Stettler youth make mini golf idea a reality

he Stettler mini golf course has plenty of challenges with its themed holes that include a grain elevator, windmill and much more.
Written by Stu Salkeld

Canada Day kick-off of the Stettler mini golf course at the Town and Country Museum. From the left, front row: Zoe Norman, Reagan Robbins, Keyanna Blackport, Dalyce Connell and Mayah Smyth. Back row: Rhonda O’Neill, Jasper Tate, Lisa Tait, Jesse Vikse, Kalon Babchuk, Coy Schilling and Karen Wahlund. This is not everyone involved but a number of representatives from the people who could be there on July 1. ECA Review/S.Salkeld

Stettler youth with the help of many community supporters made their idea of a local mini golf course a reality this summer.

Youth from Wm E Hay Stettler Secondary Campus along with school staff, family, volunteers and local agencies took a modest grant from Alberta Health Services (AHS), developed ideas for a youth activity, laid plans for it and made it a reality.

The new mini golf course, located conveniently at the Stettler Town and Country Museum, began admitting golfers on July 1, Canada Day, after more than a year of planning, developing and construction noted two coordinators closely linked to the project.

Stettler Public Library Manager Rhonda O’Neill and Program Coordinator Keyana Blackport noted the mini golf idea stemmed from AHS’ SOARING pilot project, an engagement program for youth where the youth themselves are encouraged to think up activity ideas and make them reality.

Once AHS made a grant available, O’Neill stated a coalition of Stettler-area agencies began floating the idea before the youth. Some of the agencies included Heartland Youth Centre, Caring and Resilient Students, Stettler Family Resource Centre and the public library to name a few. O’Neill stated this coalition is comprised of Stettler organizations that want to see healthy outcomes that also offer fun for local youth.

Blackport stated organizers felt an effective way to gauge interest among the youth was to work with the high school; once the grant was secured organizers surveyed certain grades in junior and senior high and then organized engagement sessions. Blackport noted youth offered different ideas but with a common theme being they’d like an outdoor activity where they could hang out together; a mini golf course was mentioned. She added there was one idea, building a CostCo in Stettler, that was a bit beyond the scope of this project.

O’Neill stated summer students at the various organizations began working on the idea and held a contest for “fairway themes” or designs for each of the course’s nine holes. The organizations went to the secondary campus and met with the new construction teacher, Jesse Vikse, who O’Neill stated immediately embraced the project. Over the 2023-24 school year junior high students, with the help of some senior high ones, designed and constructed the mini golf course.

Concurrently, organizers sought a place in Stettler that would be easy for youth to access but also a secure place where the mini golf course wouldn’t have to contend with issues like vandalism. The Stettler Town and Country Museum was perfect: it’s fenced off and has staff, caretakers and volunteers around on a regular basis. The museum also plans to pack and store the mini golf every off-season to ensure it’s in prime condition the following summer.

Blackport said a lot of work went into the course. “It’s very exciting to see it completed,” said Blackport at the course July 3.

The mini golf course is available at the Stettler Town and Country Museum during regular hours for $5, or $3 if part of another museum admission.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.