Saanich Voice Online is sponsoring a writing contest for all students in Grades 9 through 12 living or attending school on the Saanich Peninsula.
PRIZE $50 to the winning entry in each category
1. Stories must be no less than 500 words and no more than 750 words. Microsoft Word software will be used to determine the word count.
2. You must write the story yourself, but you may ask for assistance or ideas in interpreting the quote.
3. You may enter as many categories as you like (total of 4), but only once in a given category. Choose one of the two options in the category.
4. Stories may be in the form of a fact-based journalistic review of a local or global topic; an op-ed piece; or a work of fiction. In all cases stories should encourage open dialogue with our readers who are invited to comment through our online publication.
5. Submissions will be printed as received and judged on content, structure, grammar, and spelling.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING STORIES:
MIDNIGHT ON WEDNESDAY 18 DECEMBER 2013
WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON OUR WEBSITE ON FRIDAY DECEMBER 20.
The winning entry in each category will be published in the January and February2014 issues of Saanich Voice Online.
Stories to be submitted to: email@example.com along with a 50 x 75mmx300dpi photo head shot of yourself.
Include your name, contact information, school, (or home school) and grade along with the category in which you are entering your story.
Saanich Voice Online retains the right to publish submissions in subsequent issues. Winners agree to have their story published under their own name accompanied by their photograph.
by Vivian Corban, Citizen Journalist
Twenty-seven Grade 12 students at Stelly’s Secondary School have a bold suggestion for gift-giving this year.
How about building a daycare centre in Nepal in your loved one’s name?
Tim Storm, a Global Perspectives teacher at Stelly’s explains.
Partnering with NGO, Mountain Fund, the Grade 12 Global Perspectives 2013 student group bought land and built a women’s shelter, “Her Farm”, in Haltham Village, Nepal.
Noting that Mountain Fund’s first suggestion was a small library in an existing school, Storm says, “But I said, ‘We’re coming with thirty kids and going to raise money, so if that’s what’s needed, let’s go ahead, but if you’re going to dream, dream big. Let’s dream big and make something big.’ … [Mountain Fund’s Executive Director] Scott MacLennan came back with an outline for a project and asked, ‘What do you think of this – do you think you can make it happen?’”
After careful consideration, Storm decided that the project just might be possible, spread over two years. Global Perspectives Group 2014 is finishing the project, adding a water line for access to fresh water, and a daycare addition.
Global Perspectives started in 1999 when Storm had the idea that, “probably the best way to give students an opportunity to figure out how to make a change in the world is to actually go to different places, to developing countries around the world.”
Teacher Chris McDonald works with Grade 11 students and helps when the Grade 12s take a trip. “In Grade 11 we prepare students to work on local issues. We volunteer at places like Woodwynn Farms and Our Place [soup kitchen]. In Grade 12 we prepare for global issues.” Over the years the students have gone to Haiti, Cuba, Belize, Peru, and Nepal, building schools and hospitals. They’re eager to get started in Nepal.
“Life for women in Nepal is quite horrific,” says Storm, “if they have a spouse that’s died. Quite a few young women are sold into the sex trade. If they ever make it back they might have STDs, or children with them. They’re alienated from their communities and there’s not much opportunity for a good life. We can help.”
In order to turn the dream into reality, extreme fundraising is critical. That’s where Grade 12 student Connor Williamson of Firbank Farm comes in. Connor is an old hand at fundraising; it’s in his family’s genes. Every fall Connor, a past recipient of Save-On Foods Amazing Kids Award, and his parents Diane and Rob paint and decorate miniature pumpkins to sell for $5, with proceeds supporting the SaanichPeninsulaHospital. So it seemed natural for Connor to take the lead in coordinating their major fundraiser, the Global Gala.
“I’m really passionate about getting involved nationally, internationally … I really care about helping others.” Connor notes the dedication and commitment of his fellow group members. “I want people to know how passionate this group is – how passionate they are about this project. How much it means to them and how hard they have worked for it.”
While fundraising is a must for the success of the venture, volunteers are also essential.
Seventeen year old Haley Westra enthuses. “We’ll be finishing the trip from last year – a shelter so [women] have a safe place to go to care for their babies and get food and water… Anything that they need, we’ll be there and build what we can…”
But why would anyone commit to spending an entire spring break working instead of hanging out with friends and family?
“I decided to go,” says Haley, “because the world, I believe, is in a very fallen state and anything I can do to help and make a difference is incredible to me; even just self-satisfaction that comes out of it. I believe it will change my life in a very positive way.”
Fellow student Sam, ambushed on the run, says, “It’s a great opportunity to go on this trip to help out abroad ’cause it’s not really offered on most curriculums. It’ll be great to go.”
The gala may be behind them, but Connor’s job isn’t over yet. It’s not too late to make a contribution and all of the proceeds are going to the project. With even a small donation you can give someone in Nepal a terrific gift.
Just drop by Stelly’s office and page Connor or Tim Storm. They’ll be delighted to take your cheque.
Change the world, one young mother at a time.
by Elle Colton, Citizen Journalist
It might be a little early for hollering, “Happy New Year”. It is the perfect time to plan a happy new year celebration.
But where do you ring in the new year when you want to step out with your family?
Adults have options. Club crawling; pub crawling; dining and dancing in a swanky hotel with a suite upstairs to romance the new year in with style; or maybe the always affordable house party – preferably someone else’s house (you’ve seen those morning-after clean-ups).
Unfortunately, most of the options are strictly for adults.
Lisa Sneek, Marketing Coordinator for the Panorama Recreation Centre can vouch for that. “The whole reason for us putting the event (First Night New Year’s Eve) together years ago is that there really wasn’t a lot of opportunity for families to come together on New Year’s. Most of the events out there are for adults and don’t begin or end at an early enough hour to accommodate the younger family.”
So the Panorama Centre created a celebration, now in its eighth year, jam-packed with fun activities for the whole family – children most definitely welcome.
“It gets people out and brings the whole family together,” says Lisa. “And we get a lot of couples, not necessarily grandparents, but grandparent age, so we get a whole kind of mix of couples as well.”
With most activities geared for younger children, skating, swimming, and XBOX Kinect on their giant 16 foot inflatable screen will entertain the teens in your family too. And with Mama Rosie’s Kitchen on-site, dinner’s a snap – no cooking or dishes to clean up after.
The festivities start at 5:00 p.m. and end around 9:00 p.m. with fireworks, early enough that young kids can enjoy the pyrotechnic excitement too, and parents can still celebrate adult events after tucking in their tuckered out kids.
An annual activity pass to the Panorama includes a ticket for the event, but pick up your ticket early. The event is so popular it’s likely to be a sell-out and the price goes up on the 31st.
You can find out more by calling the Panorama at 250 656-7271 or visit their website at www.panoramarecreation.ca.
Happy New Year!
by Dr. Natasha Caverley, Citizen Journalist
With all the yoga classes popping up on the peninsula, you might think this was the Santa Cruz of the north. Everyone seems to be trundling off to their local class with mat in hand.
For the Peninsula Yoga Centre Society (PenYoga), however, this is old hat.
Founded in 2003, PenYoga is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The PenYoga studio located at the Mary Winspear Centre is a place where students of all skill levels and abilities on the Saanich Peninsula come together to practice the Iyengar method of yoga.
For Glenda Hingley, PenYoga Co-founder and Teacher, the PenYoga studio is “my yoga ‘home’ where I go to learn, teach, rejuvenate and be with friends.”
Nancy Searing, PenYoga Teacher and Student of Iyengar yoga for 20 years, describes it as a “practical, common sense method that, with practice, reveals the connection of body to mind, mind to spirit and supports practitioners to reach their fullest potential.”
Through the teachings of Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, this method of yoga focuses on the alert practice, direction and alignment of carefully sequenced and timed movements that actively engage the mind, body and soul.
Led by Iyengar certified teachers, PenYoga students commence their practices by chanting the Invocation to Pantanjali (Pantanjali is the author of the Yoga Sutras—one of the classical yoga philosophy texts). From there, PenYoga teachers work with students to blend pranayama (the regulation of one’s breathing) with the practice of asana (poses) utilizing props such as wooden blocks, chairs, belts, blankets and ropes to perfect their yoga techniques.
Linda Larson, PenYoga Registrar and teacher adds that “Iyengar yoga is for ‘every body’, adaptations can be carried out (during classes) to suit the particular challenges presented by various bodies.”
The use of props, including the popular rope wall, provides the necessary support and enhanced awareness to students regardless of physical, mental and/or emotional ability.
For students such as Heather Neville (PenYoga beginner student—practicing yoga for one year) and Paula Smith (PenYoga intermediate student—practicing yoga for 12 years), they see the effects of Iyengar yoga practice in their daily life. Heather is recovering from cancer treatments and finds that “my (Iyengar) yoga class helped me cope with life much better physically and mentally.”
Paula originally attended Iyengar yoga classes to aid in her recovery from a serious motor vehicle accident. She soon realized that, through regular practice, she continues to “stay strong, healthy and centered….I have not found another style of yoga that has the same level of instruction and attention to detail.”
According to Marlene Miller, PenYoga Co-Founder/Board Chair/Teacher, “the known benefits of practicing Iyengar yoga are numerous—from experiencing wonderful physical and mental stability and health through to understanding and realizing one’s potential and the spiritual profundity of living.”
At PenYoga, eight types of classes are currently being offered that include Level 1 (Introductory), Level 2/3 (Intermediate/Advanced), and specialty classes such as 55+ (a class for students 55 years of age and older), Specific Needs (a dedicated class for students with specific medical challenges) and Men Only. PenYoga also offers three introductory level classes taught by PenYoga teachers at the Central Saanich Cultural Centre on Clark Road in Brentwood Bay.
For the Fall 2013 session (September—December 2013), 130 students are participating in classes at the PenYoga Mary Winspear Centre studio while 11 students are engaging in introductory level classes at the Brentwood Bay satellite location. During Summer 2013, PenYoga offered an unlimited pass for students wanting to participate in July and August 2013 classes. Seventy-two students purchased the unlimited pass affording them the opportunity to participate in as many classes as they wanted over the summer.
Miller states that “…inspiring new students and maintaining the high quality of Iyengar Yoga teaching on the Peninsula” have been challenges experienced by PenYoga over the past 10 years. Looking ahead, Miller, the Board of Directors and Teachers are optimistic about the next 10 years at PenYoga—collectively wanting to achieve the goals of “developing Iyengar Yoga students and continuing to operate an exemplary yoga studio on the Peninsula.”
by Ed Johnson, Citizen Journalist
At first glance when you enter Carnivore, it seems like just another butcher shop. Located in Trafalgar Square in Brentwood Bay next to the government liquor store, glass counters are brimming full of various cuts of beef, pork, and lamb. Upon closer inspection, however, you notice there are no packaged meats in styrofoam trays. A customer explains, “I like all the meat without the packaging and styrofoam you get in the supermarket, and you can get what you want.”
But lets go behind the counter and see what the real story is. The ‘meatmeister’ Morgan Westover, 35, is hard at work stuffing sausages for the day’s sales. “We pride ourselves on selling virtually all local products, and by that I mean, island grown and fresh. Food security for the island is important to us. For instance our beef is grass fed from the Cowichan valley.“
Meat aficionados know that the best beef is grown and finished on grass, unlike factory farms where animals are on an exclusive diet of grains. “We also have three qualities of ground beef from extra lean 10 percent, lean 18 percent, to regular at 30 percent fat, so you know what you are getting,” he adds.
“Our specialty is hand made sausage,” Morgan boasts. All of the sausages are gluten-free and made in-house with only spices and muscle meat- no offals or byproducts. There are no pre-made binders or spices from chemical companies that are frequently found in commercial preparations.
“This is the first time in my career of ten years that I have been able to do this. We have unlimited varieties of dinner size sausage, such as beef and onion, hot and mild Italian, “Brentwood Bay Beef”, chorizo, apple cinnamon, bratwurst, sage and onion breakfast, and even chicken, apple and sage – and we will also make them up to your recipe, too,” he explains.
A customer chimes in. “The sausage you make here is first class, I am in here to buy more” And buy more they do. After being open only several days with little advertising, owner Ian MacDonald is pleased with the response. “We have been busier than we thought we would be, and I have had to hire more help. Coming soon is our full-production kitchen so that we can offer meat pies, sausage rolls, haggis”…the list goes on.
Brentwood Bay carnivores never had it so good.