Our Community: Tailgate party a family fundraiser

The men, women and their families at CFB Esquimalt know the way to Canadian hearts: Hockey, hotdogs, trucks and a chance to shoot a selfie in a cool helmet.

On Friday, the Military Family Resource Centre is teaming with the Victoria Grizzlies for a special fundraiser. Besides the hockey game (versus the Cowichan Valley Capitals) the Military Families are planning a two-hour Canadian tailgate party.

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There will be special trucks from the base, such as fire trucks or a bomb-disposal vehicle. Also, some of the cool jobs on the military base will loan their equipment for kids and grownups to shoot selfies wearing a firefighter’s helmet or other headgear.

And there will be hotdogs, chips and sodas for a pre-game snack.

All the money raised is going to the Military Family Resource Centre. It assists military members, their partners and kids with services such as daycare, emergency child care and other support.

The Grizzlies are also getting into the act with a special jersey featuring a frigate and a V for Victory to honour the Canadian Armed Forces. Those jerseys will be auctioned off after the game.

The special fundraiser is on Friday at The Q Centre. The game starts at 7 p.m. and the tailgate party kicks off at 5:30 p.m.

Fitness app a winner for student

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Mount Doug Secondary Grade 11 student Yassin Guitouni has been awarded $1,500 in the Future Innovator Challenge to fund development of his idea for a phone app that promotes fitness through the use of social media.

A Grade 11 student from Mount Douglas Secondary School has been awarded $1,500 to fund development of a phone app to make fitness easier.

Last Sunday, Yassin Guitouni won the prize in the Future Innovator Challenge, a competition jointly supported by the South Island Prosperity Project and Island Savings.

Guitouni’s idea is for a social network that will allow users to connect with people and activities from a pickup soccer game to a hike. Users will sign on and click on Events to find colour codes to indicate status (finished or ongoing) and details such as age restraints, locations and times.

Another award-winning innovation is an app to find delivery services willing to dispatch items purchased on Kijiji and other sites. Users post desired shipping service for bids, with details such as items to be shipped, locations to and from, delivery deadline and a desired maximum charge.

University of Victoria students Audrey Wright, Cyrus Lee, Josh Desrochers, Magnus Kristensen and Tyler Arseneault were behind the delivery app.

South Island Prosperity Project is devoted to economic development and diversity on southern Vancouver Island. It’s 49 members include 10 local governments, five First Nations, three post-secondary schools, seven industry associations, non-profits and 23 major employers.

Island Savings, is a member-owned financial co-operative that prides itself on its community commitment. In 2017, Island Savings invested $250,000 and 4,000 volunteer hours in 250 local organizations, events and projects.

Venezuelans rally for homeland

Romina Gianna gets upset when she thinks, reads or hears about what’s happening in her native Venezuela.

Gianna said her family tells her all routine public services, such as water and electricity, are failing. Her mother’s last monthly paycheque, from a good job, covered the cost of three onions.

“I try not to read too much into the news,” she said in a telephone interview. “I get too worried and sometimes I get physically ill.”

A rally in support of the Venezuelan people is planned for Wednesday at the B.C. legislature. Similar rallies are planned for Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and cities around the world.

Gianna, 34, moved to Canada about 10 years ago and lives in Cobble Hill. She said only about 60 Venezuelans live on Southern Vancouver Island. But the community is in close contact with other Latin Americans and hopes to attract all Canadians to its rally.

“We want to show the people back home we are still present and we still care,” she said. “And we want to thank Canada for all its support.”

The rally is on Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. at the front steps of the legislature.

Our Place gets a new fundraiser

Our Place, the Victoria soup kitchen and resource centre, has appointed a new fundraiser.

Marg Rose is the new director of philanthropy for the organization, which serves 1,000 meals per day at its Pandora Avenue resource centre and more recently has begun a Therapeutic Recovery Centre on Talcott Road.

Rose said her own mother dealt with depression and so she feels a personal connection with the services Our Place offers.

Our Place has worked for more than 50 years in Victoria assisting the city’s most vulnerable people: working poor, impoverished older people, the mentally and physically challenged, the addicted and the homeless.

Celebrate Scotland’s beloved poet

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The life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns will be celebrated next Sunday, with a piper and sprigs of heather in Beacon Hill Park.

The life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns will be celebrated next Sunday, with a piper and sprigs of heather in Beacon Hill Park.

Gathering at the statue of Burns, across the road from the petting zoo, onlookers will hear some of Burns’ poetry and a piper.

After the gathering, the crowd is invited to walk the six blocks downtown to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, where a Burns memorial tea will be served in the church hall.

Irwin Henderson, past provost of the Saltire [Scottish] Society of Victoria, said Robert (Rabbie) Burns, 1759-1796, is worthy of commemoration because of his devotion to speaking to speaking to and for common people in their own language.

“He glorified the common people in the Scottish language,” said Henderson. “And he dealt with ordinary subjects like love, nature and individual people.”

And with the Scottish emigration diaspora a song such as Auld Lang Syne, meaning for the sake of old times, is now sung by English speakers the world over, despite the Scots vernacular of the lyrics.

Burns Day celebrations start at 1:45 p.m. Jan. 27, at the statue of Burns in Beacon Hill Park. The memorial tea is at 2:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 924 Douglas St.

Nanaimo hands out culture awards

Winners of Nanaimo’s 2019 Culture and Heritage Awards were named Wednesday.

Dean Chadwick, founder, artistic director and producer at Schmooze Productions and longtime mentor for young people in all aspects of theatre work, takes the 2019 Honour in Culture Award.

In 2014 Chadwick gathered other theatre professionals to found the non-profit Harbour City Theatre Alliance Society, now recognized as a valuable community resource.

The 2019 Honour in Heritage Award goes to the Nanaimo Historical Society. Besides books, lectures and walking tours, the society played a crucial role in establishing the Nanaimo Museum, the Nanaimo Community Archives and the municipal heritage advisory committee.

Nico Rhodes, 29, is the 2019 Emerging Cultural Leader, an award granted to someone under the age of 30, who is active in Nanaimo’s cultural life.

Rhodes teaches piano and voice and serves as choir director for the Unity and Unitarian Churches. He is also sought out as a music director and has worked on performances at the Belfry Theatre and Chemainus Theatre Festival and composed projects for the Vancouver Island Symphony.

Every year, the City of Nanaimo recognizes people and groups who make the community more vibrant. The awards will be presented April 18 at the Port Theatre. Ticket details will be announced later.

Student Rangers preserve provincial parks

Student Rangers can play a vital role in preserving the environmental, cultural and historical aspects of B.C. Parks.

So the provincial ministry of environment and climate change strategy is announcing the second year of its Student Ranger Program.

The program will hire 48 students, 12 crews of four, with an aim to recruit 30 per cent of the Rangers from Indigenous Peoples. Hourly pay ranges from $17.03 to $18.32 for crew members and $22.58 to $25.47 for crew leaders. Applicants must be 18 to 30 years old and enrolled in an educational program.

“I hope the program inspires young adults to consider a meaningful and inspiring career looking after B.C.’s parks and protected areas,” said Environment Minister George Heyman.

Crews will work in 13 separate regions in B.C. Two of those locations will be on Vancouver Island: Black Creek and Goldstream Provincial Park.

All projects completed by the crews will be hands-on efforts related to conservation, recreation, community outreach and relations with Indigenous Peoples. Projects might be efforts to control the spread of invasive species, build and maintain trails, restore ecosystems and do public education.

The Student Ranger Program is funded by the sale of B.C. Parks specialty licence plates. So far, 130,000 of these plates have been sold, generating $4.14 million for provincial parks.

To learn more about the Student Ranger Program or the B.C. Parks specialty licence plates, go online to env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/.

Volunteers clean up Cadboro Bay

Volunteers were drawn to the edge of the sea in Saanich last week for a chance to clean up the shores of Cadboro Bay.

Organized by the group Surfriders Vancouver Island, the beach cleanup attracted volunteers from all over the community, from adults to little ones.

“It was a real beautiful day and it turned into a real family event,” said Eric Dahli of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association in a telephone interview.

Dahli said every time there is a big wind from the southeast, trash appears on the beach at Cadboro Bay. The latest cleanup harvested an old boat toilet and about 800 pounds of garbage.

He said the best moment of the cleanup for him was watching young children, out with the families, getting down to pick up small pieces of plastic from the beach.

“They must have been learning about the dangers of plastic at school or something,” Dahli said.

Meanwhile, two derelict boats continue to litter the beach, a twin-keeled vessel and a concrete hull whose owner is reportedly making plans to hire a tug and have it pulled off.

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