ICES Friendship Day includes ice fishing at Keho Lake with Syrian students

It was Friendship Day on Feb. 14 at Immanuel Christian Elementary School.

The focus of the day was to build community both within the school and to promote friendship in the community. 

Students learned about building relationships and engaged in fun team-building activities, as the highlight featured an activity with the school’s Grade 4/5 options classes.

The Grade 4/5 students went on an ice-fishing trip to Keho Lake, which included a hot dog roast, hot chocolate and ball hockey on the lake. 

As part of a community-building extension activity, ICES invited Grade 4/5 Syrian students who have recently settled in the Lethbridge area. 

“As part of our Christian outreach we want to give ICES students an opportunity to befriend, engage and share a great Canadian winter activity with people who have had some turmoil in their early lives,” said ICES principal Jay Visser.

The school worked with Lethbridge School District No. 51 and Immigrant Services to plan the event, as the morning featured a talk at ICES from David Fuller, the District’s English as a Second Language - Lead Teacher, who gave students a little more information about the background and experiences of the Syrian students, to help ICES students understand and connect with them. 

The ice-fishing event was a culmination of the school’s options classes, as the students that had taken the Intro to Fishing class were asked to take the lead, with significant supervision. 

The friendship, community-building aspect of the trip was key to the day, according to Visser.

“This enables our students a chance to learn about a different culture/group of people and also extend to them hands of friendship. Given that these people are new to Canada, and have had a tumultuous last 12-24 months, we want to show Christian love to them and share with them a popular Canadian winter past time.”

Syrian students and in some cases, their family members, fished alongside ICES students and volunteers, who taught the students the ins and outs of ice fishing.

Many groups managed to pull fish from the lake and for many, it was their first experience with a truly Canadian winter activity.

Date posted: Feb. 15, 2017

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