PHSS Class of 2018 – Kimmy has Graduated!

June was a very exciting month in our family (more on that here).

June 27 marked a special day as Kimberly completed her secondary education and graduated from Pender Harbour Elementary-Secondary School.

It was my honour to deliver a message from the school board, I’ve posted it below.

This photo was taken by Carly Fielding, I’ve scooped it from her Instagram. I was standing in the receiving line, so it a bit difficult to snap a shot.

I’m very proud of Kim for completing this portion of her education. As she spent her grade eleven year in the Netherlands, Kim compressed three years of high school into two. It was a challenging journey and not always easy but, with the help of the Pender Harbour staff and hard work, she made it happen. Congratulations, Kim.

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Here’s my address:

On behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I bring greetings and congratulations to the 2018 graduating class of Pender Harbour Elementary-Secondary School.

The board and staff love this time of year.   We celebrate your achievements and educational journey to this moment and, along with your community, wish you well for your next steps.   Pender Harbour and Egmont are very special places and you have made it better by your dedication to this community.

The Pender Harbour and Egmont Community has been incredibly generous to this class – cheering on at soccer, basketball and rugby, attending concerts and performances, donating their time, energy, bottles and money to help these students not only make it to the stage, but follow their dreams after.   Thank you all for all you do to support PHSS youth.

To the staff at PHSS, and all the way back to Serendipity with Gwen and Patricia, MPES days with Mrs. Stinson and Mrs. Kammerle, thank you for all you have done for these young adults.  Your efforts have been so appreciated.

To switch gears slightly, I’ll tilt my trustee hat back and be a mom.   This class has a special place in my  heart.   Having known many of you since baby drop-in and preschool days, one of you a bit longer, you’ve become part of our family and your parents have all become friends, or rather “comrades-in-arms” as we have navigated these past years.   These are our Y2K babies – the children that arrived after the apocalypse that was going to end civilization as we know it.   And to paraphrase Ian’s speech from last night, this group has been .. interesting? difficult? challenging?

The best anecdote to describe this class happened earlier today.   I called Kim at 11:40am to find out where she was, as time was running out to leave home to be at the high school for 12:30pm.   Her answer?  “I’m in Roberts Creek.”   That’s a forty-five minute drive away from the school, plus time to stop at home and get dressed and ready.

While thinking about what to say today, there were two themes that popped up for me.

The first is this – the beautiful welcome that was installed earlier this month has a wolf carved at its base.   Our Master Carver Arnold Jones chose the wolf with the graduating class as their symbol.

The wolf itself is a symbol of loyalty, intuition, intelligence, independence, compassion and communication, all qualities exemplified in this group.   The wolf may have a reputation as being a solitary creature as in “the lone wolf” due to its independent nature, but is actually a very social and communicative creature.     And as Tami describes the wolf on the welcome pole “it was difficult to emerge from the wood”.   It needed to come out in its own time.   This is so true of this group.

The second thing is this.   It is a tradition at Pender that grade 7 students write a letter to their future graduating self.  These letters were delivered last night at banquet.  In kim’s was her letter, a 2007 penny, a photo of herself, a coupe of other items and a fortune from a fortune cookie that read, “You will earn success at whatever you attempt”.   This is so true.   Show up and work hard for what you want and you will achieve your goals.   So often fear, self-doubt or external voices creep in and shut you down before you begin.  If you attempt something, work at it and you will be able to accomplish great things.    Whether it be veterinary, teaching, driving truck, logging, fishing, anything you choose to do.    This is growth mindset.

You’ve already accomplished amazing things – some of you have spent a year away, learning other languages and cultures; a couple of you have helped build a school in Ecuador.  We have volunteer firefighters, peer mentors, and just enjoyable human beings here, pushing the envelope, challenging the status quo, questioning things that do not make sense.   Please continue to do this as you venture into your steps.

Thank you for being unapologetically and unabashedly yourselves.

Go continue to be amazing.

Congratulations.

June 2018 – a Month of Celebration!

The graphic above says it all! (Credit to Brian Lee of the Harbour Spiel).

Carly completed her Bachelor of Business Administration- Marketing degree through Mount Royal University in Calgary, with a double minor in Social Innovation and Non Profit AND Innovation and Entrepreneurship in December 2017 and her convocation was June 1.

Kim graduated from Pender Harbour Secondary, receiving several bursaries from the community for post-Secondary. Kim was accepted at several universities and decided to pursue a degree in Education at the University of Victoria.

Michelle successfully completed the Carpentry Train in Trades Program, receiving first year university credits and credits for high school. The Train in Trades Programs are a partnership between School District 46 and Vancouver Island University. The Carpentry program has an additional partner with Habitat for Humanity- Sunshine Coast. Michelle still has one year of high school left, as she completed this program during her second half of her grade eleven year.

Thank you to all of Carly, Kim and Michelle’s family, friends, teachers and community that have helped them to achieve these goals – from housing to driving to tutoring to helping keep their mama sane, your support has been very appreciated. Thank you.

We’re very proud of these young women. Please wish them congratulations the next time you see them.

The Pieceful Coast

Earlier this week, I was traversing the waters of Howe Sound in the metallic bosom of a BC Ferry.  From my car’s vantage point, I had a stellar view as the vessel cut through the stillness of the fjord.   And then it struck me how the calm waters of the Sound were a considerable contrast from the raging typhoons howling in the political arenas of the Sunshine Coast.

Neighbours, I am concerned. The gales that have occurred on our Coast the past few weeks are twisting opinions, pitting us against each other. Citizens are being disrespectful of other points of view, simply because it is not what they feel.  Rather than debating the issue, personal attacks are whipping around, stinging sand in to our community’s heart.

Healthy discourse and disagreement is part of the democratic process.  Running rampant with rumours,  fear mongering and throwing mud may advance your cause in the short term but in the long term, it will only further distance you from it. Negativity disenfranchises voters, especially newer voters, whom are simply trying to disseminate through the information to find the FACTS to make the best, or most palatable, decision for their future.

Coastally, we have some very real challenges facing us over the next few years: aging infrastructure, lack of services for our elderly populace, a deficit in young people and families, the need for affordable, safe housing and economic development to name a few.

We will still be neighbours after November 15, whether it be directly next door, in the same jurisdiction or as Port Mellon and Egmont. This Coast is our home.

Today is the 25th Anniversary of the Demolition of the Berlin Wall.   The significance of this day in our global history should not escape us.   Politics divided families, friends and citizens for decades.  Let us not divide our own community in to separate pieces along opinion and posturing.

I truly believe in the following, and even though it was written in the context of contract negotiation, it fits for election time.

Whether you look from left or right
Your politics do not matter
It’s for our kids we must fight
But not leave each other in tatter

The balance of the modern world is found
in the harmony of success
even arguments can be a sweet sound
In their tangled, ugly mess

At the end of this… we rebuild
relationships, community, schools, our self
We try and forget of animosity that filled
But wait for the next contract to come off shelf

(excerpt from “Poem from a Negotiation Observer”)

In one week from today, we will know the make-up of our municipal governments for the next four years.    And for those four years,  we will continue to be neighbours.

We don’t have to be friends.

But let’s bring some peace to the Coast by treating each other with a bit more respect.

Where Have All the Playgrounds Gone?

I was driving around Sechelt last week and noticed that there seemed to be a lack of playground spaces for young children.

We have playgrounds at the elementary schools, soccer fields and ball diamonds, but when it comes to the newest subdivisions in the Sechelt area, there are no ‘real’ playgrounds, especially in quickly expanding West Sechelt.  There are a few ‘green areas’ in the West Sechelt area — Tyler Heights Park and Clayton Park, but as you can see from my photos below, the playground equipment is unimpressive.  Picadilly Park is much more family friendly, but is still located quite a distance from these other two areas.  And if you want to drive, you can certainly try Trail Bay Waterfront, Pier and Adventure Park or Porpoise Bay Provincial Park.

Tyler Heights Park

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Clayton Park

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I will say that the views from both of these parks is amazing, but the terrain not especially friendly for young families. Tyler Heights is especially difficult, having been built up on a rock boasting in blackberry brambles. There is green grass at Clayton Park which I’m sure is lovely to roll around in after you’ve used the equipment there – a short slide. One positive thing is that both of these playgrounds are very close to the trail system that snakes through the West Sechelt area. And the view is stellar. But c’mon… the play structures are abysmal.

The Sunshine Coast community is trying to attract more families and young people, yet our neighbourhoods lack the subliminal message that children are present or even welcome. And yes, you could argue that these new subdivisions are not being marketed to families with young children. But those luxury homes can be sold to young professional couples that wish to make a lifestyle change to the coast or they can be sold to grandparents.  And don’t we already have enough luxury homes sitting empty on the coast?

The launch of the Vital Signs Report earlier this week (see full report here http://sccfoundation.com/vitalsigns/ ) shows the aging demographic of our population is continuing to grow as the population under age 45 continues to decrease. In 2010, 40.9% of the Sunshine Coast population was under 45. In 2013, that number was 38.6%. No, this is not the fault of subpar playgrounds. But I would place blame in how each aspect of our community markets and brands ourselves to the world.

You can throw money at iniatitivies, projects and programs but if the policy, political will and messaging are not there, you will not change the trajectory that we currently following. By 2022, only 15% of the Sunshine Coast is projected to be of working age. Compare that with the rest of BC at approximately 40%. ( Vital Signs, 2014 )

Take a look around your neighbourhood with new eyes. What attracts you to live there? Is there a place for your children to play? What keeps you here? Is it your job, quality of life, the environment? What would it take to bring your friends here from off-coast?

As we enter the 2014 Municipal Election arena, listen to the candidates carefully as they address the issues brought forth to them. And make sure that you ask your questions.

November 15th comes quickly; make sure you have your voice heard.

Lessons from Chief Louie

I had the pleasure of listening to Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band speak on September 12 at the Rockwood Centre in Sechelt. Chief Louie’s visit was part of the “pro-voc-a-talks” series that the Coast Community Builders Association has initiated to encourage “exploring points of view”.

The Osoyoos Indian Band, under the leadership of Chief Louie, have one of the most successful business plans for a First Nation in all of North America.  They have established their own business development corporation and are a major economic player in the Okanagan.

Here are a few of the great takeaways from the Chief’s talk.

  • You can tell a leader by how they spend their time.
    • watch what a leader focuses on during their day.   Are they spending their time on useless tasks; are they working hard, side by side with their team?
  • Side by side, not dependent
    • When the Osoyoos Indian band signed an agreement with the province, they presented a token to the government to symbolize the new relationship.   The token had two parallel lines.  The parallel lines symbolized the new relationship – side by side, equal, not dependent on the other.  Chief Louie said that if you expect others to support you, you must support them.  He regularly encourages their golfing members to use the other courses in the area, to gas up at the station across town.
  • Move from a culture of entitlement to a culture of performance.
    • There is too much of a sense of entitlement in society today.  You should not expect to have things handed to you.   We need to move to expecting performance from each other.
  • The economic horse pulls the social cart
    • If you want to increase the programs you have to support your community, it’s necessary to improve the economy within it first.  This ensures that you have the financial resources available.  The better the economy is performing, the more you will be able to provide for your community.
  • Success is a study
    • “Go to school” on things that you want to know more about.   This is how the  Band learned about wineries, golfing and how to run succesful businesses within their community.
  • Anytime you have the chance, take a millionaire out for lunch. And pay for it.
    • Use the time with them to ask them questions about the lessons they’ve learned.  Learn from them.
  • Don’t wait for Perfect.
    • Perfect will never happen.  If you wait for perfect, you will be waiting forever.
  • There are no guarantees
    • In the end, there is no guarantee.  Weigh the pluses and minuses and make your decision based on the best information that you have.

At the end of Chief Louie’s talk, he left us with the following:

“You brought us whiskey during the Fur Trade; we’ll get you to sign our land back through NK’MIP first class wine.”

 

To learn more about Chief Clarence Louie and Osoyoos Indian Band, check out the band’s website at http://oibdc.ca/

More information about the CCBA and their initiatives can be found at http://coastbuilders.ca/