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 Subtleties (and subtitles) of Sexism 

I stumbled across the following post a few days ago:

http://good-mag.co/48SexistComments (comments a woman hears over her lifetime that a man never will)

and it reminded me a similar marketing campaign from Always (R) – you may have seen this already – “Like A Girl”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs

The phrases are prevalent in every day speech – throw, run, hit ‘like a girl’; when are you going to find a nice man and settle down?; how many children are you going to have….but only when it comes to women.   When was the last time a man was asked if he was going to stay at home with the baby, take his wife’s name, start a family?

We do this to our children – female and male – from birth. Preschool, “she likes you, you have a girlfriend”, to the soccer field “you’re running like a bunch of little girls” to career “women don’t belong in politics, law, etc” or “a real man isn’t a hairdresser, pastry chef, decorator, etc”.  A male relative of mine once commented to me “women shouldn’t be police officers because it ruins families having men and women in close quarters.”  I was a bit dumbfounded, and responded back with his logic  – “Why are men in police work?  Doesn’t it ruin families?”

Why do we genderize our daily commentary to each other, especially to our children? Focusing on gender as a qualifier for ability, aptitude or competence is outdated and detrimental to our society.

 

I am the mother of three young women and I hope I am raising them to be strong, healthy human beings, capable to accomplish great things and to be the strongest, brightest people they can be.    

It is 2016.  As we mark this International Womens Day, give thought to how you speak to the next generation, to each other.  Let’s not continue to spread these subtleties of sexism.

I’ll end with this talk from TEDwomen, delivered by Liza Donnelly : Drawing upon Humor for change.

November 15th will be here soon! Who’s got your VOTE?!

Check out my PSA on behalf of VOICE on the Coast, encouraging residents to find out about their local candidates then VOTING on November 15th.

Find out more about the candidates at the local government websites:

http://www.sd46.bc.ca for Rural Area 2 School Board Trustees
http://www.scrd.ca for Regional Directors
http://www.gibsons.ca for Town of Gibsons Mayor and Council
http://www.sechelt.ca for District of Sechelt Mayor and Council

We do have several positions that have been acclaimed this year. I encourage you to find out more about those people as well.

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.

Summer Bucket List

I was challenged to make a “Summer Bucket List” – things that I wanted to do before the summer was over.

First on the list:
1) Stand up on a paddleboard. I’ve gone out a few times over the past couple of years, but have been too scared to stand up.. worried about falling in. So I’ve knelt the whole time. I don’t recommend doing so….. hard on the knees.

2) Spend at least ten nights off Coast before September 15th… This is to force me to take some time off.

3) Run. I miss running.. I haven’t gone for any kind of run since I broke my ankle in 2009. That’s a long time.

and just to ‘force’ the issue…

4) Register for a 5km run
and
5) Register for the BMO April Fools’ Run… this is a half-marathon between Gibsons and Sechelt. It’s held the first Sunday in April.. Last (and first) time I did it was in 2007. Time to start training!

6) Find Five heart-shaped rocks. As of July 13, I’ve found twelve. The first day I sat on the beach, I found five… in under twenty minutes..

7) Wear a dress or skirt once a week. Too many times, I get dressed in the morning and then change because I “don’t like the way it looks”. I need to challenge myself out of my comfort zone. It’s a tough battle. See The Elephant in My Head

For the kid in me… and for my kids too..
8) Go to the Zoo. I haven’t been to a Zoo in years. My kids haven’t been to one in a long time either, plus one of my cousins is getting married at the Calgary Zoo later this month. I’m not able to make it to the wedding, but I can go to the Zoo in her honour.

9) Go to Playland
and
10) Go to the PNE. I would love to walk around the displays and just take a look around.

In September of last year, I realized that I had not gone swimming ONCE during the entire summer.
Hence, the next four items:
11) Swim in six different lakes in July
12) swim in six different lakes in August
13) Swim in the ocean five times in July
14) Swim in the ocean five times in August
(the last two will likely happen when I try to stand up on the paddleboard)

15) Hike the Skookumchuck. I have lived on the Sunshine Coast for 20 years (officially on September 13th, 2014) and have yet to see the rapids. I’ve heard them, but have not gone far enough to see them..(my kids were much smaller, and did not want to go any further on the trail. We were close to the end of the trail. So very close.)

16) Write a short story. I love to write. Before I had kids, I would write short stories, poetry, song lyrics…. you name it. Now I barely find the time to read, let alone write. Am I any good? Does it really matter – as long as I do it!

17) Listen to a busker play for fifteen minutes and give them $20.. There are very talented musicians all around us and I never take the time to stop and listen…or give them a few cents.

And here’s a few that didn’t make the original list because they came up by surprise, but are now complete!

18) Jump off the rocks at Katherine Lake.. I have the bruises (and sore body – I belly-flopped) to prove it!

19) Attend the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts – technically, haven’t attended yet, but I have purchased my Sunday Pass!! I’m really excited to be going; it’s my first time, plus Grant Lawrence is one of the featured authors on that day! The Festival is August 14-17 .. more info at http://www.writersfestival.ca

20) Spend some time with my bestie Vicky and her family… they were able to take some days and come out for a visit. We had such a great time! now to just spend some time with my other besties.. (you know who you are)

As I type these, I realize that there are so many other things that I’d like to do this summer..

21) Random acts of kindness… we all need more of these. I think one a day is a good start..

22) Attend a farmer’s market at least five times over the summer.. So many of our local farmers, producers and artisans depend on these events to help grow their business. Buy Local!

23) Spend more time doing what my daughters want to do. ‘Nuff said..

24) Spend more time with my husband..

25) Listen to music more often… and different types. I’ve had everything from John Lennon to Blake Shelton to Paul Simon to Eminem playing tonight. Eclectic.

So there’s my list (before I keep adding to it). What would you put on yours?

A message for my daughter

Tomorrow marks the first day of your adult life. You will board the plane that takes you away from your hometown, and towards your new life as a University student.

You are my eldest, my first love, the reason I am a mother. You amaze me with your wit, your humour, your brilliant mind and your beautiful heart. You do not tolerate disrespect for others and have proven yourself to be a role model and a leader to your classmates, your peers and your sisters.

The adults around you have remarked on your poise and presence of self. Your friends know your loyalty and fairness; everyone knows where they stand with you.

You have taught me how to be a mom, and be a better mom. You hold me to high standards and let me know when you need me to be better.

I love you Carly. Thank you.

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