If you’re from Kitchener-Waterloo, chances are that you’ve heard that the southwest part of Kitchener is experiencing rapid growth and development.
New neighbourhoods are being constructed, brand new schools are opening their doors, and anywhere you look, you will see progress, energy, and a communal spirit of forward (and upward) motion.
In the heart (or perhaps more appropriately, forming one of the outer vanguards) of this expansion is the Huron Area. A beautiful region with enough trails to make trail enthusiasts dance with joy, Huron is one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s newest – and nicest – neighbourhoods.
How new is it, you might ask? New enough that some of its streets aren’t even on Google Maps Street View. So, pretty new!
We’ll touch on Huron itself over the course of this article, but as the title suggests, today’s focus is the Huron Community Association. Put simply, Community and Neighbourhood Associations are groups comprised mostly of volunteers from a specific area that help create a sense of community within that area.
There are Community and Neighbourhood Associations throughout Kitchener-Waterloo, and even in the places without one, there’s a perfect opportunity to make a new one. After all, many of the Associations are quite new – it just takes one dedicated individual (or a group of them) to bring it about.
About Huron Community Association
Huron Community Association formed in 2014. It is one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s newest Community Associations, but like the Huron Area that it serves, it is filled with a zeal for growth. Kevin Tran (pictured above), Communications Director of the Huron Community Association, kindly took the time to speak with us regarding Huron’s history, its present, and its future – thank you, Kevin Tran!
The Huron Community Association consists of a core group of ten members, mostly volunteers from the community. This group handles everything from accounting to future initiatives, and of course running community events.
Tran’s role as Communications Director sees him serving the essential function of running the HCA’s social media (Facebook, Twitter), keeping people informed of volunteer opportunities, and ensuring community members are kept abreast both of upcoming events.
Tran says one of his priorities is, “Linking with people in the community, so that people can understand and know what the Huron Community Association does, what we represent.” There are a few others hired on to serve different roles, including liaising with various stakeholders.
The Huron Community Association is, fundamentally, a community effort. Tran says, “We have people that spearhead the accounting side of things, the program side of things, initiatives that we’re running where we get more people to help contribute to the program itself.” As a new Community Association,
Tran says “We don’t really have a mantra or a core principle or goals” – the HCA can be what the community wants it to be.
And this potential for growth, this absence of rigidly-defined expectations, can be exciting and, for the right type of resident, inspiring.
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Giving Back to the Community
A big part of the Huron Community Association is the spirit of giving back to the community. As a primarily volunteer-run organization, generosity is indeed key.
The HCA’s chairperson recently held a Fall Fair for the community at their farm: just one example of the fun, family-oriented community opportunities here in Huron.
For anyone interested in giving back, there are plenty of options for volunteering here. There are, of course, the Board Positions in the HCA itself, but beyond that, there’s a need for volunteers to run the community programs, and to organize and oversee events.
If this isn’t enough, another smaller, semi-unaffiliated organization in the Huron Area (the Neighbourhood People) is a group focused on neighbourly behaviour, and more specifically, developing a park in the middle of Huron.
They’re looking into running programs there, and creating spaces for sports (including basketball nets and tennis courts).
So for the volunteer-oriented: set your sights on Huron Heights (well, Huron Heights is the secondary school, but you know what I mean).
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The Huron Community Association is always looking for new projects and ways to expand. Again, as they are such a new Community Association (and community), there is plenty of room to grow.
Tran says, “We’re talking about potentially adding new and different types of programs that you don’t typically see at a community centre.” Such programs could include CPR courses and Arts-oriented opportunities.
Presently, the HCA offers quite a few programs, including particularly popular Yoga and Karate programs, and much more, such as Basketball, Kid’s Rock (dancing and singing for kids ages 4-8), and Adult Bootcamp. The variety of programs encourages Huron residents to lead healthy, active lives, but as
Tran says, “Not all people are sports people.” Hence, the HCA is exploring a plethora of new offerings for the future.
The Huron Community Association makes use of the Williamsburg Community Centre (along with the Williamsburg Community Association), but most of its programs are run through Jean Steckle School. Jean Steckle Public School is quite new – having opened its doors in September of 2013, it predates the Huron Community Association by just one year – and as such, it has high-quality, modern facilities.
It should be noted by people looking into moving to the Huron Area: the current zoning for Jean Steckle is for public school students living east of Fischer-Hallman; students west of here are zoned to be bussed to Southridge.
Contact the WRDSB (or WCDSB) for more school zoning information.
The Huron Area is quite new – most of the neighbourhoods are less than ten years old.
Many new families have decided to make this region their home. Tran is a father himself (indeed, he became involved with the HCA after seeing the quality of the programs his son was participating in).
He says, “I think it attracts younger families because it’s a little bit of a newer subdivision, and there are a lot of new schools around there as well.”
Two of the new schools are the aforementioned Jean Steckle Public School for elementary-aged kids, and Huron Heights Secondary School (read all about this, Kitchener’s newest secondary school, in the WRX Property Group article here).
With so many young families, the Huron Community Association ensures there are always fun-filled community events going on, in addition to their standard programs.
They recently had a community-wide garage sale, and an Earth Day Clean-up, both of which saw lots of participation by parents and young kids.
Of course, it’s not just young families that live here, but if you’re part of a young family, it is a great place to live.
The future looks bright for the Huron Community Association. The City of Kitchener has plans in place for a new, much larger community centre nearby, as well as a brand new public library, and perhaps even a pool.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the HCA can check out their website here, their Facebook and Twitter pages, or the flyers and brochures that they produce regularly. It’s a new neighbourhood in a new part of down: a great place to start a new life, which can be made all the better with the HCA.
Full Interview With Kevin Tran
Written by Will Kummer