seen some incredible recipes. From kale pesto pasta, to parmesan crusted roasted turnips. We have such a diverse group of participants, from different cultures and backgrounds, so the meals are just as diverse. We have participants from the Caribbean, Philippines, Spain, Mi’kma’ki and Miramichi.

We have youth, elders, single moms and whole families. Back to Basics has an incredible support team with a Red Seal chef, a dietician and a master preserver all at the ready to answer questions and share tips and hints through videos, photos and recipes.

My work has always revolved around community and working with diverse populations to create moments of sharing, connection and fun. From my days directing summer camps at Camp Rotary and Camp Sheldrake, to my incredible experience working in Natoaganeg as they developed a comprehensive community food security strategy. A strategy that includes community hunters, community fisheries, community gardens, school meal programs and the Natoaganeg Community Food Centre.

I have a passion for food, both the eating of it and the sharing of it. Food, especially good, healthy, local food can bring people together in a way that creates warmth and emphasizes that we are all, at the core, human. We need food and water, at the most basic level. But the beauty of food and communities is how they evolve through hardships. Those evolutions result in a better and more engaging experience at a community level and establish more cohesion and tradition within our families.

I continue to be active with the work to increase our food security in both our community and our province. I am a member of Roots to Table, the Northumberland Region’s food security network, and also chair Food for All NB, the provincial food security network.

The diversity of flavours and cultures in the Back to Basics pilot project has allowed for a program that can grow to a new way of accessing the most delicious, nutritious and local food in a supported, diverse and dignified way.

So I encourage us all to have a peek at our lifestyle and see where we can take it back to the basics.

Chad Duplessie works as a community developer in the Miramichi Region. He’s been working with Horizon since the fall off 2019. Born in Nunavut but raised in Miramichi, Chad comes from a family of educators but has found his passions in community, food and youth engagement. He is a graduate of St. Thomas University’s Human Rights program and has worked with a number of organizations helping to build healthier communities.

Creating sustainable and impactful programs is something he is exceptionally passionate about, and often these projects start with an idea.

If you have an idea of a community project that could help build a stronger, healthier community please reach out to Chad to chat by emailing Chad.duplessie@horizonnb.ca

March 7, 2020 – Tucked in the heart of the community, Horizon’s Neguac Health Centre is a place where patients and clients get the care they need, close to home.

Photo2

The health centre is a family practice that services the primarily francophone community of Neguac and its outlying communities, which also includes Esgenoôpetitj First Nation.

It’s staffed by two physicians, a licensed practical nurse, administrative support staff, and Registered Nurse Jacqueline Savoie, who also serves as its coordinator.

Physicians

Dr. Adrien Melanson and Dr. Lauza Picard, have their practices at the centre. On a typical week, one works Monday to Wednesday, while the other works Thursday and Friday

The two physicians work collaboratively with the health centre team to support patients. If, for example, one is on vacation, patients can make an appointment with the other, so the continuum of care is always maintained.

Lab services

Each Monday and Thursday, the health centre offers lab services for blood work.

“Most of our patients know if they are required to have bloodwork done, we’ll book it within two or three weeks, sooner if necessary,” said Jacqueline. “The same goes for physician appointments, patients are usually seen within a week and sooner if it is urgent.”

Photo3

This kind of community care is important to keep people from making the hour and 20-minute round trip to Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital.

“Having this kind of care in Neguac alleviates the pressure on the emergency room at the hospital,” said Jacqueline. “So if we can save patients a trip to the emergency room, we’re going to do that.”

Clinical services

Patients can access the health centre for clinical services and appointments with their provider. Staff work together with Horizon’s Public Health teams to provide injections, and adult vaccinations.

Photo4

“In this region, we have a great number of tobacco smokers,” Jacqueline said. “We offer the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation.”

The Regional Diabetes Program provides monthly clinics, which include a case manager, registered nurse and a registered dietitian.

Support and therapy

A speech therapist is available weekly for the assessment and treatment of speech and communication disorders for youth. A registered dietitian is available weekly for weight- loss counselling.

Staff at the health centre are capable of testing urine, throat swabs, and blood for clotting problems; and there are videoconferencing capabilities.

“Patients can have face-to-face communications with different professionals like psychologists, and any provider who can accommodate, without having to travel the distance,” said Jacqueline. “Patients can also attend Cardiac Wellness sessions through videoconferencing.”

Photo5

When there is a service that’s unavailable at the health centre, patients will be referred to another specialist or to Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital for care.

“There are a few times where we have to send someone to the hospital, but if we can provide the service, at the health centre, we will,” said Jacqueline. “We want to keep people in the community for their care.”

Renovations complete

Renovations to the health centre were completed in September 2019 and the layout of the clinic has changed.

Photo6

The former main entrance is now for staff only, while patient and clients use the right entrance, next to the wheelchair ramp. Once inside the waiting area is to the right, and the new reception desk protects the privacy of staff and any patient information.

“Neguac shares a common goal of all New Brunswickers, which is to be able to access quality health care, right at home,” said Jean Daigle, VP of Community for Horizon. “Patients and clients have their health centre with its community-based services, but when it’s needed, Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital isn’t too far away.”

March 3, 2020

It’s a simple concept: you pay $10 to register and you’re weighed weekly for 10 weeks. At the end of the 10 weeks, you and anyone who’s lost 10 pounds, splits the registration money.

The 10-10-10 program is run by Registered Nurse, Maxine Caissie, who serves as the coordinator of Horizon’s Rogersville Health Centre.

“So if I have 30 people registered, but only two make the 10-pound goal, those two people get $150,” Maxine said.

When people sign up, they pay the $10 fee and get weighed. Then, they come back each week to get weighed.

Photo2

“There is counselling, if people need it, we can refer them to the dietitian,” Maxine said. “And some people just want to get weighed on the same scale, every week.”

Programs like Weight Watchers aren’t available in a small community like Rogersville, so we rely on outside the box thinkers like Maxine to find creative ways to work towards Horizon’s mission of Helping People Be Healthy.

“I often say that good health is more than good health care, it goes beyond the walls of our hospitals – it starts with wellness,” said Jean Daigle, Horizon’s VP of Community. “And like health care, the work Maxine does in Rogersville extends far beyond her work as an RN and coordinator at the health centre.”

Only 10 per cent of health is tied to the health system, which is why Horizon works with individuals and agencies at the community level to address the remaining 90 per cent.

“Maxine offering community programs like 10-10-10 at Horizon’s Rogersville Health Centre is what we like to see happening at the community level,” Jean said. “People go in for their weigh-in and if they’re struggling, they can be referred to the dietitian. It’s simple and it works.”

The village is located approximately 50 kilometres south of the city of Miramichi and has a population of 1,116 (Statistics Canada, 2016). To drive to Miramichi, on a sunny day, takes approximately 40 minutes. In the winter, it takes even longer.

“It’s just not feasible for people to drive to the city on a weekly basis like that, so we had to offer something easy right here in Rogersville,” said Maxine.

Photo1

Maxine started the 10-10-10 program in 2012, and aside from the Christmas season, she runs them back-to-back.

“As soon as one finishes, I start another one, but no one wants to come in over Christmas,” she said with a laugh. “But I know in January, I’ll have at least 30 or 40 people sign up.”

Maxine said the 10-10-10 is about being held accountable.

“You’re accountable to yourself. You get on the scale and you know you’ve gained weight, but you say to yourself: ‘OK I’m going to do better this week’.”

Maxine said there are a few couples who come together, which is added accountability.

“I often say, if you come with another person, you’re accountable to them,” she said. “Sometimes people will say ‘Oh I had a bad week, I’m not going,’ but if you come with a friend, they’ll encourage you.”

For more information on the 10-10-10 program, call Horizon’s Rogersville Health Centre at 506-775-6108.

Feb. 27, 2020

Food insecurity surfaces as a common theme when looking at community needs across New Brunswick, and the rural community of Blackville is no different.

The Miramichi Area Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) identified food insecurity as a priority. Blackville, while located approximately 50 kilometres southwest of the city of Miramichi, is included in the Miramichi Area CHNA.

Jessica Bowie and Melanie Cormier are both Horizon Public Health dietitians who are part of the Roots to Table network which supports the Chefs! programs in schools.

“The program helps improve the health and well-being of students in the Blackville area, teaching them skills in the kitchen that will be of benefit to them for life,” Jessica said.

“Children and youth learn about healthy eating and physical activity while they learn the fun of cooking,” Melanie said.

“The support from the local food security network also includes training volunteers and supplying them with cooking utensils,” said Jessica.

For either six or 12 weeks, Grade 5 students meet weekly to learn basic cooking skills.

They learn how and when to wash their hands, proper knife handling and other safety techniques, food safety, healthy eating tips, using fresh ingredients and more. They also learn about the importance of being active.

“All of these skills help them grow into independent adults, non-reliant on pre-packaged and fast food,” said Melanie. “The idea is to bring back the basics of cooking skills to increase food literacy and encourage students to adopt a healthy lifestyle.”

Brenda Stewart is vice president of the Blackville Home and School Association, who coordinates and facilitates the sessions.

“The kids love it so much, they look forward to it every week,” she said.

The sessions begin with kitchen and food safety, and then they get into using the stove.

“Frying food in a pan, then boiling things like potatoes and carrots,” Brenda said. “Then we get into cooking food in the oven.”

Brenda said the students enjoy the hands-on experience, which is a great way to learn.

“It’s interactive, they’re up, they’re cooking and they’re learning,” Brenda said.

And no matter how bad or good their dish turns out, they made it themselves.

 “I’ll stand back and make them mix up the hamburger with the egg and they gag, and they’re grossed out – but at the end, they always say ‘I made it, I have to try it’.”

Brenda’s favourite class? One session, she’ll bring in a variety food and students have to try them.

“I buy a whole bunch of different foods like soy milk, lactose-free milk, avocados, hummus, grapefruit, goat cheese and different things like that,” she said. “And the kids have to try them, they have to experiment with different foods.”

Similar programs are run at schools in Baie-Sainte-Anne, Neguac, Rogersville, Red Bank and other schools in the Miramichi region.

“The kids get right into cooking, and it’s so great to see!” Brenda said. “It’s a fun little class. They all just love it.”

Feb. 25, 2020

In the rural community of Blackville, citizens have access to quality care, close to home at Horizon’s Blackville Health Centre.

Just off Main Street on Schafer Lane, the health centre is a family practice that provides services to the village of Blackville and its outlying communities.

The health centre is staffed by Patty McNeil and Faith Warren, administrative support workers, and Wendy Vickers, a registered nurse who is also the health centre’s coordinator. Dr. Arthur Losier and Dr. Nina Zigante have practices at the health centre, and between to the two doctors, one is available to see patients Monday to Friday.  

The two physicians work collaboratively with the health centre team to support patients and clients.

“We have a family practice, and I’m available to the community for anything people might need,” Wendy said. “If a patient needs to see Dr. Zigante and she’s on vacation, we can get them in to see Dr. Losier and vice versa. They’ll never go without care.”

Sometimes a patient will call for something that isn’t urgent, but they need to see a physician, and theirs is unavailable. The administrator can book them in with the other, that way, the client is able to be cared for without leaving Blackville.

“People are used to coming to the health centre. They don’t want to have to drive to the city,” Wendy said.

Services available at the health centre include addiction and mental health, clinical services, injections and vaccines (in conjunction with Blackville Public Health), and baby wellness clinics.

“They can come in and get their sutures removed, wound care, dressing changes and those kinds of services,” said Wendy.

They allow specimens to be dropped off Monday, Wednesday and Friday before 11 a.m. and do on-site blood collection on Tuesdays from 8 to 10:30 a.m.

“This means anytime one of our physicians orders bloodwork, our admin can book the appointment on their way out the door,” Wendy said. “We can usually get them back in for bloodwork before a couple of weeks.”

This saves patients and clients the 90-minute round trip to Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital for bloodwork.

“Driving to the distance to the Miramichi hospital for care isn’t always ideal, especially in the winter,” Wendy said. “Considering we have an older population, we want to ensure they can receive care right here at home.”

In addition to clinical and lab services, the health centre hosts monthly diabetes clinics with a dietitian and nurse.

“There’s a definite need in our area for diabetes clinics, so that one is always happening,” Wendy said. “Depending on what the population needs, we’ll provide clinics.”

Feb. 22, 2020

Photo2

Perhaps better than anyone, Mike Devine can appreciate the value of having a community health centre like Horizon’s Neguac Health Centre.

Mike, who’s 71-years old today, believes if he hadn’t gone to the health centre, on the recommendation of his pharmacist, that he would not be alive to tell his story.

It was July 9, 2018. Mike had, what he describes as a spell. It passed, then the next morning, he went to talk to his pharmacist.

“I went to get my pressure checked and she told me to go see my doctor,” he said. “I broke out in sweats, was sick to my stomach, my chest was on fire and my jaw was aching.”

Photo1

Mike’s family physician, Dr. Adrien Melanson, works out of Horizon’s Neguac Health Centre three days per week. He called to make an appointment, but Dr. Melanson wasn’t available. But he was able to get in to see Dr. Lauza Picard.

“I explained everything to her and as soon as I mentioned having a jaw ache, she said she wanted me to go to the hospital right away,” he said.

Mike made the approximate 10-minute drive back to his home in Lagacéville, had a shower and headed to Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital (MRH), an approximate 40-minute drive.

“They hooked me up to the machines, did bloodwork right away and came back and told me I wasn’t going anywhere,” he said.

He was admitted and told he’d had a mild heart attack. They wanted to keep a close eye on him until they could get him to the New Brunswick Heart Centre at Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital for a dye test.

“I was at the Miramichi hospital for five days, it was a bit frustrating, but at the end of the day, my frustration was nothing,” Mike said. “I know I was waiting because they were helping sick people down at the heart centre.”

After five days, Mike was transported by ambulance to the heart centre. The following day, Dr. Jaroslav Hubacek, an interventional cardiologist, performed a coronary angiogram (a dye test), which identified the cause of Mike’s heart attack.

“It was caused by long blockages with 60, 90 and 60 per cent narrowing in the artery at the back of the heart (circumflex artery),” he said.

Dr. Hubacek said the blockages in circumflex artery were treated with an angioplasty and stent.

“Furthermore, the tiny artery on the right side (right coronary artery) was found to be completely blocked, but the occlusion occurred gradually, and the body created its own natural bypasses.”

Dr. Hubacek said in Mike’s case, the blockage of this tiny vessel and other minor narrowings were best treated by medications, since they were not in the range where any intervention was required.

“It will be important for Mike to lead as healthy a lifestyle as possible, controlling his risk factors to decrease the probability of those narrowings getting worse,” Dr. Hubacek said.

After his procedure, Mike stayed at the heart centre for one more night before returning back to him home in Lagacéville.

“But I wasn’t afraid for a second because the nurses at the heart centre are incredible,” Mike said. “I never worried for an ounce of time when I was there. They were so attentive and professional. In Saint John and in Miramichi.”

Dr. Melanson arranged for a checkup soon after he returned home.

“When a patient is released from the hospital, they’re told they need to see their family doctor within a week,” said Dr. Melanson. “The most important thing we can do in a small community is provide access to care on a pretty expeditious basis.”

When Mike thinks back to July 2018, he said if it wasn’t for the Neguac Health Centre, he might not be here today. While his family physician wasn’t available that day, he was able to get in to see Dr. Picard almost immediately.

“We’re so lucky here in this country, especially New Brunswick. We are so well looked after,” Mike said. “But I will say, if something like this ever happens again, I’m going to call an ambulance.”

Feb. 20, 2020

The team at Horizon’s Miramichi Health Centre works together on providing health care and a range of health services that focus on health and wellness.

This includes preventive-health services for women, known as well-women clinics.

Photo2

These well-women clinics take place each Thursday and are for anything related to the wellness of a woman – from sexual health concerns to menopause, and anything in between.

Registered Nurse Sylvie Comeau, who also serves as the health centre’s coordinator, said clients can access this service, regardless of whether they have a family doctor or nurse practitioner. 

“We don’t want a referral standing in the way of a woman having access to the health care she needs,” Sylvie said. “And some of our clients have a male provider and are more comfortable with a woman performing their exams.”

Photo1

Sylvie said any woman from the Miramichi area can call to book for their routine Pap smear test, a breast exam, sexually-transmitted infection screening, contraception and counselling regarding menopause.

“When they call, we can get them in usually within a couple of weeks,” Sylvie said. “If it’s for something more urgent like sexually-transmitted infection screening, an appointment can be scheduled more quickly.”

Geneviève Brideau, one of two nurse practitioners at the health centre, said in an average month, they see between 80 and 100 women in the well-women clinic, and all women are offered a manual breast exam during the visit.

“If there are concerns, or they are due for a mammogram, as a nurse practitioner, I can and will send a requisition to the mammogram department,” Geneviève said.

Geneviève said she can facilitate cervical cancer screening, which all women should begin having done by the age of 21.

“Women with adequate screening history may discontinue routine screening at age 69,” Geneviève said. “But this is decided after proper consultation with their health care provider.”

If you’re a woman in the Miramichi Area who needs to access the well-women clinic, call 506-627-7511 to book an appointment.

Feb. 5, 2020

In the summer of 2019, a group of engaged youth built themselves a mountain bike trail. Now, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, the trail can be used for snowshoeing throughout the winter.

Photo4

The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for the Rogersville Area identified limited recreational activities for children and youth in the community as a priority.

A CHNA is a recognized approach to understanding health and wellness at a local, community level. These assessments define a community’s strengths, assets, and needs to guide in the establishment of priorities that improve the health and wellness of the population.

In the summer of 2019, the community responded. The Kevin Pitre Mountain Bike Trail was built. Read more about the trail and Horizon’s involvement in establishing it from Kate Doyle, community developer, Moncton area, Horizon Health Network, by clicking here.

Photo5

Angèle McCaie, manager of the Village of Rogersville, said a group of volunteers from the community will ensure the trail can be used all winter.

“We do not have a groomer, but we have very sweet volunteers that are going to go in and break in the trail after every snowfall,” Angèle said. “Anyone is welcome to go in to snowshoe – or do fat biking.”

Photo2

A fat bike is a bicycle with oversized tires designed for riding over unstable terrain like sand, mud and of course, snow.

Registered Nurse Maxine Caissie, who serves as the coordinator of Horizon’s Rogersville Health Centre, said since work began on the trail in July, it’s been extended about three kilometres.

“We have a really great and engaged youth in our community. They love the trail. They love building and maintaining it,” said Maxine. “It’s because it’s their trail, they are proud of it and it’s really awesome to see.”

Jean Daigle, VP for Community for Horizon, said these youth are setting an example to their younger peers.

“They are showing younger children that being outdoors and active is fun,” he said. “Going out after school to work on the trail is a fun way to stay active – and it keeps youth healthy.”

Photo1

The trail was made possible thanks to funding from the Sport and Recreation Branch of the provincial Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture as well as Horizon’s Community Innovation Fund, which comes from Horizon’s Population Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Management Department.

About halfway through the trail is a peak with a lookout, where a bench now sits.

Photo6

“My husband and children built it with leftover wood from a carpentry course they gave last summer,” Angèle said. “When you sit on the bench, there’s a beautiful view of the forest and marsh area. It’s really nice.”

Maxine said the Village hopes to invite Justin Truelove from the International Mountain Bike Association to come back to see the progress that’s been made.

“Justin was here for five days in July (2019) and he taught the youth how to build the trail and empowered them to continue to build it,” Maxine said. “We’d love to get him back to Rogersville to see how far they’ve come.”

Maxine said the community of Rogersville really comes together to support one another and provide a good quality of life.

“We’re too far from Miramichi or Moncton to say we’ll use their facilities, so we just do our own thing,” Maxine said. “We collaborate with organizations and it all comes together naturally.”

The official grand opening of the trail, which is located behind the village’s municipal building, took place in October 2019 with the whole community invited.

“We had a beautiful ceremony to honour Kevin’s memory and finished with a round of high fives and hugs – just like Kevin loved to do,” Maxine said.

Photo3

Kevin was a beloved community member who died in June 2019 at the age of 29. The youth who built the trail chose to name it after him because they all agreed: Kevin would have loved it.