Merritt British Columbia Canada tourism and travel adventures in and around the Nicola Valley.

Managing Cash Flow Merritt – The First Pillar of Financial Planning

“If we arrange our retirement income correctly we can lower the tax we pay over our retirement and, eventually, lower the amount of taxes due at our passing on.”

Managing Cash Flow in Merritt, BC – Last edition we looked from a high level overview at the 6 pillars of financial planning. This edition will focus a little more in depth into the financial pillar of managing cash flow. 

managing cash flow merritt

Budgets are just guides. We are in control of how they flow.

 

Managing Cash Flow Begins With A Cash Flow Analysis

Managing cash flow in Merritt, or anywhere else, varies over our pre-retirement and retirement years. No matter the season of life, the process remains the same.

First, we need to determine all the sources of income that we have entering our picture. Then we need to determine our current and future expenses. This can be tricky as future expenses will increase due to inflation and the loss of purchasing power takes place on our retirement nest egg.

 

managing cash flow merritt logan lake

To coffee, or not to coffee…that is the question…

 

Managing Our Income In Our Pre-retirement Years

In our pre-retirement years, income will come in different ways. We will earn employment income, rental income or income from being self-employed. If incorporated the income may come through dividends. We could even receive capital gains from our investments. These are all taxed differently and the goal is to bring them “into our picture” in the most tax efficient manner. For the most part, if planned properly, we are in control of how we receive these and even when.

 

How We Determine Our Retirement Paycheque

In retirement we could still receive any of the incomes listed above. There are a few additional benefits that become available in our sixties. Firstly, between the ages of 60 and 70 we can begin receiving CPP or Canada Pension Plan benefits. If you receive the benefit before age 65, you will receive a penalty of 0.6% per month that it is taken early. Alternatively, each month after 65 that you delay receiving CPP you are paid a 0.7% bonus for life.

Secondly, between age 65 and age 70 we can begin receiving OAS or Old Age Security. Thirdly, the year we turn 71, it is mandatory that by December 31st of that year any RRSP’s, or Registered Retirement Saving Plan’s, are converted into RRIF’s, or Registered Retirement Income Funds. The government determines the mandatory minimum amount that must be withdrawn on an annual basis. Confusing? You bet it is! Fourthly, there is even a GIS, or Guaranteed Income Supplement, available in the mid to late sixties to those who can qualify for it. 

moneyadvicemerrittbc

Always just a phone call away.

 

“Why Would I Wait To Receive Government Benefits?”

A common question I am asked. It is uniquely situational. Each individual or couple has different things that are available at different times in their life. Some are struggling  to make ends meet when they reach 60 years old and just take the CPP benefit early. Others may be receiving payouts upon their retirement and delaying additional income a year may be beneficial. Most answers are based on tax strategies when it comes to planning in this area. There is no cut and dry best time to take it for everyone. It must be something that is analyzed and planned for. 

Some Things To Have In Place Before Retirement

Most of us will be at the height of our earning years before retirement. If planned for, we could see ourselves entering retirement mortgage free. There is no better time to have a line of credit or credit solution in place “just in case” we may need it in retirement. Credit solutions always look at what you own and what you earn. However, if you wait until you are already retired it will reduce the credit you have available. 

Tax-efficiency Is Key In Retirement Income Planning

There are many strategies for income planning in retirement. Again, all are uniquely situational. Similar to questions raised above like, “When do I start collecting CPP or OAS?” These are big picture questions.  It is all tied in together. Taxes are the single largest expense of our lifetime. If we arrange our retirement income correctly we can lower the tax we pay over our retirement and, eventually, lower the amount of taxes due at our passing on.

These Decisions Have Lasting Effects,

Seek Professional Help To Get It Right!

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Managing Cash Flow – Nicola Valley

 

Financial Planning Near Merritt, BC

Managing your cash flow Merritt

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Paska Lake is camping near Merritt BC

Paska Lake – Shirley Reynolds Photo

Camping Near Merritt BC Canada

Paska Lake is a good reason to come camping near Merritt BC

“Paska Lake is just one of almost two hundred lakes that are within an hours drive from Merritt. This is one of the reasons I love living in Merritt.”

I have talked about Camping near Merritt BC before where I outlined the pleasures of camping in the Kane Valley at Harmon Lake. This time we will travel 45 minutes north of Merritt to Paska Lake.  You will find the turn off to the lake on Hwy 97D between Lac Lejeune and Logan Lake.  You will travel up a narrow road that could use a few of the potholes filled.  However the travel is well worth it like most lakes when camping near Merritt BC.

The Forestry Site is Magnificent for Camping near Merritt, BC

This forestry site is on a gentle hillside and contains around 50 sites.  Each site is easy to back into and gives you stunning views of the lake.  When we arrived we were lucky to find a lakeside site available which we grabbed right a way.  The view was exquisite from this vantage point.

camping near merritt bc

campsite view -Tom Reynolds photo

Camping Near Merritt,BC- Bring on the Birds

Geese Familu

Geese Family – Shirley Reynolds Photo

One of our favourite activities is to watch for the various birds in our area.  However, we are not birders and therefore could not necessarily name all those birds that we noticed.  Having said that, we had no difficulty in naming the Canadian geese that were hanging around the lake shore.  This lovely family came by our site every morning at the same time.

The loons were too far out to get their picture but we enjoyed watching them dive and then trying to guess where they would show up.  I am amazed at how far they can travel under water.  Their haunting sound reminds you that you are not in the big city any more.

You can’t beat the food when camping 

The best part about camping is the food.  For some reason everything just seems to taste better outdoors.  For example, one of our go to breakfasts is blueberry pancakes.  It seems like the berries are fresh picked.  Bacon is tasty wherever it is served but is still better when camping.

Breakfast is part of camping near merritt bc

Breakfast at camp – Shirley Reynolds Photo

Biking while camping near Merritt, BC

One of my favourite activities when I go camping is to go for a spin on my bike.  The Paska Lake area has lots of trails and logging roads to explore.  However, this trip I decided to tour the little community just down the road from our campsite.

Since I am now in my seventies I find riding my bike uphill has become a real chore.  However, my friend Travis Fehr at Breathe Bikes came up with the perfect solution. He turned my bike into an electric bike by installing an e-bike system.  Now I don’t care about hills anymore because my new system assists with the hills.

Tom's bike

Tom’s electric bike – Tom Reynolds photo

With my electric assist on I was a able to pedal from the lakeside up to the road with ease.  Around a kilometre from the campground is a group of cottages.  While cottages are disappearing, to be replaced with monster houses, this area still has the classic cottage.

Classic Cottage

Classic cottage-Shirley Reynolds Photo

Other Activities at Paska Lake

This lake is great for swimming.  I was surprised that the lake temperature was actually decent considering it is a high mountain lake.  Anyway, the kids in the campsite next to us spent a lot of time in the water.

Of course camping near Merritt, BC would not be complete without fishing.  There is nothing better than rainbow trout done on the grill.

When we were there the weather was perfect for kayaking as there was no wind. We were able to travel around the lake with ease.

Camping near Merritt, BC is endless,

Paska Lake is just one of almost two hundred lakes that are within an hours drive from Merritt.  This is one of the reasons I love living in Merritt.  If you can’t be as lucky as I am you can always come and spend a little time in the Nicola Valley on your holidays.  Once you do you will want to come back again and again.

Camping Near Merritt, BC

Adventures of Paska Lake

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

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Merritt Hotels – Hotels, Motels and Inns In The Nicola Valley

Places to stay in Merritt British Columbia Canada

“When your community is a central base camp for year round adventures in the region it sure helps that you can provide hotel accommodations servicing all price points. Merritt does.” 

 

Merritt hotels are just some of the accommodations available to visitors who come to the Nicola Valley for adventure, business, events and/or just to connect with family. On the other hand there are also campgrounds, vacation homes, cottages, fishing resorts, guest ranches and bed and breakfasts. Many of which, already, have an Experience Nicola Valley blog written about them. That was then. This is now. However, today we are discussing some our larger Merritt hotels and motels for your planning pleasure.

Merritt Hotels , Motels , and Inns

Times have changed. Therefore, the rules for operating a hotel, motel and inn have changed. However, in  today’s world of COVID 19 travel, outdoor adventures are in. So are accommodations who practice physical distancing and who have applied a solid game plan when it comes to safety and cleaning protocols. Consequently, many of the hotels have implemented safety protocols and physical distancing measures. However, it is best to phone or visit the website of your hotel destination to check in on the exact measures they are taking. We are not here to discuss safety protocols. We are here to share with you the selection of  larger hotels and motels operating in and round Merritt, British Columbia, Canada for your next visit to the region. 

You Want It. We Have the Bed for You

Merritt hotels and motels, each are unique in their own way. Consequently, there are hotels rooms and/or self contained suites in the Nicola Valley which are economical, as well as, there are high quality rooms where comfort, amenities and luxury are your selling features. Depending on your accommodation needs and wants, the Nicola Valley is able to satisfy your hotel preferences.

Location. Location. And Yes Location 

If it comes down to price point. Merritt has it covered. If it comes to amenities. The Nicola Valley has got that one covered too. Location? Got it covered. There are hotels and motels at the top of the hill within walking distances to restaurants, pub,  and big box stores.  On the other hand, down the hill, there are Merritt hotels and motels in and near Downtown Merritt shopping, restaurants, pubs, retail stores and coffee shops. See… we got you covered. 

Below is a List of the Merritt Hotels and Motels

Click this link for full list of Nicola Valley hotels and motels with description, website links, booking features,  and more

best western merritt bc

Best Western Plus – Merritt

3969 Crawford Ave.
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1C4
Phone: +1 250-378-0700

Featured Article: https://experiencenicolavalley.com/best-western-plus-merritt-accommodation/
Photo Credit: Laurie Turmel

comfort inn merritt british columbia

Comfort Inn and Suites – Merritt

3713 De Wolf Way
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1C4
Phone: 1 250 315-0237

Featured Article: https://experiencenicolavalley.com/hotels-in-merritt-bc-comfort-inn/
Photo Credit : Julie Pollard

Ramada Hotel – Merritt

3571 Voght Street 
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1C5
Phone: 1 250 378-3567

Featured Article: https://experiencenicolavalley.com/places-to-stay-in-merritt-bc-ramada/
Photo Credit: House Member

Consequently, I have had the pleasure of staying with this hotel accommodation on my visits to the region for work and research. The owner, Gurpreet, is one of nicest guys you will ever meet in town.  Clean, quiet and loving those morning breakfasts! There is a swimming pool with a huge slide for kids. I, on the other hand, took a pass on the slide. 

intown suites
Intown Inn and Suites

2201 Voght Street
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1B8
Phone: 1 250-378-4291

Photo Credit:  ehCanadaTravel.com


Super 8 – Merritt

3561 Voght St
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
Phone: 1 250-378-9422

Photo Credit:  Johanne Schmidts


Quality Inn – Merritt

4025 Walters St
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1K1
Phone: 1 250.378.4253

Featured Article – https://experiencenicolavalley.com/indian-restaurants-in-merritt-bc-mughal-gardens/
Photo Credit:  ehCanadaTravel.com

merritt hotel accommodations
Merritt Desert Inn

2350 Voght Street
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1B8
Phone: 1 250 378 2254

Photo Credit:  ehCanadaTravel.com

Consequently, I have had the pleasure of staying with this Merritt hotel accommodation on some of my first visits to the region for work and research. It is now under new ownership, of which our team has not stayed with. The accommodation includes a restaurant, conference room and pub. 

quilchena hotel

Quilchena Hotel and Resort

Planet Mine Rd
Quilchena British Columbia Canada
V0E 1S0
Phone: 1 250.378.2611

Photo Credit:  ehCanadaTravel.com

Merritt Hotels and Hotels in the Nicola Valley

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Nicola Valley Hotels, Motels in and around Merritt British Columbia, Canada

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Merritt Mountain Biking in the Nicola Valley

Mountain Biking Trails and more in Merritt British Columbia Canada

It is easy to get outdoors and go mountain biking in the Nicola Valley

 

Outdoor Extreme Merritt Mountain Biking – Along with getting some quality time outdoors, mountain biking in the Nicola Valley provides the best type of mountain biking. No crowds. Lots of trails. Mouth-dropping scenery. Therefore to enjoy the trails in our backcountry all you need is a water bottle and your ride. Nature and the adrenaline rush provides the rest. The Merritt Mountain Biking Association gets all the credit in the Nicola Valley for our trails and for creating such extreme rides.  The Nicola Valley provides the beautiful backcountry scenery, the wildlife sightings,  the remote wilderness  lakes  and the many forested rolling hills. It is here in British Columbia Canada where mountain biking is free, wind in your hair, exploring. It is a secret mountain biking adventure destination. 

merritt mountain biking

After the final climb on Swakum Mountain. Photo Jordan Pinto.

Obviously the Nicola Valley Offers Some of the “Best” Terrain in BC for Avid Mountain Bikers 

While being centrally located, Merritt mountain biking offers a wide range of biking trails for newbies and extreme mountain bikers alike. In addition, Merritt tends to experience mild winters with little snowfall and warm, dry, sunny summers making Merritt a year round mountain biking destination most years.  The best thing about Merritt British Columbia is it is a great base camp for mountain biking nearby areas like the trails in  Kamloops, Kelowna, and the Fraser Valley. A fact that adds to the shine that Merritt is a great destination for multiple mountain biking adventures within BC. But it all starts here. Experience the Nicola Valley on a mountain bike!

Town of Merritt, BC, Canada

Town of Merritt, BC, Canada

Hoodoos Merritt BC Moonshadows Rv Park Coldwater River

Hoodoos Merritt BC Moonshadows Rv Park Coldwater River.

 

Outdoor Extreme Merritt Mountain Biking

Merritt Mountain Biking Accusation. Photo courtesy of Jordan Pinto.

Outdoor Extreme Mountain Biking

Photo by Jordan Pinto President of MMBA.

Become One With Nature

Isn’t it amazing how the power of nature and spending time outdoors can change your mood and your mental health. The nature, the smells and the wildlife have such a huge impact on how you perceive the world and how you feel on any given day. In the midst of this trying and difficult time, everyone needs to feel less stress. It might be time to just enjoy some nature by participating in some Merritt mountain biking.

Outdoor Extreme Mountain Biking in Merritt BC

Photo by Jordan Pinto

Nicola Valley Mountain Biker

Photo by Experience Nicola Valley.


There are something like 220 kilometres of mountain biking trails in the Nicola Valley with 3 main trail riding destinations – Swakum Mountain , Coutlee Plateau and Iron Mountain.
Coutlee Plateau primary trail type is cross-country. Iron Mountain is an all-out mountain & downhill trail network. Check out Trailforks and Experience Merritt for more information about the Nicola Valley. It is not all extreme.

Many are trails which challenge the most experience rider. But not all. There are some great family riding trails in the region. Some are trails which can last for hours and connect to some of our beautiful scenery. Your family will not be disappointed.  

Mountain Biking - Merritt BC

Mountain Biking trails – Merritt BC. Photo Trailforks Jordan Pinto

Extrememountainbikingnicolavalley

Mountain trails. Photo by Jordan Pinto.

 

What Now?

After your great day of mountain biking and exploring our backcountry why not visit one of our outdoor patios for a cool beverage of your choosing. For a small town we have a good selection of restaurants and pubs. Now…  we all know one day will not be enough to explore hundreds of kilometres of trails and over 200+ lakes, so lucky you we have a good selection of hotels and motels. Of course if you prefer to stay exploring the outdoors then check out a park like Monck Park  just 22 km north of Merritt, and then 12 km off Hwy 5A via narrow paved road. The park rests on the shores of one of our lakes. It just happens to be called Nicola Lake.  Moreover there are many lakes to choose from if in need of a cool off.

 

Merrittbc

Lundbom Lake. Photo courtesy of ehCanadaTravel.com.

Mountainbiking

Claybanks Merritt BC. Photo by Tania Stewart.

outdoorswimming.

Alleyne Lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Nicolavalley

Monck Park. Photo by Tania Stewart.

jordan pinto

Jordan Pinto – Merritt Mountain Biking Association

The MMBA (Merritt Mountain Biking Association) came into existence in the spring of 2000.

Jordan Pinto, the President, shared with us that their intentions are to make the riding in the Nicola Valley a great experience. Therefore, one of their primary goals is to advocate for long term trail access by working with Government.

Consequently, the MMBA was one of the first groups in the province to have an agreement with the crown to manage the trails we ride. The MMBA has signed a new agreement with the Province in 2012. Contact Jordan Pinto, the President of the Merritt Mountain Biking Association in Merritt BC Canada, for more information. 

Including the breathtaking and amazing scenery, Merritt has much more to offer. 

Of course during your down time you could take some enjoyment in checking out our downtown shopping. Notably Merritt’s downtown core offers a wide variety of hidden gems.  Truly take the time and stroll downtown Merritt BC.

 

Coldwater Hotel

Thanks to the Coldwater hotel.

 

Nicolavalleytrails

Walking the Trail. Photo by Tom Reynolds.

The best time to visit Merritt BC, Canada is in the summer, fall, winter and the spring. With it’s dry climate through-out the year make it an ideal “Destination Place” year-round . Unknown tourist from the coast.

Whether you are a beginner or a pro mountain biker, Merritt BC provides trails for every-one, every-category and skill level. We have the services to make your stay rock.  Numerous Hotels, Motels, B&Bs as well as campground and RV parks.  The Nicola Valley has it all. Importantly you can leave the hustle and stress behind of the big city and enjoy our small town hospitality. That is truly enjoyable.  Come and join us and explore!

Merritt Mountain Biking in the Nicola Valley, BC. 

 

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Home Schooling in BC Canada

Part 1 in the series of what it looks like for me! A day in the life of a Mom home schooling in BC.

“I have taught 4 of my children to read. It’s been thrilling, rewarding, its almost a feeling I can’t describe. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the fruit of all your efforts pay off and them reading.” Jennifer Schell

A day in the life of a home schooling in BC – I’m so excited to be writing this post about my typical day in the life of a home schooling Mom. My name is Jennifer, I am a large family Mama of 7 amazing kids, Ages 12 down to 20 months. I’m a homebody living in Logan Lake BC and I always describe myself as a unlikely home schooling Mom. We can get into that another time,  For now lets go over my day. In the future I can write more posts further about how I keep babies and toddlers busy. Snacks and easy meal ideas for busy families and how I stay on top of the laundry, dishes and keep the house mostly presentable. All that said, I hope you enjoy your peek into our day!

Laundry day home schooling in BC

Meaningful Mornings When Home Schooling in BC

Ordinarily we wake up pretty much the same way every day. For the most part a couple kids have crawled into my Home schooling in BC with a morning coffeebed in the night. I haven’t started setting my alarm clock yet. Due to having recently just had a baby (almost 2 years ago) I usually just let myself sleep as long as possible, Getting those precious and few and far between winks of sleep before our mornings get rolling is important for me right now. I do want to do just a simple post on my daily routine. So for now we will keep this pretty home school focused. As I was saying, after we wake up, eat our breakfast, brush teeth and dress. We start in on our morning!  Please keep in mind I have 2 pretty independent learners. I am able for the most part to have been able to create a simple daily schedule for them to follow. With that in mind, coffee in hand, it’s time to get a jump on my day in the life as a mom home schooling in BC.

A Quick Note For Home Schooling With Toddlers & Babies

Homeschooling with a toddler or a baby. They are delightful little people who love being right in the thick of it. I have home schooled now while having a new born or toddler for the last 6 years. It can be a juggle and even some days a struggle. In reality, I find the best way to set yourself up for success is filling their cups up first. So, first thing in the morning I like to play or read with my little ones. Really make them feel special and “full” of you. Then usually they can get into their independent play a lot easier, or down for a morning nap. We love to use busy bags, Lego, Pre-School TV programs, and we load up on snacks to keep them happy and satisfied. I can go over more of how I do this if it interests you. Let me know? Stay tuned!!

Home schooling Mom in Canada

First Things First

8:30 – In the morning we always start out with  our morning basket or what others call “Circle Time“.  If we are all learning about a subject together we will read on that, then usually break. The older children will go write out an encouraging verse and 3 things they are grateful for, for the day to focus on then draw a picture. This is usually when I’ll start reading to my littles. We read more books about how to handle the issues of life in a right way. We read about our behaviors, our feelings and we might even sing. This is a time to find encouragement and a positive, happy start to our day.

Play and learn when home schooling in BC

A Day In The Life Of A Home School Mom & Math

9:00 – Then we jump right into math for the big kids. I find that helps just because focus is fresh and I like to give ample time to teach and understand new concepts, go over corrections and build mastery. We do use “manipulatives” in our math. I do love the hands on aspect for sure. We do take our time, mastery is my focus, not rushing ahead to each new concept. I want to be able to make sure that they are able to teach the concept back to me. Here’s the link to the math program we have been using from the start.

Math homeschooling in BC Canada

Day In The Life Of A Home School Mom Reading & Writing

I definitely have a more vintage vibe in our literature, reading and writing. We enjoy living books and reading out a Reading and writing home schoolingloud. I tend to get pretty dramatic when I read out loud, with voice deflections and even action moves. The kids also get a huge kick out of it. I think definitely “one room school house” is our learning style. My kids practice reading and writing from there McGuffy readers. I do have the kids practice there cursive every day also. What can I say, call me old fashioned but I do still think its important to be able to read, and write in cursive. With our McGuffys, we read the short story, take a piece to copy in printing then copy a piece in cursive. I then have the kids write out the spelling words. More on spelling in the next paragraph. 

Day in the life Of A Home School Mom & Spelling

In addition to the copy work, this past year we really slowed down our spelling. And really focused on memorization, It was a lot of fun, I used a different take on the old spelling test and would just quiz the kids on what they knew basically, without the context of pass or fail. Keeping it fun. Spelling out loud. Carving out that time for connection and seeing where they are actually at. Spelling “tests” take on a much more like and airy approach. What I am mostly going for here is repetition of writing down the memory words. Subsequently  there’s nothing quite like the feeling of satisfaction of teaching a child to read. During their copy work from Monday to Thursday, they would also just copy out the spelling list one in print and the other in cursive. In addition, the big kids would then buddy up with my emerging readers and they would play flash card games. 

Learning How To Read In 100 Simple Lessons – Pre-K & Kindergarten

I have taught 4 of my children to read. It’s been thrilling, rewarding, its almost a feeling I can’t describe. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the fruit of all your efforts pay off. We have used a few different curriculum in this area. My favorite way to teach a child to read is basically as follows… step 1 – get child, step 2 – snuggle up on the couch step 3- read with child. But if I had to choose one curriculum that is my all time favorite way to teach someone to read, I love using the book How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons. We do the short lesson, read the paragraph and write out the letters. This usually takes 15 minutes, which I find is just the perfect timing for little ones with shorter attention spans and usually suffer from cases of the wiggles.

Fridays We Take A Different Approach

Let me just say I love Friday! Its the day where we take different approach to school and educate in a different way. Instead of working on our McGuffy readers. We Nature Journal  . If it’s cool out. We usually use Home schooling art at homeencyclopedias and spend a good hour or more writing out facts, drawing our study subject and maybe even water color painting. If its warm outside we take our books outside and hunt for our subjects. After that, we spend maybe a good hour in Science. Either finishing up loose ends from our book work or doing a science experiment. This sometimes gives us enough time to get baking. We like to bake something quick as a group. And gear up for poetry tea time or carve out a larger chunk of our read a loud. I can’t make everyday look like Friday. But between watercolor and baking banana bread and cuddles and snuggles while learning is my absolute favorite! I love the pure, simple down to earth flow of our Fridays.
Stories for kids

Afternoon Activities

After we break for lunch, the kids and I will do a quick tidy up of our chores. In the afternoon homeschooling takes a more quiet and independent learning approach. The children all get a break and get to do quiet time. It’s honestly so lovely because they can decompress and play with their special toys. Catch up on independent reading. Work on writing stories. For my older kids, this is when they usually work on there Science note books. Or maybe they get creative and work on some fun crafts, or projects such as making the best slime, or setting up sensory play spaces for the little kids. I like to rest and then make time for outside play. Small nature walks and especially make time for reading out loud. It can be on the couch or in the van while you wait for appointments.

In Closing

If this was something that you want to see or learn more about, Follow me on Instagam @Jen.Schell.7 and you can see in my Instagram stories more of my day in the life as a home schooling mom. I post our activities in real time, how I feed the family an all the rest of the stuff that Kyle Schell and I get into with our mega crew! If you or someone you know is planning on homeschooling don’t hesitate to reach out and connect! And if you think this post would be helpful to someone please share! 

Jen Schell Instagram Page

A day in the life of a home schooling Mom

 

Home Schooling in Logan Lake BC

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Nicola Valley Home Schooling

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Craft Beer Merritt BC

Merritt British Columbia Canada

Empty Keg Brew House is the home of craft beer in Merritt BC Canada

 

Where or where does one go for craft beer in Merritt BC Canada? We just happen to know exactly where you can go to enjoy a cool glass of craft beer in a brew house in the Nicola Valley. After all how amazing is it to have our very own brewery here in Merritt BC. We just have to let you all know.  Therefore I am proud to share with you the story of the “Empty Keg Brew House” located, right here, in the Nicola Valley. It may be a smaller scale micro brewery but it sure can serve up some naturally clear, unfiltered beer that captures the essence of the craft beer industry. 

Empty keg brew house merritt bc

Kyle Hall ringing the bell. Photo by Tania Stewart

Welcome Craft Beer in Merritt BC – Empty Keg Brew House 

Established in 2019, the brew house is a place where locals and visitors can enjoy locally brewed beers, brewed on site, on tap, and straight from the kegs. Hence why the story of Kyle and his wife Kelly – the owners of the brew house – is such a great story to tell.  It is a story about a dream and bringing it to life. 

craft beer in merritt bc

The Brewery – Photo by Tania Stewart

craft beer in merritt bc canada

Were all the work begins. Photo by Tania Stewart

“Empty Keg Brew House is an experience truly enjoyed in the Nicola Valley,” Tyler S

Empty Keg & Brew Nicola Valley

The selection. Photo by Tania Stewart

The Craft Beer Experience at the “Empty Keg Brew House”

Not sure on the type of craft beer to enjoy? Then just ask. Let the friendly staff at the Merritt brew house help match you up with the right beer based on your preferred taste. Tell them how you do beer and they will suggest your ale. Surely you will not be disappointed! However, be advised, there is no rush too. You can always take a seat and try a sampling of beers in their mini pints.

Empty Keg Craft Beer in Merritt BC

Love this menu! Photo by Tania Stewart

Beer, Snacks or Order In

Despite having their own snacks on hand, Empty Keg Brew House allows patrons to order out and bring it in. How cool is that! Yes, you can bring your lunch or dinner from another restaurant with you to the brew house and eat there plus order a beer. Having a pizza delivered to a place you are having a couple of drinks is a good example of community support at its finest. To boot,  Yaki Joe’s Pizza along with “Subway” are right next door.

Empty Keg & Brew

House Snacks. Photo by Tania Stewart

Empty Keg & Friends

You have the craft beer. You ordered in some food. Now, the icing on the cake, the company you keep! Primarily Kyle, and Kelly along with their staff work hard to provide a lively atmosphere, full of laughs and therefore creating memories. It is an atmosphere ideal for friends to gather together for good times. 

Merrittkegbrew
Great family n friends. Photo by Tania Stewart

Empty Keg & Brew Nicola ValleyAlways a “Fun” time!. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Merrittnicolavalleyemptybrew

You never know who you may run into. Good people always make it better. photo by Tania Stewart.

More the Merrier

Fun Fact – Research has shown communicating with people face-to-face, one to one makes us more resilient to stress factors in the long run. Therefore, for me, surrounding myself with good friends and family has always made me feel grateful and lucky to have such good people in my life. 

enjoying a craft beer in merritt bc

Fun times with fun friends! Photo by Tania Stewart

Empty Keg & Brew here in Merritt BC.
Fun games to play! Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Bring the whole family for a fun time!

Children are permitted at the brew house. In fact, this may be the time to show your kids a real game! A game that you may have played in your childhood years. This is a place to have a family fun night out, order a pizza and play a board game, arcade game or even air hockey. After all who does not remember “Pac Man” and “Centipede?”

Emptykeg
Playing “Centipede” 80’s style. Photo by Tania Stewart
Brewhouse
Ricky trying to beat my score! Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

 

Empty Keg & Brew Nicola Valley

Any takers? Challenge! image courtesy of Tania Stewart.

 

Merrittemptykeg
Board games for everyone. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Chess or Pac Man anyone? Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

 

Hockey Night in Empty Keg Brew House! Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Last Word

After all,  how amazing is it to have our very own brewery here in Merritt BC. Bring your family call your friends and leave your phone off. Just enjoy!  Kyle or Kelly also cater to private parties.

Drink Responsibly 

Empty Keg Brew House is a member of the BC Ale Trail. Part of the membership is ensuring their beers are promoted and enjoyed responsibly by those adults who choose to consume them for the continued prosperity of the craft beer industry in British Columbia.  

craft beer in merritt bc canada

Join the Fun! Photo by Tania Stewart

CONTACT US

Empty Keg Brew House

2190 Voght St, Merritt, BC V1K 1C1

1 (250) 315-2337

www.emptykegbrewhouse.ca

Facebook

 

Craft Beer in Merritt BC

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Nicola Valley Brew House

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Retirement Planning in Merritt, BC

Retirement planning through financial planning fundamentals

“While portfolio performance is important, it’s only one component of your overall financial well-being”

Retirement Planning in Merritt, BC – Retirement is that one point in our lives that we are all working towards. There are no two retirements that are the same. We will all have our own unique journey while living in the Merritt, Ashcroft, Kamloops and Logan Lake area. However, there is more to it than just putting money away for our working lifetime. The years right before our retirement are the most crucial to have “all the ducks in a row”.

There is more to our retirement planning in Merritt than investment performance

Many investment advisors will only focus on how your portfolio is projected to perform with your retirement planning. While portfolio performance is important, it’s only one component of your overall financial well-being. A comprehensive financial plan planning focuses on meeting your needs over both the short and long term. We need to create certainty in all areas of your financial future.

Confidence in our retirement planning through the Six Pillars of Financial Planning

You may ask, “one component?” Yes, retiring can be stressful and is more complicated than you think. Any solid retirement plan should be looking at up to six different components. I like to call these the “six pillars of financial planning.” Each pillar is based on a foundation of tax efficiency.

Pillar # 1 – Managing cash flow

We start off by examining the cash and credit requirements needed while working towards our goals. This is achieved through cash flow analysis, secured lending, residential lending and tax-efficient income planning. We need to ensure we are paying ourselves more each year. Why? Inflation eats at the purchasing power of each dollar every year. 

Pillar # 2 – Preparing for the unexpected

Here we focus on developing comprehensive strategies that protect, preserve and provide for those that we care about. However, should something happen to us, we need to have a plan in place. Here we examine a few areas. What is in place to protect our income and wealth? On our passing, is there enough liquidity in our estate? Is our will up to date? Is the executor and power of attorney we selected up to the task? What would happen to our family if we were injured before retirement? What if a critical illness left us unable to earn a living for ourselves? Would our significant other be able to live comfortably if we needed long term care?

Pillar # 3 – Planning for major expenditures

This is a crucial step where we ensure we have a plan in place for making our goals a reality. This is where we look at credit/liquidity solutions, education planning, investment property structuring and even recreation property planning. What are your hobbies now? Car racing? Fishing? Or do you prefer the art or music scene? Most likely, what you do now for enjoyment you will do more of in retirement. 

Pillar # 4 – Optimizing your retirement

You have just finished working thirty, forty and maybe even fifty years. As a result, you’ve built up a nice “nest egg” for yourselves. Here we focus on managing retirement risks and preserving your capital. We also need to create enough income to support your retirement needs and goals. The focus is on portfolio construction and oversight, total return strategies, guaranteed income solutions and withdrawal strategies. 

Pillar # 5 – Sharing your wealth

Now is the time to create or review your existing estate plan. How would you like your legacy to live on? Here we choose the people and the causes that are important to you. After a lifetime of living and giving, certain charities and organizations become near and dear to us. This is our opportunity to give back through charitable giving. We also spend some time on the financial literacy of our beneficiaries. The goal is to ensure what you have worked so hard for is received and used in the wisest manner possible.

Pillar # 6 – Maximizing your business success 

Finally we have come to pillar number six. However, it does not apply to all. There are many business owners and entrepreneurs in Canada. The planning needed here involves another layer of complexity. I like to implement strategies that synchronize and enhance your personal and business financial plan. We look at personal and corporate tax integration and optimizing corporate investments. We also look at pre-liquidity planning and ultimately business succession. 

Don’t think or hope you’re doing things right, know it!

Retirement planning is a complicated process, I’m here to help!

 

 

Financial Planning in Merritt, BC

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

Merritt, Ashcroft, Kamloops and Logan Lake BC in the Nicola Valley

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Hiking Merritt, BC

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

A Walk in the Park

 

I have talked about hiking near Merritt, BC before but focused on the trail network within the City of Merritt. Therefore this time I want to take you further afield to Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park.  Our park destination is a mere 20 to 30 minute drive from downtown depending on traffic. (Just kidding, there is no traffic in Merritt).  Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park is located off highway 5A just passed Aspen Grove.

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

Colours of Kentucky Lake-Tom Reynolds Photo

Kentucky Lake-Hiking Trail near Merritt, BC  

I have chosen this trail because it is relatively easy.  However, those who are looking for a greater challenge you can check out a book by local author, Murphy Shewchuk,  Coquihalla Trips and Trails.

For this 4 kilometre hike near Merritt, BC you can choose which way you wish to hike around Kentucky Lake.   You can take the trail from the parking lot which will take you clockwise around the lake.

South East Trail Head

Trail Head for Clockwise Travel-Tom Reynolds Photo

However if you wish to go the other way – counter clockwise – you have to walk into the campground and head over to the boat launch where there is another trail head.

 

Trail Head South West

Trail Head South West-Tom Reynolds Photo

This hiking Trail near Merritt, BC is for the whole family

The hike is generally considered fairly easy as it follows along the lake shore and there are not many hills.  However, the recent windstorms this Spring knocked down a lot of trees that are covering the trail.  We noticed that the Parks crew have been working hard and have removed most of the fallen trees from the trail.  Having said that, there are still one or two that require circumventing.  As long as you have decent foot wear you should be OK.

 

Tree Across Trail

Tree Across Trail-Tom Reynolds Photo

sky through forest

Sky through Forest-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

In some sections of the trail there is a rainforest like feel as the trees are much larger than in other areas of the trail. Take the opportunity to do some sky gazing and look up during your hike and take notice of just how tall some of the tress are.   

Walking in Forest

Walking in Forest-Tom Reynolds Photo

This is a great example of how easy the trail is.  While coats and hats were needed on this day because it was cool.  Normally summer temperatures are more conducive to shorts and T-shirts

End of Trail

This is the end of the trail-Tom Reynolds Photo

This is the trail that takes you back to the parking lot.  In other words, this is the end of the hike

What to look out for when hiking near Merritt, BC

When you are walking the trail around Kentucky Lake you will not find flowers as prolific as those in the alpine meadows but there is still beauty in what you will see such as mushrooms, saskatoon bushes, Arnica and Indian Pint Brush to name a few.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms Tom Reynolds Photo

Saskatoon Bush

Saskatoon Bush-Tom Reynolds

Arnica

Arnica-Tom Reynolds Photo

Indian Paint Brush

Indian Paint Brush-Tom Reynolds P

Besides hiking near Merritt, BC you can do these things

One of the favourite things to do is fish.

fishing at the lake

Fishing at the lake–Tom Reynolds photo

 

These people are enjoying fishing from an outcrop.  The colour of the lake is spectacular. The kids have their own lake for fishing.  This little lake is close to the campground.

 

Kids Fishing hole

Kids fishing hole-Tom Reynolds Photo

Camper Van

Camper Van-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

This camper van is situated close to the lake trail. Most of the sites are typical provincial sites with lots of room and trees.

 

Kids Playing

Kids Playing–Tom Reynolds Photo

 

Not all the fun is on the lake.  As you can see these kids are having a great time going through the culvert.  This is not a great activity for spring time.  Guess why?

Hiking near Merritt is unlimited.  I will be providing more hikes in the near future.  Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park is the home of this hike. You can check out the website and see that the park offers other activities besides hiking.  For example, you can swim , fish, canoe, kayak or check out the natural environment.  Whatever you choose you are sure to have fun day.

Hiking Near Merritt, BC

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

Merritt BC Summer Activities in the Nicola Valley

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Merritt BC Outdoor Activities Covid 19 Style 

Social Distancing Outdoor Activities with Family & Friends in The Nicola Valley

Here are 5 outdoor activities in the Nicola Valley to be enjoyed while physical distancing

 

Merritt BC outdoor Activities throughout the Nicola Valley and in Merritt BC Canada. As a result of Covid19 we have spent months on end in our homes. Undoubtedly this is trying on the nerves and sanity. However, there is a glimmer of hope as Canada B.C is restarting the economy and loosening the travel restrictions. Now, with safety and respect in mind, we can now enjoy certain activities. Therefore here are “5” Activities we can all enjoy while safe distancing Covid19 Style around Merritt BC.  The following activities can be enjoyed during the upcoming summer and fall!

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 1 : Horseback Riding 

Click for a complete list of horseback riding ranches, tours and guides in the Nicola Valley

Absolutely one of my favourite outdoor activities! Truly practicing social distancing while being outdoors taking in the beautiful “Nicola Valley”. Could it get any better than this! Playing cowboy / cowgirl in the wilderness backcountry of British Columbia. There are many options when it comes to horseback riding in the Nicola Valley.

Merritt BC Outdoor Activities

Horseback riding with our friends at AP Ranch. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Exploring the Nicola Valley on Horseback

Horseback riding is great exercise for the horse, and somewhat for yourself. The Merritt adventure offers a number of health and fitness benefits including the development of leg muscles, as well as, improving balance & posture. Most importantly, horseback riding reduces stress and refreshes your inner self. That is my take on the healthy benefits of horseback riding in the Nicola Valley. 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

“What better way to enjoy the wilderness” Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style in Merritt BC.

Riding with a friend, Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Melvina White. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 2: Lake Fishing

Click for a complete list of fishing resorts in the Nicola Valley

It should be noted that the Nicola Valley boast’s some of the best fishing in the World! There are over 200+ lakes in the region. Many are prime lake fishing destinations. Some are even ideal ice fishing destinations as well during the winter season. During the spring, summer and fall,  Corbett Lake Lodge is one of the fishing resorts and lodges in the Nicola Valley. 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style

Corbett Lake Lodge, Merritt BC. Photo courtesy of  Corbett Lake Lodge.

Fishing Outfitter Store in Merritt BC     

Whether you are looking to catch that elusive “Big One” or just trolling, enjoying the outdoors, dropping some lures in a lake or riverbed.  But stuff happens! Oh no… you forgot your favourite fishing lure. Maybe the fish are biting but you do not have the right fly? Or the scorching sun is so hot, you need a good fishing hat? What ever your fishing needs drop into Ponderosa Sports downtown Merritt BC.  The outfitter shop specializes in trout flies & lures, and much more! 

MerrittBC

For that “Big One”. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style

Everything you may need. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

“Best” Fishing Holes

Many arrive in the valley to fish… but where to fish is the biggest challenge? We do have over 200+ lakes. One place to start is researching using the most complete and largest Nicola Valley adventure website. Once you have your bearings than check out some of the fishing experiences on this blog site. Last, but not least, ask a local or contact us.  First hand information as well as the right lures are essential.  

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 3 & 4 : Camping & Water Sports

(kayaking, canoeing, boating and swimming)

For a complete list of kayak and canoe activities in the Nicola Valley  and for paddle boarding too

Without a doubt “The Nicola Valley” offers some of the best lakes for every avid outdoors person. The valley is home to so many water activities for all ages. Come visit the valley for a day of fun or a week or two of camping in Merritt at one of our privately operated campgrounds or at one of our forestry wilderness campsites.  

“My favourite spot for camping in Merritt BC Canada, Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley,” Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Tom Reynolds

 

merritt bc camping

Harmon Lake. Photo courtesy of Experience Nicola Valley Blogger  Tom Reynolds.

Outdoor Activities Covid19 StyleMerritt BC.

We also have a beautiful Provincial Campground Park located 22 kms north of the community of Merritt, BC, Canada. The park? The park is called Monck Park

The Nicola Valley Provincial Park offers a wide assortment of recreational activities including camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, boating, water-skiing, wind-surfing and hiking.

Covid19 Stylemerrittbc

Summer Boating can u beat it? Photo courtesy Tania Stewart.

Merritt kayaking

Kayaking on Lundbom Lake. Photo courtesy Tania Stewart.

 

Absolutely Beautiful Alleyne!

Nicolavalleycovid19

Alleyne Lake. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 5: Mountain Biking

Merritt Mountain Biking Association 

Located here in the Nicola Valley, the Merritt Mountain Biking Association is truly a great resource for mountain biking when you have arrived in the community.   Incidentally one of their primary goals is advocating for long term trail access by working with Government and community groups. Consequently, the MMBA was one of the first groups in the province to have an agreement with the crown to manage the trails they ride.  Get a hold of Jordan Pinto for more information. And dare to ride! 

 

Photo courtesy of  Jordan Pinto.

“Our intentions are to make the riding in the Nicola Valley a great experience,” Jordan Pinto.

Watch Video 

Filmed by Jordan Pinto going down the “Willow”

In Conclusion

Physical distancing refers to staying away from group gatherings and large public spaces where a virus can be easily spread, and keeping a distance of around two metres. Moreover we all must practice safety and “Wash your Hands”. Even though our country is opening up again, we all need to stay aware while enjoying our outdoor activities we love so much. Play safe. Play often. 

 

Merritt BC Outdoor Activities in the Nicola Valley

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Merritt Dance Studio

The Love To Dance Academy in the Nicola Valley

In these times, we “bring the joy of dance into homes”.

 

The Merritt dance studio, Love to Dance Academy, contributes to the art and culture in our Nicola Valley.

Love to Dance Academy

Love to Dance Academy Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

I invited dance teacher, Lizette Nel, to talk about her work when we connected here in Merritt BC Canada

How and when did your Merritt Dance Studio start?

I took over the local dance studio in December 2012 as the previous ballet teacher here in Merritt, Linda Sanford, was looking forward to retirement. The name, Linda’s Dance Studio, was changed to Love To Dance Academy in January 2013.

I started teaching in 2012. We had only 12 little ballet students in a lovely compact dance studio on the top floor of the beautiful old Courthouse in Merritt, BC.

Since then a strong dance program has been developed and the Love To Dance Academy now offers classes in four different dance genres to dancers of all ages.

There are recreational classes for those who want to dance for fun and exercise as well as classes for the more serious dance student who would like to do dance exams and participate in in dance festivals and competitions. 

Therefore, at the end of 2018, there was an opportunity to move to bigger premises and with the help of volunteers a second hand shop was converted into a spacious and fully equipped dance studio downtown.

 

Dance Studio Merritt BC

Lizette Nel, Head Dance Instructor, Love to Dance Academy Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Who is a part of Love to Dance?

The Love To Dance Academy is a project of the Merritt Dance Society, which is a non-profit organisation. The Merritt Dance Society consists of a wonderful, supportive Board of Directors.

I am the Head Dance Instructor and I developed and manage the dance program for the Merritt Dance Society.

Vanessa van Rensburg, regularly teaches Spanish Flamenco and jazz dance classes.

However, from time to time guest teachers are invited to do short courses and workshops or teach during dance camps.

 And of course, there are the many children, youth, and adults who come to the studio to dance!

How is the Merritt dance studio supported in the community?

It is very well supported by the Merritt community who loves attending our classes and our twice a year recitals.

Love To Dance fundraisers are well supported by the community and we are fortunate to always have enthusiastic volunteers to help whenever they are needed.

Tell me about the different dance genres you offer.

Currently our main dance genres are Ballet, Modern Jazz, Spanish Flamenco, and Latin Line Dance.

From time to time Love To Dance offers workshops or short sessions of other dance styles such as Hip Hop, Tap, Musical Theatre/Broadway, Contemporary, Highland Dancing, Bollywood and Country Line Dance.

You put on twice yearly performances. A lot of the dances are choreographed by you, Vanessa, and your Love to Dance dancers.

Merritt Dance Studio concerts

Love to Dance Winter Concert Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

LTD Display

Love To Dance Poster Display of Dancers Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Ballet Shoes

LTD Red Ballet Shoes Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

What are your inspirations for the themes and performance?

Life and what is going on around us… sometimes fun and sometimes deep and meaningful. We choose themes showing that we are different, but the same.

Your dance recitals are so enjoyable for the community!

Not only do we watch a themed story unfold onstage, but the Civic Centre is always full of beautiful displays focusing on the dancers and the culture of dance….

Merritt Dance Studio Instructor

Lizette Nel, Head Dance Instructor Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Can you share your dance background with us, Lizette?

Training:  I was introduced to the world of dance at age 5, in Johannesburg South Africa.  I did not like it, but fortunately my mom did not give up and reintroduced me to dance a year later.

In the beginning I was very shy and could not face an audience, but I loved the dancing and movement to music. However, I did all my dance exams and in my final year of school, I decided to become a dance teacher.

Work Experience:  Before coming to Canada, I owned and operated a successful dance studio in South Africa , where I successfully trained hundreds of young dancers and prepared them to enter exams, festivals and competitions with confidence, always striving for excellence.

 In addition to teaching and running a studio, I also provided mentorship for some dance instructors in South Africa. Consequently, I created an online dance network as a resource and networking tool for dance teachers, and was a founding organizer of the national “Eisteddfod of the Performing Arts”, a prestigious dance event of its kind in South Africa

It continues to this day, attracting thousands each year.

I was also a judge for the National Society on Dance Teachers as well as a lecturer in the Movement Science Department of the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

 It was a journey for you to be here with us in the Nicola Valley. Can you tell us a little about that journey?

When I became aware of the possibility of teaching in Merritt BC Canada, I started the process of obtaining a work permit, a very long process.

I started teaching in the dance studio in the old Courthouse in December 2012. After teaching for a year, there was a delay in the renewing process of my work permit, and I had to return to South Africa for a few months.

The local students and their parents were very disappointed that we had to leave. The community wrote petition letters and did fundraisers. Fortunately everything got sorted out and we returned in August 2014, just in time for the new dance year to start.

What inspires you?

Young Dancers at Merritt Dance Studio

LTD Young Dancer Photo Courtesy of Vanessa van Rensburg

I’ve had five dance teachers. Two of them, Janet King and Dorothy de Witt still inspire me. Also the smiling faces and chuckles in the dance studio inspire me.
Our Merritt dance family’s dedication and strong will to succeed inspires me even more.

Every new day and the fact that God’s loving kindness starts fresh each day inspires me.

What support do you receive in your role in your Merritt Dance Studio?

Non Profit Volunteers

Love To Dance Volunteers Photo Courtesy of Love to Dance

I have strong support from the Merritt community.  I am very grateful for the many volunteers involved in the many Love To Dance activities. They make it possible for us to successfully present many extra dance opportunities and related activities.
My children in South Africa support what I do and always encourage me.


Without Herman, my husband, keeping things together in the background and the assistance and hard work of Vanessa, my daughter, the Love to Dance Academy will not be able to exist

How do you relax, and give yourself a break?

Gardening.

Favourite things about Merritt?  

Four definite seasons in a year!

Favourite Music?

Classical harp

What role does dance have in society?

I am particularly conscious of the benefits of dance and I promote my programs as a holistic tool for physical fitness, and mental, emotional and social health. We promote character building for youth and motor planning for seniors and people with disabilities.
In addition, dance develops physical strength, co-ordination, and good posture.
Dance improves self confidence and positive body image. Dance builds self discipline
.

Ballet Dancing

Love To Dance Ballet Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Dance Concert

Participants in a Love to Dance Recital! Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

What effect do you feel Love to Dance has on our community?

Community Dancers

LTD Dancing in the Community Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Our young students learn to take charge of their lives by being responsible for scheduling and costumes and by managing their time wisely. They take pride in work well done, show leadership with younger dancers, and experience the value of teamwork and supporting others.

They are growing into mature, confident adults and they set an example which has a positive influence on younger dancers.

These positive effects are felt around our community.

Love to Dance brings together all ages, and the different ages interact and dance together in the recitals. It is a joy to see the older students take the young ones by hand and include them in the specially choreographed dances! I can feel and hear the pleasure in the audience around me at this collaboration of ages and levels of dance.

Community Dance

Love to Dance Valentine’s Tea Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

For the older dancers of 55 plus, in the program, “Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing,” the benefits of dance include brain agility, fitness, improved balance and reduced stress. This contributes to their independent longevity, and their ongoing participation in the community.

 In this Covid 19 pandemic, we taught our students (and their parents) to be grateful, and to not give up. We taught them to not wait for it to pass, but to accept it and make the best of it. We put new things in place. Our students made it through 10 weeks of doing things differently and they’ve learned many new skills.  It was hard, but we all survived and we’ve all become stronger.

We hope that this will spread wider and have a positive influence on our community.

What challenges does your dance studio, Love To Dance, face?


We are challenged with how to catch up the three months during covid – recovery of financial loss over three months with little income, continued rental and utility, and other commitments.

The whole world is currently turned upside down and inside out. But we see these obstacles as stepping stones, not mountains.

Street Dance

LTD Street Dance in Merritt Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

In this time of Covid 19, how is Love to Dance managing to stay connected with the dancers and the community?

SET UP VIRTUAL DANCE STUDIO

When we had to close our physical doors at the end of the day on March 16, after just one day of Spring Dance Camp, we decided to explore the possibility of changing from a brick and mortar dance studio to a virtual dance studio.

We attended many webinars presented by four different dance associations and got ourselves set up for Zoom classes and coaching by video.

To keep the interest in dance going, we lowered our class fees to encourage attendance.

BALLET

Ballet Dancer

LTD Ballet Dancer Photo Courtesy of Vanessa van Rensburg

To give our Royal Academy of Dance ballet students and parents hope, we continued to practice as if our exams, which were scheduled for April 29, were going to take place. 

Students could attend our Zoom ballet classes once per week and they could also make use of our private coaching by video option. 

This worked really well for some students, who had the full support of their parents. But as always happens, we unfortunately also had some dropping out (“stopping dance until the brick and mortar studio re-opens”)…. 

Most dancers have lots of self-discipline and keep up their daily practice while they are placed under movement restrictions, but we notice that they still needed to see each other to feel connected and to be motivated. The weekly Zoom dance classes really help to create some sense of normalcy. 


SPANISH  FLAMENCO

Thirteen of our Spanish Flamenco dance students successfully completed their exams by video at the end of April. 

 

Dance Studio

Herman Nel, Technical Expert for Love to Dance Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

SENIORS

We also set up ZOOM exercise classes for our seniors to help improve their balance, posture and flexibility and also improve your sense of well being – physical, emotional and mental. Payment for classes is by donation.

None of this would have been possible without Herman, my husband. To set all of this up, was a steep learning curve and involved some expenses.

What is next for Love to Dance?

We want to expand opportunities and restructure the dance program to accommodate what is currently happening all over the world.  It will be a constant dynamic situation going forward.

Keep an eye on Love To Dance’s current initiative that the members of Love to Dance Society can participate in.

Ongoing MEDAL TESTS

To further keep the interest in dance going we started having Medal Awards by video during the months of May and continue for June. This is open to everyone in Merritt and the Nicola Valley. Participants can enter Ballet, Jazz, Spanish and Folk/National dances – set dances and/or own choreography and interpretive dancing.

We noticed how the fun element and dancing with family members can bring the joy of dance into homes, so we added a section in which you can partner up with a sibling or parent or grandparent to dance a duet. 

Video submissions must happen before June 26 and participants will each receive a bronze, silver or gold certificate and medal in the beginning of July.

Merritt Dance Studio

Thank you, Lizette, for telling us all about the Love to Dance Academy! Many of us in the community are grateful to have an inspired dance studio here in Merritt.

Just one more advantage to living here in the Nicola Valley!

Support our art and culture in our community!

We hope to see the doors of the Love To Dance Studio open soon!
Merritt Dance Studio

Love To Dance Studio, still closed Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Artist Cassandra Dolen

Dance in the Nicola Valley Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Dance Teacher

LTD Head Dance Instructor Lizette Nel Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

CONTACT LOVE TO DANCE

1976 Quilchena Avenue, +1 250 378 9898

www.lovetodanceacademy.com

LTDADANCE@GMAIL.COM

Facebook Love to Dance Academy

Instagram Love to Dance Academy, The Merritt Dance Teacher

Art and Culture Blogger, Jano Howarth

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