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Meet the Team: Shannon Sullivan, Manager, External Programs

Meet the Team
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How long have you  been part of the GNS?  I have been at GNS for two and a half years. I started right before the pandemic had hit as an Educational Assistant (EA), then moved into this position as the External Program Manager in July 2020.  What made you decide to join the GNS community?  I had found the GNS community had a very strong sense of community and values, and that was something I really wanted to be a part of. When I first met the GNS team I just found they were really friendly, and I felt very welcomed. Being able to work at the beach is also a bonus. It’s an amazing place to be.  What is the best part about working at GNS? The best part of working at GNS is the community that we have built here. All the staff have ended up feeling like family now. It’s so nice to come into work and be around people who are so genuine and so kind. It’s so community oriented that it feels really good to come into work every day and I’m very excited to be here.  One of my favourite things in the morning is getting here really early and having my coffee down at the water, and watching the fawns eat the seaweed at low tide—it’s one of my favourite things about the beach.  What is your favourite part of the day?  My favourite part of my day is prepping our arts and crafts for After School Care because it gets me in the mindset of doing it, and I also find crafting really relaxing. So, I’ll do our demo crafts for the week and show the kids what we are going to do. It gets them really pumped up about them too, so I can get a lot of engagement from the kids when we do arts and crafts. I think because I enjoy it so much they feed off of my energy with it, so it creates fun crafty zones for After School Care. What are some of your interests outside of school?  I really like hiking and paddle boarding. I really enjoy any kind of water activity. I like being outside, going for hikes, swims and camping (lots of camping).  What is something most people don’t know about you? 

There was a point in time when I ran and operated my own food cart in downtown Kingston, Ontario. It was super cool, and a great experience, I met so many interesting people. 

The other thing is that I drove across Canada and converted my vehicle into a sleeper, then slept in it for two months while camping and travelling across Canada. 

What do you like about living and working in Victoria? 

I love that we are so close to nature, and everything else as well. If you want to get out of the city and have some R&R in the wilderness, it’s totally accessible. I feel like there are so many opportunities to explore and things to do in Victoria, that this is a place like no other city I have been to. It’s so unique to live here and be by the mountains, the wilderness and to be surrounded by the ocean.

What is it like leading up to summer camps?

The prep for summer camp consists of lots of organizing. So, making sure we have experienced camp leaders for the whole summer, that we are on track with promoting camps and making sure all of the classrooms are equipped for the campers. There is a lot of excitement in the air prior to summer camps. For me it’s getting everyone really excited for camp, advertising, and marketing the Summer FUN! 

What is the process like to prepare After School Care?

For After School Care we have two fully separate groups. For the JK and Kindergarten students we need to make sure their games and crafts are age appropriate and engaging. 

With our Grade 1 to 5s we really work to get to know the them so  we can tailor the program to what they like. I will often ask the students to offer suggestions for our weekly After School Care themes.

Overall, the prep for After School Care is different from camps because we are doing different things every day for a shorter block of time. Each week we have themes. Our first couple themes are on outdoor education, where we play on the beach, and do lots of crafts that involve elements of nature (the kids really love those ones). We are also doing some science themes for the first couple of weeks. Building volcanoes, sand canoes and making things explode is always fun.

I think the kids really like coming to After School Care because they begin to feel that they’re part of a club because they get to hangout, do cool activities and they all have lots of fun. 

What is your favourite craft to do with the students? 

I love doing messy crafts. I’ve noticed from my experience in working with children that a messy child is often a happy child. With that being said I like to get the kids painting, and using clay. We also like to make homemade play-doh and add in glitter and food colouring. 

Please visit the After School Care resource board to learn more about our program and for information on how to register. After School Care is available each day for students in JK to Grade 5 from 3:15 to 5:30 p.m.