The Town of Hay River has a new recreation programmer.

Courtney Fraser started her new role on June 7.

She previously lived in Hay River, but spent the past few years in Alberta.

“Just being active myself, I knew that I wanted to come here and get involved in activity,” she said. “I have three young kids, so I wanted them to come here and get them involved in activity. And then I saw the job pop up and just thought that sounds like a lot of fun.”

Fraser has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and worked for over 10 years in social services in Alberta, mainly as a school counsellor in the Red Deer area.

And she hopes to bring that experience to her new role in recreation.

“I’m pretty passionate about mental health,” she said. “So that link between exercise and health can benefit your mental health. I’d really like to bring that to the position.”

Fraser said being a recreation programmer sounds like a good way to promote mental health in more of an active fun way.

“It seemed a little less stressful than the actual school counselling position,” she said.

In her new job, Fraser expects to be working in a number of areas, including fitness programming, the after school club, the Summer Heat program, and special events.

“So basically programming within the community centre here and then helping out with any sort of special events,” she said.

Fraser, who is originally from Alberta, noted that her husband is from Hay River and they visited as often as they could.

“Every single time we came back I’d say to him, ‘Let’s move back to Hay River. I want to come back. I miss it.’ And he missed it, too,” she said. “But every time we kind of looked, it just wasn’t feasible at the time.”

Now her husband is working in Hay River and everything fell into place for their return.

As probably appropriate for a recreation director, Fraser is also very active and plays volleyball, hockey and badminton, along with running and working out.

In Alberta, she was also involved in boards overseeing minor hockey, minor soccer and family community support services.

Fraser also welcomes the opportunity to work in the Hay River Community Centre, which she noted wasn’t built when she lived in the town.

“It’s amazing,” she said of the facility. “It’s so beautiful.”

During the June 8 online meeting of town council, Stephane Millette, the recreation director with the town, informed councillors that Fraser had started work the day before.

“Courtney is a great addition to our team and has valuable experience that I’m sure will be a great addition for youth programming and our fitness programming, which we hope to start back up a little later this summer,” said Millette.

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