Articles by author: gzwiep

  • Student Climbing Sessions


    One of the hidden gems on campus nestled by the edge of the escarpment at the far west end of campus is Brock’s challenge course (ropes course).  The challenge course is operated by Youth University and is used as an outdoor education learning centre for youth in camps during the summer, elementary and high school field trips throughout the school year.   It is also used as a teambuilding program for Brock and Adult groups.   

    Recently we held two 0-week climbs that booked up both days offered.  It was great to see students of all years and programs connecting at the course.  Supporting each other as climbers challenged themselves on different elements and seeing the sense of accomplishment as the climber descended.  To us, as outdoor educators, this is what climbing is all about, the connections made, pushing perceived boundaries, challenging your perceived abilities and celebrating accomplishments.  

     Climbing is also a fun and unique recreational experience.  With limited teambuilding programs taking place this year Brock Recreation will be offering climbing sessions once a week starting September 22 until Mother Nature tells us it’s getting too cold outside.  In Inclement weather conditions (Thunder, lightning, excessive wind and heavy downpours) the climbing sessions will be postponed.  Brock’s course offers a number of high ropes elements of varying difficulty and multiple rock wall climbing options. 

    Pre-registration will be required for the climbing sessions and will open every Friday at noon. 

     Some key things to keep in mind when your register and arrive for a climbing session 

    1. You MUST be wearing a mask and closed toed shoes to participate. We would also recommend longer shorts or pants for comfort when wearing a harness but this is up to you.  
    2. If you have long hair, you will need to tie it back in a low pony. And remove any jewelry that may be at risk of getting pulled.  
    3. You will be given all the climbing equipment required, including a helmet and harness assigned just to you.  
    4. Please check in at the cage in the Walker Complex to confirm session time and receive a wrist band. 
    5. You will need to complete a waiver before climbing and we ask that you use the provided hand sanitizer before and after your climb 
    6. If you no longer plan to attend, please cancel your registration. This will allow another student a chance to attend.  

     We look forward to seeing you at the course. 

    Your Friendly Neighbourhood Badger 

  • Guide to Safely Access and use Walker Complex Facilities

    It feels good to see our Recreation facilities in the Walker Sports Complex being used by students again. The Zone Fitness Centre is no longer sitting silent, the radio is on, and all the workout stations and new equipment are being used. Waves are being made in the pool again by swimmers doing laps, the Alumni turf field has intramural soccer happening and varsity basketball practice is in the gym again. 

    The life and vibe of the Walker Sports Complex is coming back, and we are excited about the arrival of students in September. With this return we have a few Covid safety guidelines to keep Walker running smoothly and safely during the month of August. 


    Anyone accessing the Walker Sports Complex for activity must complete the Brock University Covid-19 Self-Assessment/Information form on the Brock Safety app (download for free) prior to attending. The result of your screening must be shown to the screener at the entrance. If you do not “pass” your screening, please do not arrive in-person at Brock University. 

    Pre-Booking Activity  

    Each Friday, the reservation system opens for the following week for students to book their activity (indoors and outdoors). You must read and sign the Recreation Waiver, as well as Brock’s Covid-19 waiver the first time you reserve a time slot to work out. 

    Equipment and Service Changes 

    • All pieces of equipment within the Zone Fitness Centre have been spaced to have a minimum of 2 metres between pieces or are marked as out of service. 
    • Showers and locker rooms are currently only available for those reserving time in the pool. For other activities, please come dressed for your activity. 
    • Water fountains are unavailable, bottle fillers are available. We ask that you arrive with a full container of water, and only use the bottle fillers should you need additional hydration. 
    • Locker and towel service is currently unavailable. You are asked to take any belongings with you to the activity space. 
    • Where necessary, we can lend some equipment (balls, racquets). All are cleaned after each use. Please bring your own equipment wherever possible. 
    • Saunas, whirlpool, track, squash courts are currently unavailable. 

     Masks, PPE, Safety for all 

    • All are expected to maintain 2 metres of physical distancing between themselves and others while in the Walker Sports Complex. 
    • Within the Zone, trainers are not permitted to “spot” you. Please adjust your weight selection so that you can manage on your own. 
    • Masks are to be worn within the facilities with the following exceptions: masks may be removed once you reach your lane at the pool. Masks may be removed at specific cardio equipment within the Zone Fitness Centre. 


    Ensuring that equipment and facilities are safe and clean is the responsibility of all. Participants are expected to use the spray and wipe towels that are provided to clean equipment before and after each use. Staff and custodians are continuing to perform extra cleaning, including touch point cleaning. 

    At the end of each day, additional disinfecting occurs using electrostatic spraying to clean all equipment. 

     Following these guidelines will help create a continual safe operation of our facilities that are there for your health, well-being and enjoyment. 

     Your Friendly Neighbourhood Badger 


  • Our Top 5 Summer Backyard Games

    Our Top 5 Summer Backyard Games 

     Summer is in full swing, our favorite time of year.  Time for relaxation, trips to the cottage, camping, hanging out by a backyard pool, soaking in the sun and playing some backyard games with friends and family. 

    When it comes to backyard games there’s no shortage of options. It seems like there’s a new game created every year. The fun part about backyard games is they’re made to be played in relatively small areas outdoors and don’t need a large space to have fun. Also, a lot of them can be made at home. We just recently completed a DIY bean bag toss project (keep an eye out for it in the Walker Complex courtyard in the future)! 


     With that being said, here’s our Top 5 list of Backyard Games for this Summer. 

    1. Bean Bag Toss 

    Probably the start of the backyard game boom.  Bean bag toss has scoring similar to horseshoes and requires either 2 or 4 players.  The game is simple, doesn’t require tons of skill to get points and games can happen quickly.  You get 1 point for landing the bean bag on the board and 3 points for getting it in the hole. 

                2.  Kan Jam 

    Kan Jam requires a playing partner with one throwing a frisbee towards the other partner who then tries to deflect or dunk the frisbee into their respective can.  The thrower can also collect points by hitting the can directly or getting an instant win by fitting the frisbee into the slot on the can.  Games are to 21 points, require two teams and can get highly competitive.  

                3.  Ladder Golf 

    Maybe not as popular anymore as in years past but ladder golf is still easily making this top 5 list.  Usually, the most durable sets are the ones you make yourself with PVC pipe.  Another 2 or 4 player game ladder golf involves throwing 2 golf balls tied to a string at each other teams ladder rungs trying to wrap them around the lower rung for 1 point, middle rung for 2 points and top rung for 3 points.   

                  4.  Giant Connect 4 

    This one is a little more laid back in terms of physical effort. It’s a version of the classic Connect 4 game where you try to line up 4 of your discs in a row either vertically, horizontally or diagonally.  Generally made from wood or plastic discs, this a great backyard option for the pool deck or patio. 

                  5.  Bocce Ball 

    May be the original backyard game to ever be created (that or croquet).  Bocce ball is a timeless option which requires a bit more room in a backyard or beach area.  The game requires 4 players officially but can be played with anywhere from 2 to 8 players.  One designated player throws the Pallino (little white ball) and everyone takes turns trying to get their bocce balls closest to the Pallino, with extra points for touching it.  It is also lots of fun to knock someone’s else’s bocce away when they are close to the Pallino. 

    Enjoy having some backyard fun this Summer, 

    Your Friendly Neighbourhood Badger 

  • Volunteering – Good for you, good for others

    The Canadian volunteer sector has certainly been impacted over the last 12 months. Stats can suggest three significant shifts:  

    1. Finding opportunities to volunteer has become more challenging. Hospitals, religious organizations, sports, and recreation benefit the most from volunteers, but many of these programs, events and roles have been suspended or cancelled since March 2020.  
    2. Older adults are more likely to volunteer significant amounts of time each week, but they are also among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and therefore have been staying home.  
    3. And lastly, there has been growth in informal volunteering. More individuals are directly assisting others, such as picking-up and dropping-off groceries, neighbourhood initiatives, cooking meals or sewing non-medical masks. 

    You may need to be more creative in finding opportunities, but we know that serving others is a powerful form of self-care. 

    Volunteering can:  

    Combat stress, anger & anxiety. Meaningful connection to another person, working with animals, spending time outdoors and growing your support system can improve mood, lower risk for depression and relieve stress.  

    Increase happiness. Volunteers will describe the “helper’s high” or that “it feels good” – there is a euphoric rush that releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers when you help others.  

    Increase physical activity. Movement is a natural part of many volunteer opportunities. Whether you are visiting a senior, packing goods at a food bank, planting trees or raising funds by walking or running.  

    Find a sense of belonging. The human need to belong is fierce. Dedicating your time to serve the greater good provides a clear purpose and place to belong. It will also help you expand your social & professional networks. 

    Explore Volunteer Opportunities: 

    Other ways to support community agencies: 

    • Sign up for their newsletters. 
    • Follow and engage with your favourite agencies on social media. 

    Build your volunteer capacity through personal development. 

    • Read books, take an online personality/leadership quiz online. 
    • Follow inspiring advocates & leaders on social media. 
    • Join virtual conferences & workshops. 

    Your Friendly Neighbourhood Badger

  • 10 steps to stay safe during swimming season

    The temperatures are climbing, and the sun is shining. For all the pool owners out there, you know what that means! Swimming season is here. 

    There are few things more enjoyable and refreshing on hot days than a pool in the backyard. Of course, we all know, pool fun also has its risks. Though we at Brock University Aquatic Centre are not open yet, we encourage you to follow these backyard pool safety tips from the Lifesaving Society to make sure you’re staying safe this season. 

    Every year, the Lifesaving Society pulls together statistics on water-related deaths. So, we know several things about backyard pool drownings:  

    • Children who drown have usually gained easy access to the pool or have been left unsupervised, sometimes only for minutes.  
    • Older adults who drown in backyard pools have often been swimming alone.  

     Lifesaving Society courses can teach you and your family prevention strategies, self-rescue, rescue of others and basic first aid. When able to safely do so, Brock Aquatics will have offerings in lifesaving courses here. In the meantime, follow these tips to improve the safety of a potentially dangerous environment:  

    1. Stay within arms’ reach of children:  
    Don’t leave your children unsupervised. Drowning can occur in as little as 10 seconds. Let the phone ring; don’t barbecue and attempt to supervise at the same time; and keep your eyes on the pool even when you’re having a conversation with others. If you’re in the water with the children, don’t turn your back to them. Watch closely at all times.  


    2. Always watch children closely when they’re playing with inflatable toys:  
    Inflatable toys can be dangerous. They can overturn and put the child underwater. Limit the number of toys in the pool at a given time and remove all toys from the pool after swim time. This precaution prevents children from falling in while trying to reach them.  


    3. Restrict access to your backyard pool:
    Build a lockable fence around your pool—check local by-laws for the required height of pool fences. The fence should surround the pool on all four sides and have just one entrance. Ensure that no one can climb over, under or through it. The gate should be self-locking. When inside the house, lock all doors that lead to the pool. A toddler can slip through an unlocked door in seconds. When you aren’t using the pool, remove pool ladders and steps from above ground pools. Lock all hot tubs with safety-approved hard-top covers.  


    4. If children can’t swim, insist that they always wear a lifejacket or PFD unless you’re in the water holding them: 
    But remember that lifejackets and PFDs don’t replace supervision of children.  


    5. Keep all chemical products away from children:
    Lock the chemicals in a place with good air circulation.  


    6. Don’t dive or go head-first into the shallow end of the pool, and never dive into an above ground pool:
    Protect your neck. Many head and spinal injuries are caused by horseplay in backyard pools.  


    7. Don’t swim if you’ve been drinking alcohol:
    Alcohol reduces your ability to respond quickly and appropriately.  


    8. Always swim with a buddy: 
    In case of emergency, someone is available to help you. Have an emergency cellphone nearby in case you need to use it.  


    9. Drain all backyard wading pools after use:  
    A child can drown in just a few centimetres of water. Also untreated water left in these pools becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Position the empty wading pool such that it can’t fill up with rainwater.  


    10. Establish a set of pool rules:
    Ensure that everyone using your pool follows them.  


    Have a safe and fun summer,

    Your Friendly Neighbourhood Badger 


  • 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Ticks this Season

    We’re all enjoying the outdoors this year, especially as the weather gets warmer and sunnier. We want you to be aware that this year is an active year for ticks, which are picked up outdoors. They are more prevalent in grassy, wooded areas, but can also be found in urban areas. In the Niagara Region, the American Dog Tick is the most common tick found – this tick does not carry Lyme disease.  However, there are also Black-legged, or Deer Ticks found here, these ticks can carry Lyme disease. 

    It is important that you examine yourself and your pets after being outside, to ensure that you do not have a tick on you.   

    The Niagara Region provides some tips for protecting yourself against picking up ticks.  These include: 

    1. Wear light-coloured clothes to spot ticks. Wearing high socks and tucking in your pant legs keeps insects away from your lower legs while walking in grassy areas. 
    2. Use insect repellents that have DEET or Icaridin (always follow the instructions)
    3. Conduct daily full body checks on yourself and pets after coming in from the outdoors. 
    4. Cut your grass and dispose of leaf litter.  
    5. Outdoor workers should shower or bath within two hours of being in forested or long grass areas. 

    For more information from Niagara Public Health, including removal of ticks, where to submit a tick for identification, and statistics about the prevalence of ticks in the Region, visit Niagara Region Ticks and Lyme Disease. 

  • 5 Reasons to Start running Today

    5 Reasons to Start Running Today 

    With the nice weather arriving, it’s the perfect time to lace up those running shoes that have been sitting in your closet all winter. Taking time out of your day to be physically active is so important and running is a great way to do this! 

    If you’re not sure where to start your running journey, look no further than Brock Recreation! Starting on Wednesday, May 25 we will be running a 6 week “Learn to Run a 5k” program. With this program you’ll be provided with weekly plans, tips and tricks for running, drop-in sessions with a personal trainer, nutrition advice, and accountability. Here’s some reasons why joining this program is a great idea: 

    1. Stress relief

    Running is a great outlet for your stress! The “runners high” you always hear about is due to our brains releasing endorphins, which are known as the “happy” hormones. Also, it can reduce anxiety and stress by slowing down the release of cortisol, one of the “stress hormones.” 

    1. Good for your immune system

    Having a good immune system is on many peoples mind right now. Running is a great way to give your immune system the boost it needs! It can reduce chronic inflammation, increases white blood cells and antibodies, and fight off infection/slows bacteria from multiplying. 

    1. Gets you outside

    `Getting some fresh air is needed for many of us during lockdowns and after winter weather. Being outside is proven to restore our focus, enhance creativity, and reduce blood pressure and heart rate. Not to mention it gives us our daily dose of vitamin D, something many Canadians are deficient in. 

    1. Gives you energy & helps you sleep

    Kick the caffeine and start running for that daily boost of energy! Those endorphins that come from the “runners high” can give you energy for up to hours later. Running also strengthens the heart, which will give us more stamina. Additionally, running can help you have a better sleep, which will help increase your energy. 

    1.  Live longer 

    If all those reasons didn’t convince you than this one will! Running can help you live longer! Studies have shown that those who run regularly for even as little as 50 minutes a week have less of a chance of developing cardiovascular disease or cancer. That’s only 5-10 minutes a day! 

    To learn more and register for our Learn to Run 5k program, visit 


    Happy running! 

    Your friendly neighbourhood Badger 

  • 5 Steps to Starting your own Veggie Garden

    Have you ever tried fresh picked vegetables from the garden?  There’s nothing quite like it, especially if you’ve grown them yourself.  Planning, planting and eating from your own garden is a rewarding experience and can be a lifelong hobby. 

    1. Planning ahead. 

    • If you rent at a student house, make sure your landlord is okay if you start a veggie garden plot.  Using a pallet garden or raised garden box would save you from digging a plot in the backyard. 
    • If renting an apartment, don’t feel left out. You can use an upright pallet or garden box on your balcony. 
    • Will you be at this location in the spring, summer, and fall?  Some vegetables take a while before they are ready. 

    2. Pick a location for your garden. 

    • The location of your garden is important as the wrong location could result in poor growth and subpar veggies. 
    • Pick a sunny location that gets at least 6 hours a day.  Very few veggies do well in the shade. 
    • Plant veggies in a well-drained area. A constantly wet area will rot the roots of the plant. 
    • Be sure that you can access a water source, whether a hose or watering can. 

    3.  Garden Plot Size 

    • The most common beginner gardening mistake is planting too much.   
    • For reference, a garden that would be 10 ft long and 11 rows across would feed four people. 
    • Remember the bigger the garden the more weeding you have. 
    • A couple of planter boxes or pallet gardens would be a good starting point. 

     4.  Choosing your vegetables 

    • Pick vegetables that you enjoy eating 
    • If it’s your first time planting a garden choose vegetables that are easy to grow. 
    • 10 easy vegetables to grow are: peas, beans, tomatoes, beets, leaf lettuce, spinach, chard, zucchini, peppers. 
    • Some vegetables prefer cooler temperatures over hot and should be planted in early spring where others prefer warmer temperatures and should be planted later.
    • Cool temperature vegetables should be planted now. These include peas, spinach, lettuce, radishes 
    • Warmer temperature vegetables should be planted around May long weekend.  These include beans, zucchini, beets, chard, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins. 

    5.  Maintaining Vegetables 

    • Water regularly in hot summer months. 
    • Pick weeds around plants to ensure weeds aren’t taking plant’s food and water. 
    • Keep an eye out for bugs eating plants and check online for solutions to managing harmful ones. 
    • When the vegetable is ripe you could be picking everyday as certain varieties can mature quickly. 

    Most of all have fun with the process and enjoy the fruits vegetables of your labour. 

    Happy gardening!  

    Your Friendly Neighbourhood Badger