Annual autism walk raises awareness

Courtney Debruycker and her son, John, pick out a free book from the Bright Red Bookshelf at the Autism Awareness Walk at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Courtney Debruycker and her son, John, pick out a free book from the Bright Red Bookshelf at the Autism Awareness Walk at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
From left, Micki, Lilia and Jori Sawyer-Ned play in the bubbles during the Autism Awareness Walk at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre on April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)From left, Micki, Lilia and Jori Sawyer-Ned play in the bubbles during the Autism Awareness Walk at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre on April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Left to right, Nixon Nichol, Alexa Taylor and Aspen Nichol check out the StoryWalk at the Autism Awareness walk at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Left to right, Nixon Nichol, Alexa Taylor and Aspen Nichol check out the StoryWalk at the Autism Awareness walk at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Jamie Taylor reads the StoryWalk to Apsen Nichol, left, Alexa Taylor, Nixon Nichol and Jaxon Taylor during the Autism Awareness Walk at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Jamie Taylor reads the StoryWalk to Apsen Nichol, left, Alexa Taylor, Nixon Nichol and Jaxon Taylor during the Autism Awareness Walk at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Blue Sky’s Autism Services staffer Addilyn Ratcliff hands out take-home activity kits to Jaxon Taylor (yellow), Alexa Taylor (middle) and Aspen Nichol while Jamie Taylor looks on. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Blue Sky’s Autism Services staffer Addilyn Ratcliff hands out take-home activity kits to Jaxon Taylor (yellow), Alexa Taylor (middle) and Aspen Nichol while Jamie Taylor looks on. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Malcolm Thomas participated in the annual Autism Walk last week. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press).Malcolm Thomas participated in the annual Autism Walk last week. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press).
Blue Sky’s Autism Services hosted a Covid-friendly Autism Awareness event at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre grounds April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Blue Sky’s Autism Services hosted a Covid-friendly Autism Awareness event at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre grounds April 23, 2021. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Organizers of a self-guided event to raise awareness about autism were delighted with the turnout last week.

Dozens of families took part in the COVID-friendly Autism Awareness walk around the 100 Mile marsh April 23. The annual event was revamped this year to meet current health restrictions.

Instead of walking as a group, participants strolled the pathway at various times throughout the day. An information booth, take-home activity kits, free books from the Red Bookshelf program, snacks and a self-guided StoryWalk were also set up on the lawn of the South Cariboo Visitor Centre.

Considering the limitations of hosting events during the current restrictions, organizers from Blue Sky’s Autism Services were happy with how the day unfolded.

Krysta Stewart said she was excited to see many of her Blue Sky families stop by to visit, but also several groups that she didn’t know.

READ MORE: Socially distant walk planned for Autism Awareness

“I have seen a lot of new faces who aren’t with our program so that is really neat,” Stewart said, noting her group was grateful to be able to use the visitor centre grounds. “I think the location of having it here at the visitor’s centre has worked really well also. People can carry on and walk around the marsh when they’re done here if they want.”

Stewart estimated that more than 100 people visited the event throughout the day, and was pleased to also see many other community members out for a stroll and taking in some of the information they had provided.

“It was really nice to see people from the community reading the facts that we posted along the marsh, which was a perfect way to have that exposure without people feeling that they had to come in,” she said.

Stewart said the day’s success was in large part to the hard work of her team at Blue Sky, as well as the generosity of the South Cariboo Visitor’s Centre for the use of the property and Save-On-Foods for donating snacks. She said the group is looking forward to seeing what next year will bring.

“It was so nice to be out in the community in a big, open-air space. We are really grateful for how it turned out.”



melissa,smalley@100milefreepress.net

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