This article is from the February 2017 Issue of Forever Young
By Glenna Turnbull
Sometimes a name is more appropriate than we first realize. Take, for example, Valley First. Set to celebrate their 70th anniversary this year, Valley First has truly lived up to its name through their commitment to, indeed, put the “Valley” first.
For example, did you know that since 2010, Valley First has raised well over $1.2 million and close to 72,000 pounds of food for local food banks through their Feed the Valley campaign? And if you donated in, say, Oliver, then the money stayed to help those in need in Oliver; or if you donated in Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm or any of their17 branches, the food or money received remained in your own community to help those in need.
Susan Ewanick, President of Valley First, said, “We’re very proud of the Feed the Valley campaign.”
But Valley First does a lot more than just help out its local food banks. They’re also reaching out to help the valley’s youth through their CanSave program. “We’ve partnered with Enactus through Okanagan College in a new financial literacy program,” explained Susan, “educating children in grades two through four on basic money management skills.”
In keeping with their community-mindedness, not only are they teaching children the importance of spending and saving wisely, but kids are learning to include the all-important philanthropic idea of donating as well. “We’re helping them learn to make decisions around their spending and saving choices as well as their charity choices – the decisions we all make on a weekly and monthly basis,” Susan said.
Reflective of their passion about financial literacy and the importance of teaching future generations sound money management, Valley First is hosting an exciting contest on Facebook, asking parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles to create a short video about how they are educating future generations about the three pillars of financial management: spending, saving and giving. “We’ll be giving away three prizes of $1,000 for the best short video,” noted Meredith Birchall-Spencer, Communications Business Partner for Valley First
The contest is open from Feb. 7 to 21 and can be found on Valley First’s Facebook page at facebook.com/valleyfirst
This article is from the January 2017 Issue of Forever Young
A WITCH WATCHES as Maggie tests her wand while shopping on Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
By Liz Campbell
I just became the world’s best grandma. It was easy; I took my grandchildren to Happy Central, aka Orlando, Florida.
It’s easy enough to head for Disney World, but we explored Mars at the Kennedy Space Center; we stepped into Diagon Alley at Universal Studios; and we were turned upside down at WonderWorks.
After four days, Sarah (age 12), Ben (age 11) and the twins, Josh and Maggie (age 7) were hard-pressed to say what they loved best. Well, to be fair, for Maggie there was no contest – she has read all the Harry Potter books.
To Infinity and Beyond....
“That was amazing,” Josh squeals as we leave the Destination Mars exhibit. “It’s like I was really on Mars and I could look all around me, even the ground.” We had donned Microsoft HoloLens virtual reality glasses and literally walked on the surface of the red planet, led by astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the Mars Rover. These aren’t just imaginary, but based on data gathered by the Rover while on Mars. It’s an extraordinary experience.
Some 35 years ago, my daughter and I visited the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Back then, it was exciting to see moon rocks gathered during the1968 landing on the surface. This time, through the magic of technology, we went back in time to those early missions – the frightening failures and the awe-inspiring success of the moon landing. I asked the children if they would like to go into space. After seeing so many rockets explode on the launch pad, they were hesitant. But then we met Jerry Ross.
Between 1985 and 2002, Commander Ross flew a record seven missions into space, including one with Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield. Ben asked him if it was scary relying on technology.
“In our world, we rely on technology all the time. Sometimes it fails,” Ross replied, adding with a laugh, “The only difference is that it’s a longer walk home from space.”
He described sleeping in space (in restraints like a sleeping bag), the games the astronauts invented at zero gravity (racing through the space lab tunnel) and the worst thing about the trip (“Having to come home.”)
After our chat, Maggie conceded that she ‘might’ go in space.
Ross signed a copy of his book, Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record-Setting Frequent Flyer (Purdue University Press, 2013). And when Sarah asked him what had been the most frightening part of the trip, he replied, “The launch itself.”
We had the opportunity to experience a little of what Ross was talking about. Technology allowed us to safely launch in a virtual space shuttle just like the Atlantis. Afterwards, we took turns in astronaut training simulators to dock it ourselves.
At KSC we got a close-up look at the huge rockets which powered the US into space history. And our hearts swelled with pride at the sight of a Canadarm, the robotic arm Canada developed for working in space. My grandchildren thought these were “cool”, but the significance of each numeral attached to Apollo is emblazoned in my memory.
This article is from the November 2016 Issue of Forever Young
Kelowna Art Gallery volunteer Eva Carr (right) with Kelsie Balehowsky, former gallery assistant.
Walking into the Kelowna Art Gallery, it’s hard not to notice the genuine, warm smile of Eva Carr, one of the many volunteers who help ensure all of their special events and exhibit openings run smoothly.
“I’m not an artist, but I’ve always loved art,” said Eva, “so volunteering at the art gallery seemed like a natural fit.”
Eva first started at the gallery as one of their docents, responsible for leading school children through tours of the exhibits and then helping them create an art project based on the exhibit they can take home with them. Touring the children requires fresh training for each new exhibition so docents can explain the art to the children and, hopefully, answer all of their questions. Do they stump her sometimes? Eva laughed, “I tell them, you can ask anything you want and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out.”
She first started volunteering with the Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George and helped it transition into its new home before moving to Kelowna with her husband in 2003. “His health wasn’t good and I didn’t really have the time to commit then” she said, but after he passed away and she began looking for something to add a little more meaning to her life, she remembered how much she’d enjoyed volunteering and approached the Kelowna Art Gallery where she now volunteers regularly both as a docent and special event helper.
Shifting from Arts to Sports, meet volunteer Roy Gillespie. A physiotherapist working out of Aspire Health and Fitness, Roy was bitten by the volunteer bug at a very early age. “My parents got me into it,” he said. “I played competitive basketball and my Dad said it would be good to volunteer as a referee so I could understand all aspects of the sport and then I did some volunteering through our church with my Mom.”
It was while attending Dalhousie University that Roy got go see firsthand what a big difference volunteering could make in the lives of others. Wanting to play on the Halifax Men’s League’s senior A team, he met a man named Terry Symonds. “He was one of my greatest mentors,” said Gillespie, “and he told us that, in order to be part of our basketball team, we had to volunteer,” so they started up a late night basketball league in the roughest area of town to get kids off the street. From there, Roy went on to volunteer at both Dalhousie and St. Mary’s universities tending to soccer, basketball and hockey players.
Roy discovered that volunteering was a hard habit to break – one he didn’t want to, so after moving to the Okanagan, he started helping out at events such as figure skating competitions, provincial karate, and countless different sports tournaments. He’s also volunteered with the national freestyle ski team and most notably, the Okanagan Sun football team where is he has been a huge part of the team’s success for the past 15 years.
This article is from the December 2016 Issue of Forever Young
By Glenna Turnbull
“Not those bell ringers again,” said the disgruntled woman in the fur coat who pushed past me on the way out of the store, her arms laden with plastic bags filled full of bargains.
“Yes,” I said to her, “isn’t it wonderful what they do?”
If she’d stopped for more than the moment it took to sneer at me, I would have explained:
The Salvation Army Kettle Fund has become synonymous with Christmas and each day, as volunteers man the kettles and, yes, ring their bells where permitted, they help to make our community a much brighter place for those who are struggling.
It’s a sad statistic that one in every eight households struggle to put food on the table and that 90,000 Canadians will find themselves at the door of their local food bank for the first time this month, but such is the case. (Ring ring...)
One of the volunteers at the Kelowna Salvation Army knows first-hand what it’s like to be in need and require their services and why those ringing bells are so important. When Alicia Cook moved to Kelowna in September 2015 with her daughter, she came on the premise of starting a new life for them both – a life that included her returning to school. As a single mom, struggling to make ends meet while awaiting her student loan to arrive, she found herself at the doors of the Salvation Army Community Life Centre where she met one of their Case Workers, Jamie Johnstone. “Jamie was amazing,” said Alicia, “she was a breath of fresh air. She was safe to talk to when I had no one else.”
Like many before her, the initial shame Alicia felt at having to ask for help manifested itself into tears but before long, with Jamie’s help, tears were turned into smiles. Food, clothing and a brand new backpack for her daughter to start school with were some of the things she left that first appointment with, along with the knowledge that there are good people in this world, people who care – care enough to listen to that ringing bell and drop in a donation.
This article is from the October 2016 Issue of Forever Young
The best parts of this Cape Breton experience are the village stops along the way
By Anne Bokma
The world famous Cabot Trail is arguably Canada’s most beautiful drive — a 298-kilometre smoothly paved scenic roadway that forms a loop around the northern part of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. Travellers can’t help but blink in wonder at its blazing technicolour vistas — the shining emerald hues of the hills that roll into the forever distance and the shimmering blues of the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean that border this iconic route.
Yes, you can stay in your car and do the drive in a speedy four hours. But that would be missing the point. The point being to go slow — slow enough to properly store its coastal views and highland scenery in your memory bank.
Life is more interesting off the beaten path and that’s especially true on the Cabot Trail, where three days of stopovers in the villages of Baddeck, Ingonish, Cheticamp and Margaree offer the chance to explore the abundance of beaches, museums, lookouts and trails on this coastal playground which boosts world class hiking, golfing, fishing, whale watching, sailing and kayaking.
Situated along the shore of the Bras d’Or Lake, Cape Breton’s expansive inland sea, the town of Baddeck, located an hour’s drive from Sydney and three-and-a-half hours from Halifax, is the best start and end point on the Cabot Trail loop — you can travel in either direction (locals argue about whether it’s best to go clockwise or counterclockwise but haven’t reached a consensus). Baddeck became a tourist destination with the1874 publication of the travel guidebook “Baddeck, And That Sort of Thing”, that caught the attention of its most famous citizen — Dr. Alexander Graham Bell — who built his summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, (“beautiful mountain” in Gaelic) in Baddeck because the place reminded him of the Scottish highlands of his youth.
We stayed the night in the Silver Dart Lodge, a charming 90-acre compound named after the aircraft designed by Bell and flown off the ice of Bras d’Or Lake in 1909 — the first powered flight in Canada. The next morning we caught a glimpse of the famous estate where Bell is buried during a peaceful two-hour paddle with North River Kayak Tours before heading north to Ingonish, located at the eastern entrance of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This massive (950 sq km) protected wilderness area is home to a wide range of animals from moose to martens, masked shrew and meadow jumping mice. One-third of the Cabot Trail passes through the park, which offers photo ops by the thousands with spectacular views on its 26 trails that range from easy strolls, such as the Skyline Trail, a level path that leads to a boardwalk built on a dramatic headland cliff with perfect views of the Cabot Trail winding down the mountainside, to hardcore hiking, such as the Franey Trail where you’ll transition from Acadian to boreal forest on the steep ascent and be rewarded with a 360º view of the canyon and coastline below.