A former fire captain turned Lego enthusiast hopes to spark creativity in kids attending the upcoming Salmon Arm Fall Fair.
Daryl Arychuk was involved with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District fire service for 35 years before he and his wife decided they wanted a change. They moved to Mexico where they lived for two years and during that time Arychuk worked with Canadian volunteer missions to help children there. It was there he discovered the formative and educational powers of Lego.
Arychuk was asked to teach a shop class; with no money to buy tools or typical shop equipment, he turned to the brightly coloured blocks for ages four to 99.
“I built stuff out of Lego and we used that to teach the kids about gears and levers and fulcrums and transmissions and things like that,” he said. “It was kinda neat because it helped us cross that language barrier too.”
When Arychuk came back to Salmon Arm he felt there was a lack of things to do for that child who may not fit into the jock or academic ends of the clique spectrum. Something was needed that would benefit those who fell in between, so he created a Lego club at his church and the group quickly swelled to more than 40 members.
“It’s to help that child that is an underdog, that is kind of a second person. They’re not the bright showy person that’s up at the front,” Arychuk said.
The aim of the club was to teach the bible in lessons which involved making objects out of Lego.
This eventually led to Arychuk’s involvement with the Lego showcase at the Salmon Arm fair. Lego has been featured at the fair since the 1960s; Lego competitions on the other hand are Arychuk’s latest addition.
“I went through an accident where I lost the use of my shoulders and arms, so for me this is kind of a therapeutic thing that I do on a daily basis but it’s also to help kids think there is something out there beyond the cell phone,” Arychuk said.
The competitions were tried out last year as a trial run and, after a few revisions, will be featured once more.
There are six different age categories for Lego displays, where children will work with a set of pieces and try to create something out of them within the time limit. The ages range from nine to 10 to over 18.
Also included in the competition are team builds where teams of three members participate in this interactive challenge using the provided package of Lego pieces to construct whatever they can in 25 minutes.
This event takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8 in the Lego division area.