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Seniors pass on tradtional skills to youth in Hant's Harbour project

These young kids are learning to knit with some help from experienced hands. Seated from the left are Chloe George, Melissa George, Sarah Pitcher, Morgan Tuck, AminaLatifah Adams, Abigail Penny and Kendall Ash.
These young kids are learning to knit with some help from experienced hands. Seated from the left are Chloe George, Melissa George, Sarah Pitcher, Morgan Tuck, AminaLatifah Adams, Abigail Penny and Kendall Ash.

HANT'S HARBOUR, NL — Seated in a small row of chairs, half-a-dozen girls carefully knit wool under the tutelage of a group of women considerably more experienced than they are.

"I think this is wonderful," said Mary Sutton, president of the Seaside Seniors Club in Hant's Harbour. "We enjoy them just the same as they enjoy us."

Linda Critch looks on as Kendall Ash practices her knitting at the home of the Seaside Seniors Club in Hant's Harbour.

These young girls are learning to knit as part of a larger project to share the traditional way of doing things with a younger generation. Earlier this year, youth helped plant potatoes in the Hant's Harbour community garden.

"We have the racks made and now they're going to dry capelin," added project co-ordinator Arlene Belbin. "It's not only for kids. In the fall we've got programs for younger adults. We've got quilting, canning, preserving and baking pies, breads, Newfoundland tea buns and that sort of thing … What it is, is getting the seniors in the community involved and passing on the Newfoundland traditions to the younger people."

The federal government funded this project through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, providing the Town of Hant's Harbour with over $24,000 to cover its cost.

"We were really lucky we got the funding, because all the materials are paid for, and there's no cost to anybody," said Belbin. "That makes it easier for everyone then, because some people, sometimes they don't take part in stuff because it costs too much or whatever. So this, there's no cost to any of the parents, so it's great."

Right now, the kids drop by the Seaside Seniors Club Tuesday afternoons to spend an hour and a half learning to knit.

Sophia Bishop of Winterton was only 30 minutes into picking up a knitting needle when this photo was taken last Tuesday. Helping her along on the right is Phyllis Smith, the oldest member of the Seaside Seniors Club at 91.

"We're only a small community of 300, so we're really lucky to have a good group," said Belbin. "They really enjoy it."

Sutton and her sister Linda Critch, a fellow member of the club, learned to knit as children from their older siblings. They're more than happy to share those skills with children today.

"I got three girls, and I taught them how to knit too," said Sutton.

Phyllis Smith, the club's oldest member at the age of 91, thinks it's a wonderful program.

"It's amazing," she said. "I feel just as young as they do when I'm here."

editor@cbncompass.ca

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