FALL 2019 / ISSUE 14 / FREE
TIPTOEING THROUGH A TINDERBOX | LITTLE LIBRARIES, PORTABLE MAGIC
LET IT FLY | FLOURISHING THROUGH FRIENDSHIP | COOPERATIVE COMMUNITY
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Monica Karaba Dan Mills Jeff Pew
08 TIPTOEING THROUGH A TINDER BOX
16 LITTLE LIBRARIES, PORTABLE MAGIC
18 WHATâ€™S IMPORTANT AT THE END OF THE DAY
26 FLOURISHING THROUGH FRIENDSHIP
30 LET IT FLY
32 COOPERATIVE COMMUNITY
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J OF F
ER R IVER LI S
2nd forest fire
3450 M SYLVAN PASS
saved by artifical orange juice! WH
Height of the Rockies Provincial Park
IL VE TE RI R T R A HI
17KM / 4,438 feet elevation gain Exploring 2nd day 1st forest fire
RUSSEL PEAK 2993 M
Through a Tinderbox W & P: DAN MILLS | MAP: ASHLEY DODD
I pause to catch my breath and hear shouting coming from farther up the trail. In my heat-addled state, I don’t immediately recognize the sound of my hiking companion’s voice, but then I realize it’s Harland and he’s talking to the bears again. His voice, raised to compete with the rushing turbulence of Joffre Creek, comes back to me through the trees. “Hey bear. Comin’ through. Hey bear.”
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AN ADMITTEDLY SHALLOW CONVERSATION but not one that should be mistaken for frivolous chatter. It is instead Harland’s attempt to negotiate our safe passage through some decidedly dangerous territory. After all, if there are any grumpy grizzlies out there, we certainly don’t want to annoy them by stumbling in unannounced and uninvited.
At this point of the adventure, the best I could manage would be a very convincing act of playing dead. Harland continues to call out, but whether the bears hear him or not is hard to say because—luckily for us—they never do answer back. The one-sidedness of the conversation pleases me a great deal as I am no longer physically or emotionally prepared to deal with an aggressive bear encounter. Suffering from the symptoms of heat exhaustion, for me there would be no valiant stand against tooth and claw, nor any mad dash for safety. Nope, fight or flight was out of the question. At this point of the adventure, the best I could manage would be a very convincing act of playing dead. As I again begin to stagger up the trail towards the voice, I find myself reflecting on a quote attributed to the renowned arctic explorer Vilhjalrnur Stefansson. Apparently, this tough-as-nails northern traveler had little patience for those of us who suffer
misfortune in the wilderness. “Adventures,” he said, “are a sign of incompetence.” This from a guy who, despite his years of experience and all his meticulous planning, was still forced to flee polar bears on a fairly regular basis. The fact is there is no way for a person heading out into the bush to prepare for absolutely every possible eventuality. I mean, I had trained hard for this hike. I had taken every precaution to deal with the heat—drinking volumes of water, eating high-energy food, even making sure all the heavy stuff was in Harland’s pack—but still, I succumbed. I only hoped that my always competent hiking companion was more prepared than me and had the foresight to bring a shovel. That way he could just bury me here and be spared the unenviable task of dragging my sun-bloated body back down this bloody mountain. When I eventually catch up to Harland, I find him annoyingly cheerful. Though he is flushed and his sweat-soaked shirt is plastered to his skin, he is still smiling way too much for my liking. “How ya doin’?” he asks. I resist the urge to throw something at him. Sitting around the kitchen table looking at the map, it had looked so easy. Drive up the Palliser River to the trailhead, park the truck at the boundary to Height of the Rockies Provincial Park, and then hike up Joffre Creek to Sylvan Pass. From there climb the pass, look down on the headwaters of the White River, then continue to the rugged and desolate beauty of Limestone Lakes. Piece of cake, right? Well, as it turns out, carrying a 45-pound pack for 17 kilometres up a trail that gains 4,438 feet in elevation is tougher than you would think. And trying to do it all in one day when the temperatures exceed 34 degrees Celsius is, well, just silly.
Well, as it turns out, carrying a 45-pound pack for 17 kilometres up a trail that gains 4,438 feet in elevation is tougher than you would think.
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When we reach the picturesque alpine meadows below Sylvan Pass, I unbuckle my too-heavy pack and allow it to slip from my shoulders. It crashes to the ground and I immediately do the same. If I had my way I wouldn’t take another step. I would find some way to convince Harland that we should camp here and hike to Limestone Lakes in the morning, but it is no use. There is no water here. The creek that is supposed to burble through this meadow is dry now, nothing more than a ditch filled with bleached white rocks. It’s as if the heat wants to suck the very life out of the world and it won’t be satisfied until everything—including my motivation—has evaporated.
It’s as if the heat wants to suck the very life out of the world and it won’t be satisfied until everything–including my motivation–has evaporated.
Strangely chilled, I put my fleece jacket on and lay down amongst the wilting wild flowers. Almost immediately, I find myself drifting off toward sleep, but just before I do I hear the sound of Harland’s footsteps fading back down the trail to where we last saw water. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my hiking partner’s selflessness. Hard to believe that only a few kilometres ago, I was quite prepared to throw rocks at the man.
Harland returns a half-hour later with two Nalgene bottles fairly brimming. I add a package of Tang crystals and chug the sweetness down. I‘m not sure whether it’s the orange juice or the nap, but I feel much stronger. We shoulder our packs and begin the climb up into Sylvan Pass. Limestone Lakes or bust. Now running on that high-octane mixture of pride and imitation orange juice, I am able to catch up to Harland, just below the crest of Sylvan Pass. Together we stride to the top and look down into the alpine wonderland that is the headwaters of the White River. The view, as expected, is extraordinary. Steep green slopes fall away from the massive shoulders of Mount Joffre’s 11,000 feet, into a lush basin rimmed with nearly vertical peaks. In the centre of that glen we can just make out a faint white line that leads south. Another dry creek bed.
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I am still searching the meadows below for the slightest sign of a trickle, where a fella might fill his water bottle, when Harland taps me on the shoulder and points further down the valley. There, silently drifting up through the trees of the eastern slope, are two columns of smoke. It seems that the heat is doing more than just drying up streams. We watch for a few minutes, trying to decide what kind of threat this forest fire poses to a couple of weary hikers. It is several kilometres away and seems to be heading east toward Deep Lake and away from our proposed destination. Besides, if it keeps burning in the direction it is going, it will eventually hit the rocks and run out of fuel. All this prognostication rings a little hollow to us however. Both Harland and I were well aware that they didn’t call these things wildfires because they’re so darn predictable. Usually, when we hikers imagine being confronted by the savage malevolence of the wilderness, we picture some large, pointytoothed critter bearing down on us. Since the day we first laced on a pair of boots, we have prepared for this eventuality: taught to back away slowly, not to make eye contact, and always make sure the safety is off the bear spray. None of these actions however, seem to properly address our current concerns about what to do when faced with an approaching forest fire. The only thing Harland and I both agree on, is that playing dead is definitely not an appropriate course of action.
By the time we descend to the water’s edge, the warmth of the sunset has long since faded. Talking only a little but smiling a lot, Harland and I put up the tent in the half-light while a nearly full moon rises in the southeast. Appearing nearly crimson through the smoke, the red-faced Luna looks down as two tired men make camp in her eerie light. We awake the next day to find almost no smoke rising from where the fire had been. Buoyed by this turn of events we eat a leisurely breakfast and then set out to explore the unique beauty of our surroundings. For nearly six hours we wander about through rock gardens, wondering at the waterfalls, and swimming breathless in glacial lakes; only returning to camp when our bellies tell us to.
The obvious choice here is to run away. Unfortunately, it is twelve long, dry kilometres back to the truck and only five to Limestone Lakes, where the sanctuary of being above the tree line and the promise of water await us. We have to push on; we are simply too tired to go back.
Both Harland and I were well aware that they didn’t call these things wildfires because they’re so darn predictable.
, sun the
The colou ro f
Heading west, we traverse the top of the ridge that leads up from Sylvan Pass, then turn and descend down to the Limestone Plateau—a desolate, four-kilometre stretch of glacier-worn rock that is both eerie and beautiful. Climbing up off this moonscape, we ascend one more long ridge and then, still heading south, find ourselves looking down into the promised land. Limestone Lakes, tinted with the reflected colours of a dying day.
With a huge fire behind us and now another in front, it is obvious paradise is done hinting around. We have overstayed our welcome. She wants us gone.
It is on our approach to camp that we see the monster has not only come back from the dead but has grown immensely. A huge pyro nimbus cloud of smoke rises threateningly in the east. Suddenly paradise seems much less hospitable. After a not-so-sound sleep, we pack up and head for home. It is only after we have put over 10 kilometres between ourselves and the fire that Harland and I allow ourselves to relax. Though the air is heavy with smoke, I find myself beginning to think less about the tinderbox we were tiptoeing through and more about the beverages cooling back in the creek by the truck. Then I hear a sound not unlike the rushing roar of a waterfall, which is odd, as the stream is a ways off. After another half-dozen steps, the trees open up to my left and I can now see the ridge opposite. It is on fire. A blaze races up its slope and one tree after another, erupts into flame.
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With a huge fire behind us and now another in front, it is obvious paradise is done hinting around. We have overstayed our welcome. She wants us gone. An hour later we stagger from the bush, out of breath and glad to have the vehicle in sight. Still moving at a ragged jog, I apprehensively glance over my shoulder at the mountainside, now enveloped in smoke and flames. The scene has an overwhelming, primal wildness to it. A wildness without tooth or claw, but a beast just the same.
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ON A TRIP OVERSEAS two years ago, Shellie Hollister noticed an interesting phenomenon as she traveled throughout Ireland and Italy. It seemed that everywhere she went, even in remote areas, she would discover (much to her book-loving heartâ€™s delight) the presence of little sharing libraries dotting the landscape. This phenomenon wasnâ€™t relegated to Europe or rural areas either. During a later trip to New York City, Shellie again noticed an amaz-
ing plethora of little free libraries. She spotted one and sometimes two on almost every block, even in downtown Manhattan! She marveled and took mental notes of all the creative ways people had set up and personalized these inviting treasure troves. Some of the libraries were simple matter-of-fact boxes, while others were colourfully and whimsically presented. Some featured more elaborate designs like the ones tucked into park alcoves with welcoming benches and protective roofs.
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Shellie came back to her hometown of Cranbrook inspired to find a way to bring this novel (pun intended) idea to the mountains. Luckily, not only did Shellie have the enthusiasm to initiate her plan, she also had one of the best platforms from which to launch. It just so happens that Shellie holds the role of Public Outreach Coordinator for Cranbrook Public Library, a position she’s held since 2013 when she was brought on board to establish an endowment fund for the Library. Shellie hit the ground running and within four short months had the endowment program rolled out, so she was next set loose on managing the adult and senior outreach programs. You may have noticed an increase in the variety of library program offerings or even attended one of the library’s bi-annual fundraising markets which Shellie coordinates. Shellie first introduced her little libraries vision for the East Kootenays on social media in August 2018. Before she knew it, her post hit an astonishing 7,000 views, which was all the confirmation she needed to take the next steps to “bring the library to the community and the community to the library.” Shellie says that once word got out people immediately committed to helping before knowing fully what would be involved. “The community spirit and enthusiasm around this has been unbelievable,” she shared. “I was blown away at the response and generosity of everyone, which makes this whole project even more exciting.” The plan calls for 100 sharing libraries to be distributed throughout Cranbrook and the surrounding area. Home Hardware jumped on board as a main sponsor and generously donated the lumber and building supplies, while Cranbrook Glass contributed custom plexiglass windows to be incorporated into the design. Each library costs about $80 to make, but thanks to the sponsors, those who sign up to attend the workshops and install a little library will pay just $25. Additionally, they’ll receive a Home Hardware coupon to go towards paint and any finishing touches they might wish to add to personalize their installations.
The first little library event held in June was a huge success with 25 libraries finding their forever homes. Some of these will be placed at local businesses and campgrounds as well as residences throughout the area. Fifty more libraries will be distributed in August, with the remaining 25 at a later date. At the next workshops, recipients will have the choice of either a pre-assembled library ready to decorate and customize, or else they can opt for an unassembled kit to allow the full experience of building a sharing library with family and friends at home. “It’s such a fun way to share with each other, and hopefully we’ll inspire others to do the same.” Shellie explained. “We’ve already had people coming in with donations specifically for the sharing libraries, and two people even left books for this project in their estates.” As an exciting twist to the program, all little library project participants are being invited to participate in a decorating contest and submit their painted, finished versions within 30 days. After all 100 libraries have been claimed, decorated, and installed, there will be a contest for the top three. “We’re really excited about the grand finale where we’ll reveal who won based on an online poll and the decision of our local judges Kenny Bridge and Jeannie Argatoff. And we have some really great prizes to give out!” Shellie exclaimed enticingly.
"Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading." — Rainer Maria Rilke Before our interview was over, Shellie reiterated her immense gratitude and awe for the amazing people of Cranbrook: “Thank you to everyone who has committed to getting these free libraries set up all over our region. This is such a great way to promote literacy, reading, and community spirit!”
For more information on the little libraries project or other upcoming events, please visit the Cranbrook Public Library’s website or Facebook page. To register for the next little libraries workshop, please call 250.426.4063 or stop by the Library.
Brian Clarkson and the Cranbrook/ Kimberley Hospice Society W & P | Jeff Pew
Under a gazebo in Brian Clarkson’s backyard is a pitcher of ice water with sliced limes and a plate of cheese and crackers. His next-door neighbour’s limbing a tree with a chainsaw. Clarkson, 70, laughs, then apologizes about the noise, before describing what it’s like to support someone who’s dying. He smiles, then gets teary-eyed recounting the stories of courage and dignity he’s witnessed during his seven years as a Cranbrook/Kimberley Hospice Society volunteer.
Nola Doiron “They’re all so personal,” Clarkson says, referring to the relationships he’s formed during his tenure with hospice. Many of his clients, which is a word he doesn’t like to use, are friends he’s met during his 40 years as a photographer and owner of Cranbrook Photo. He gets choked up when he begins to tell the story of Nola Doiron, who he’d known as a friend for 35 years. In 2015, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. After surviving a 14-hour surgery, remission, then the cancer relapsing, she struggled to manage her symptoms and pain and decided to undergo MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying).
At 11 o’clock, they went upstairs to meet fifteen people gathered in the living room. They began the slideshow that begins with Nola’s voice:
“She’d chosen the date,” Clarkson says. “We put together a slide show about her life and loves. I went up to her place at 5 pm the day before she died and then Nola, her wife Lindsay Merkel, and I watched the slideshow, clinging to each other, shedding a few tears.
“It was a surreal and profound experience,” Clarkson recalls. “When it was over, Nola got up and hugged everyone goodbye. She told them how much she loves them. Then, accompanied by her love Lindsay, a nurse, and a doctor, she walked to her room and closed the door. Twenty minutes later, the doctor came out and said, ‘Nola’s gone.’ A year later, on the anniversary of Nola’s passing, we hiked up to her favourite spot and made snow angels.”
The next day, I arrived at their house at nine in the morning. “She’s waiting downstairs for you,” Merkel said. “I walked downstairs and there she was, finishing off her paintings,” Clarkson recalls, then gets quiet for a moment. “She’s going to pass in two hours and thought it was important to finish her paintings. How dignified is that?”
“Well, hello there. My name’s Nola. I want to read this to you because I want you to remember this motto to live by: Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body. But, rather, to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, worn out and screaming, ‘Woo hoo! What a ride!’”
“Brian’s one of the most compassionate, caring men I know,” Merkel says. “He was an amazing source of love, light and support for Nola and myself during the last eight months of her life, plus he continues to do all those things for me as I grieve her loss. The Cranbrook/Kimberley Hospice is so fortunate to have him.”
LINDSAY MERKEL WITH HER LOVE NOLA DOIRON
BRIAN CLARKSON VISITING EDWIN UNGER
“I get very involved. I don’t know anything about family politics, medicine or finances. I’m there for their heart. Just to be with them.”
Edwin Unger Edwin Unger holds Brian Clarkson’s wrist like an old friend. The 83-year-old ex-barber from Grandview, Manitoba, who strummed Merle Haggard and George Jones’ tunes at weddings, asks Clarkson to pass him some chewing tobacco. “Your lunch is here,” Clarkson says laughing, then helps him remove his wristwatch. Clarkson recalls one of the first visits he had with Unger, who had been diagnosed with cancer and degenerative blindness. A guitar case sat in the corner of Unger’s room. He asked Brian if he’d pass the guitar to him. “I just want to feel it,” Unger said, then rubbed his hand along the neck and began crying. Clarkson’s been visiting Unger every week for the last six years. “It can get lonely around here,” Unger says referring to the extended care home he’s lived in for the last two years.
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“Brian’s given my dad the greatest gift of all,” Unger’s daughter, Edwina Peacosh, says, “his time, love, and concern. He offers a hand to hold and a heart that understands.” It comes as great relief to Peacosh who visits with her dad and feeds him dinner every night. Clarkson sprays water on Unger’s hair and gently brushes it. “We used to go for walks when Ed was in a wheelchair,” Clarkson says, “but that’s pretty tough now.” “You chased me like a dog,” Unger roars then they both start laughing. “I’m gonna mix this up a bit,” Clarkson murmurs, then holds a forkful of chicken, peas, and potatoes under Unger’s lips and waits for him to take a bite.
“We haven’t put enough emphasis on learning about dying. It’s another stage of life. Hospice is such a natural part of our living and dying.”
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“Everybody has a story,” Janyce Bampton, Executive Director of the Cranbrook/ Kimberley Hospice Society, says. “The sad thing is we often don’t hear them until the obituary and funerals. At hospice, we get people’s life stories early. We’re good listeners.” Bampton believes education and awareness is an essential hospice goal. “Hospice isn’t just about people dying,” she says. “It’s about end-of-life care, whether it’s now, or when we’re 90. We haven’t put enough emphasis on learning about dying. It’s another stage of life. Hospice is such a natural part of our living and dying.” Currently, there are 36 Cranbrook/Kimberley Hospice volunteers. “I definitely need more,” Bampton says. “A lot of our volunteers are seniors. Since January, we’ve had 22 new clients, and 14 of them have died. Families are calling us for immediate support.” Bampton believes the biggest obstacle to recruiting volunteers is fear. “There’s something people fear about getting involved,” she says. “Perhaps, it’s their fear of the unknown or of coming faceto-face with their own mortality. Many people who take hospice training deal with their loss for the first time, getting in touch with their own grief. Everybody has the ability to do this work. It’s just getting past the fear.”
Clarkson felt naturally suited for the role shortly after he took the hospice training course. “I become a friend,” he says with respect to his hospice relationships. “I get very involved. I don’t know anything about family politics, medicine or finances. I’m there for their heart. Just to be with them. To walk with them. To have a shoulder to lean on. I don’t take it lightly. I’ve witnessed incredible acts of courage. It’s such sacred ground. It’s an absolute privilege and honour to do this work.” “He’s got an incredible lightness that follows him,” Bampton says about Clarkson. “He’s got empathy and compassion and an ability to tell stories about his experiences. He’s a great mentor. I said to Brian, ‘If you’re around at the end, I hope you can see me through.’” “My hospice work puts everything in perspective,” Clarkson says. “What’s important at the end of the day might look really different from what we’ve aspired to. Everything else is cast aside.” To learn more about the Cranbrook/Kimberley Hospice Society, please visit the website at https://www.ckhospice. com/home.
Brian Clarkson’s Advice for Living one Treat others as you would like to be treated. With few exceptions, this has provided much gold in my life.
two ‘Luck favours the prepared mind.’ This quote by Louis Pasteur is my favourite quote. Whether working with hospice or my craft of photography, this has always served me well.
three Hold hands. From childhood on, we must watch out for each other. After all, we’re family.
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WALKING IN THE FRONT DOOR of the spacious building that houses Cranbrook’s location of Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, I’m immediately struck by how warm and friendly the space feels. Bright pops of colour are vibrant beneath high ceilings and in the sunlight streaming in from large windows; to my right a young boy plays contentedly with a few of the many toys scattered on the clean carpet. The room is quiet but welcoming. I head downstairs to the office that Big Brothers Big Sisters operates out of and am met by Jordan MacDonald, the program coordinator. Jordan—who is youthful, vibrant, and incredibly kind—organizes and runs the chapter’s local initiatives as the sole staff member at the Cranbrook satellite office. She explains to me how in January of this year, the Cranbrook, Kelowna, and Kamloops offices of Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada officially merged to become the Central Southern British Columbia branch of the nationwide organization. “It’s definitely strength-
ened us,” Jordan tells me, “because we have more resources and support. It’s been really great.” Big Brothers Big Sisters is, of course, a household name across the continent. What began in 1904 in New York as Big Brothers—as a means of providing guidance and leadership to at-risk young men—successfully evolved into a nationwide organization that eventually spread its influence north of the border. Big Brothers was officially founded in Canada in 1913, and in 2001
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it merged with Big Sisters of Canada to create its current iteration. Throughout its history and across North America, the organization’s mandate has been to provide support, mentorship, and friendship to children and youth; and now it boasts over a century of success in doing so. Inevitably, though, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada has gone through profound changes over the years, and its current form is a reflection of incredible enhancements being made while still remaining true to its original core values. “Some of its systems and programs became archaic,” Jordan explains to me, “so the organization has shifted tremendously.” One of the most monumental of these changes is programs now being run through schools, rather than through the community, as had been the case until January 2019. This switch to mentorship being offered within the structure of public schools, Jordan explains to me, “helps us reach and serve even more kids.”
All the programs facilitated by Big Brothers Big Sisters put a special emphasis on mentees being heard, understood, and encouraged as they navigate their world and grow into the healthiest versions of themselves. There are two types of programs that Big Brothers Big Sisters offers: one-on-one mentorship and group mentorship. The former, which relies on the compassion and service of dedicated volunteers, is run through Steeples Elementary School. Group programs, on the other hand, take place at all elementary schools in Cranbrook and are run solely by staff—which, locally, means Jordan herself, along with occasional assistance from College of the Rockies practicum students who are obtaining their human services diploma.
The mentees served are all between grades one and six, and each program’s focus is on nurturing well-rounded education and healthy development through a hands-on approach. For example, one group program focuses on social and emotional learning strategies, so that young people can learn how to understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve meaningful goals, and practice a positive mindset and loving self-awareness. These are no small feat, but—having been well-researched and founded in the tenets of positive psychology—are tools that the kids will carry with them and utilize well into their adulthood. “It’s one of my favourite programs we offer,” Jordan says with a smile. The sessions teach kids about the basics of neuroscience and how it can empower them to be their most empathetic and positive selves. “It has a lot to do with mindfulness,” Jordan explains, “and it encourages kids to use and share what they learn.” The sessions are based on an initiative called Mind Up, which isn’t solely a Big Brothers Big Sisters program, but is based on an international learning system founded by the Goldie Hawn Foundation and is something that any school or group can offer. “Another group program we offer is called Go Girls!” Jordan explains, “and is just for girls between the ages of 12 and 14, which can be a vulnerable and crucial time for them.” The program focuses on physical activity, healthy and lasting self-esteem, and compassionate communication skills: a foundational roster of gifts that will continue to serve these girls as they grow into their fullest potential.
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Aside from these knowledge-packed and action-based group programs, Big Brothers Big Sisters also offers its classic oneon-one mentorship. The aim of these relationships—which are long-term and continually evolving—is to offer sincere friendship to young people, so that they can feel understood and supported during their day-to-day lives. The role of the mentor is filled in two ways: the first is by volunteers from the community who feel called to offer their kindness to kids. “We have a pretty strict screening process for volunteers,” Jordan explains. The high standards involved ensure that mentees are receiving the most compassionate and mature guidance available to them.
The connection formed is one that will leave a lasting impression on a child and teaches them the foundations of how to nurture and sustain healthy, loving relationships –including with themselves.
Additionally, mentees are partnered up with local teenagers from the high school. Jordan tells me how happily each party takes to their role: “The teens are really responsible and mature and love doing it. And the kids light up when they see their mentor! It’s so great to see.” Mentees and mentors meet for one hour, once a week, and often take part in games, sports, or just hanging out and talking. “It’s a way for the mentee to share their experiences and feel listened to,” Jordan explains. Whether it’s in group settings or one-on-one, all the programs facilitated by Big Brothers Big Sisters put a special emphasis on mentees being heard, understood, and encouraged as they navigate their world and grow into the healthiest versions of themselves. While our local chapter is thriving, the staff and volunteers behind it are always welcoming and appreciative of donations and help with fundraising, so that they can expand their initiatives and positively impact even more local families. “We’ve been lucky to have some great community contributions in the past,” Jordan explains. “It’s always a huge help.” If you or your business are interested in supporting the organization’s causes, you can reach out directly to the Central Southern BC chapter through its website. Additionally, Jordan encourages those who feel called to support and assist our community’s youth to apply to be a volunteer. “We can always use more mentors,” she says. The results of mentorship, Jordan makes clear, are deeply rewarding. The connection formed is one that will leave a lasting impression on a child and teaches them the foundations of how to nurture and sustain healthy, loving relationships—including with themselves. “It really gives me faith in humanity,” Jordan says, and I eagerly agree with her. After all, when our community’s young people flourish, so does our future.
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Janis Caldwell Mortgage Specialist Royal Bank of Canada email@example.com mortgage.rbc.com/janis.caldwell Serving East Kootenays of B.C.
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Photo credit: BC Farmers' Market Trail & Anice Wong
Photo credit: BC Farmers' Market Trail & Anice Wong
Let It Fly W: Britt Bates | P: Ben Loggains
If you’ve ever played ball golf before, you’ll probably pick up disc golf pretty quickly. It’s the trendy, Kootenayesque game that’s similar to ball golf, but played with a frisbee instead—and it’s garnered a thriving community around it in Cranbrook. Disc golf−which rumour has it, originated in Canada’s prairies in the 1920s−is experiencing a bit of a moment right now, and with good reason. Its beauty lies in its simplicity: the player who makes their way through the 9− or 18− “hole” course with the fewest number of throws wins the game, similar as in ball golf, except that the holes are posts with attached metal baskets for the disc to land in. The stunning area surrounding us doesn’t hurt the game’s popularity either, as our local courses weave through lush forests that open up to stunning mountain views. Cranbrook is, undoubtedly, a hotbed of disc golf activity. The area boasts three incredible courses, each of which is a valuable addition to the community for its own unique reasons. The
Idlewild 9-hole course is ideal for beginners and kids, while the course built two years ago at the Wycliffe Regional Park is longer, more challenging, and geared towards professional-level games and tournaments. Positioned right in between the two in terms of difficulty, is the course at the College of the Rockies campus, which was the city’s original course and the place that really ignited the local disc golf community. “Having great courses is a big part of the reason why Cranbrook is a hub for the sport,” Ben Loggains explains to me. Ben is a disc golf enthusiast and key player in the local scene: he helps secure funding for new courses to be built−often through Columbia Basin Trust, as well as organizes games
throughout the Kootenays through his involvement with the East Kootenay Disc Golf Association. “I’ve been travelling and playing in tournaments since 2006,” he says casually. He’s being modest: Ben actually won the provincial championship in 2018. Ben tells me about another local disc golf star: Cranbrook’s Casey Hanemayer, who travels internationally playing in disc golf tournaments as his full-time job. Ben tells me how the two of them met casually during a game six or seven years ago, and Ben “realized how good Casey was,” he says, “so I encouraged him to take part in tourneys. He quickly understood how competitive he is, and now he’s winning tournaments regularly.” Hanemayer recently won the world championships in Vermont and the Canadian Nationals in PEI last year.
“It opens up so much creativity. It’s a lifetime of learning: how to throw, how the disc interacts.”
Despite the competitive nature of the sport, the local disc golf scene is marked by the same casual and laid-back attitude that had the two men randomly make friends on a course one summer day. “It’s really laid back and fun,” Ben says. “I can sit on a bench and wait for someone to come by, then play a game with them.” That focus on fun and friendliness is possibly what draws people to the sport in such droves, especially lately. “It’s kind of exploded in the last two or three years,” Ben says. “There’s such a positive vibe, and so many people are interested in stepping up and showing leadership. And everyone is so supportive of what everyone else is doing.” That easygoing support allows people to bring new ideas to the community, such as upgrades to local courses. Thankfully, disc golf courses are low maintenance, so a huge amount of organization isn’t required. The upkeep that does get done, however, such as keeping the courses clean and free of litter is done entirely by volunteers, showcasing the community’s avid involvement in the sport. Ben explains to me how the game can either be relaxed—“you just throw a frisbee,” he says casually and happily—or a little more involved, depending on how seriously the player wants to take the game. You can have a full roster of different types of discs, with drivers, putters, and everything in between, or you can find success and fun with just one simple disc.
Whichever route you choose, Funhogz Gear Exchange in Cranbrook has a wide range of discs for sale, and every staff member is knowledgeable about the sport and able to help you choose the one that’s best for you. Once you’ve selected your tools of the trade, it’s easy to get involved in the golf community: simply pop into the Cranbrook Disc Golf Facebook page to find someone to play a game with, or head over to one of the courses and simply throw some frisbees. “There are so many ways to make the disc fly. You can make it bend to the right or the left to find a route through the trees,” Ben explains excitedly. “It opens up so much creativity. It’s a lifetime of learning: how to throw, how the disc interacts.” Ben pauses for a moment when I ask him what he loves most about the sport, before speaking emphatically. “I just love watching the disc fly.”
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Cooperative Community W: Monica Karaba P: Meadowsweet Photography Longtime residents and friends Tamara Mercandelli and Christel Hagn bonded over food. Not just their love of food, but their deep passion for sustainable, local, organic food. Noticing an absence in Cranbrook, they joined forces to start a food-buying club. They even went in together on a share in a herd of cattle.
“We’re all from here. This is Cranbrook through and through. We committed ourselves to creating and having what we were passionate about right here.” ~ Tamara, Christel, and Caitlin ~
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The two women kept running into each other at farmer’s markets and tossing around more ideas. One idea was to create a food hub as a way to help small farms and suppliers come together with customers who would appreciate their offerings. The busy moms decided that if they had one more person who shared their vision that they might be able to pull it off. Christel knew immediately who to ask, Caitlin Berkhiem. Two years later, the three friends’ vision blossomed into an address on Baker Street. Soulfood opened as a fresh, locally-produced and sourced bakery and café. And in case you’re wondering, the name “Soul” also conveys the mission and philosophy−Sustainable, Organic, Upbeat, and Local!
What also fuels the collaboration among everyone is being part of a cooperative business structure.
Almost immediately, this burgeoning hot spot turned into much more−becoming a favourite restaurant, art and music space, and gathering place. It was also the first in the area to promote “suspended coffees,” which is where someone pays for an additional coffee or food item which will go later to someone in need. While they loved what they had created, it was soon apparent that the space was not large enough or equipped with all that was needed for the three friends’ full vision of a flourishing food and community hub to live up to its full potential, so they started dreaming again. This time, they imagined a brick heritage building with lots of character and plenty of room for a variety of settings and people. Ideally, the Mt. Baker Heritage Hotel. Not long after, they received a call. The new owner of the Mt. Baker invited them to take over the bottom floor. The women were exhilarated and gave notice on their existing location. As they excitedly dove into renovations at their new address, a series of obstacles presented themselves one after another. There were lease requirements that they
couldn’t fulfill, and a promised loan fell through. The kitchen was not up to par, and finally, there was the threat of asbestos. What should have been two months of renovations ended up taking six. The women ran out of savings, lost their chef, and had to lay everyone off. Just as they were about to throw in the towel amidst extreme exhaustion and disappointment, they began to learn just how much the community valued what they had created. One customer approached them in tears asking, “How much do you need?” Christel recalled, “We really needed help, but it was also embarrassing to put our failure out there to everyone. It was a hard time for us.” They decided it was worth a shot, however, so Tamara, Christel, and Caitlin held a meeting, inviting anyone who could help with at least $5,000 to join their cooperative. “We were upfront that we weren’t even sure how or when we would be able to repay everyone−that this was an extremely risky venture and there was a chance they could lose their investment, and still, people were so excited and committed.” Tamara shared.
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Six months later, the space has been completely transformed, revitalizing an empty corner in a key section of town. “We brought new life to this amazing building that a lot of people have history with,” Christel explained. There is a vibrancy and buzz but at the same time an unassuming spaciousness and charm in the new Soulfood. It is evident how much thought and care has gone into every detail. From the logs over the bar taken from Christel’s property, to the vintage bar stools from the former Mt. Baker, to bricks from the original Cranbrook brick factory, to the luxurious leather couches from Caitlin’s own living room, every item means something and has a story. “We really want you to feel something here.” Tamara shared. “We want it to be a whole body experience. Of course, you will be nourished by the food, but you will also be soothed by the beauty and comfort around you. There is nothing neutral here!” Apparently, many who work with Tamara, Christel, and Caitlin also have deep feelings about being a part of this unique family. 60% of the original staff came back
“WE REALLY WANT YOU TO FEEL SOMETHING HERE. WE WANT IT TO BE A WHOLE BODY EXPERIENCE.”
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“WE LIKE TO GO WITH LOCAL PROVIDERS EVEN IF IT COSTS A BIT MORE OR MEANS MORE WORK TO MANAGE AND MORE VARIANCE IN OUR SUPPLY.”
when they re-opened this spring, the majority of whom are up-and-coming young professionals with a lot of passion and energy to contribute. They employ four pastry chefs and Caitlin has developed one of her own specialties, making sodas, into the popular Ginger Bug sodas. Tamara expanded upon how each co-op member is invited to contribute their unique talent or gift: “One of our members, Nathan Taron, does all of our sound and books our amazing shows. Music is his passion, so that is what he brings.” What also fuels the collaboration among everyone is being part of a cooperative business structure. Tamara explained, “We wanted this to be a co-op because it was always about more than just the three of us.” Christel and Caitlin nodded in agreement. “It’s about Cranbrook. It’s
36 / FALL 2019 / GO CRANBROOK
about our employees, our customers, and our suppliers. They own it, too.” Christel added “One member equals one vote.” Tamara continued, “And it doesn’t matter if you’ve invested $50,000 or $5,000. More than anything, it’s focused on our employees, who actually have the most seats on the board.” Underlying Soulfood’s mission is its dedication to supporting local food growers and suppliers. “We like to go with local providers even if it costs a bit more or means more work to manage and more variance in our supply.” Tamara explained. “For example, when we give a local supplier a $30,000 meat order for the year, we are really contributing to an entire family’s livelihood which has ripple effects throughout our community.”
Care is given with each item sourced, too, no matter how small. Whether they are garnishing with preserved lemon, hand shaving 30-day aged Alpindon cheese from Creston, or hand massaging fresh kale grown in town, the three co-founders make it a point to work closely with each supplier, allowing everyone to learn and master their crafts together.
“When we give a local supplier a $30,000 meat order for the year, we are really contributing to an entire family’s livelihood which has ripple effects throughout our community.” “Our menu changes all of the time because we are always experimenting and working to improve what we serve. Also, we rely on what’s available seasonally from our local suppliers, so we don’t have unlimited quantities. But it’s also the quirks that keep things interesting!” Tamara explained. When I asked the three busy women who run Soulfood if they felt things were leveling off enough now so that they could relax and coast a bit, they all laughed. “Oh no! We’re not even close to where we want to be.” Caitlin exclaimed. To which Tamara smiled, “There are so many more huge dreams! Our list goes on and on!”
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2019-05-21 3:22 PM
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coming events August Aug 6-Aug 16 | Youth Theatre Camp−Ages 7-10 Key City Theatre | 9 am - 4 pm Aug 10 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market−Entertainment by Atomic Clock | 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 9 am - 1 pm
October Oct 2 | Michael Kaeshammer & His Band | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm Oct 5 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market−Entertainment by Jagur Chung | 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 10 am - 1 pm Oct 5 | The Small Glories | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm Oct 6 | Symphony of the Kootenays: The Fifth | Key City Theatre | 3 pm Oct 7 | Sons of the Pioneers | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm Oct 11-12, 17-20*, 23-26 | “I’ll Be Back before Midnight” by Peter Colley, directed by Landon Elliott | Cranbrook Community Theatre The Studio 11 - 11th Ave., S. | 7:30 pm, *Matinee 2 pm Oct 12 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 10 am - 1 pm Oct 13 | Taste of Thanksgiving | Fort Steele Heritage Town | 10 am - 4 pm Oct 19 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market (Indoors) Ktunaxa Gym, 220 Cranbrook St. N. | 10 am - 1 pm Oct 22 | The Lonesome Ace Stringband | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm
Aug 16 | 4th Annual Chautauqua presented by Cranbrook Community Theatre | The Studio | 11 - 11th Ave., S. | 7 pm
Oct 24 | Burton Cummings–Up Close and Alone Tour Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm
Aug 17 | 6th Annual Cranbrook Multicultural Festival Rotary Park, 100 10th Ave. S., | 10 am - 3 pm
Oct 26 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market (Indoors) Ktunaxa Gym, 220 Cranbrook St. N. | 10 am - 1 pm
Aug 17 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 9 am - 1 pm
Oct 26 | Spooktacular | Fort Steele Heritage Town | TBD
Aug 24 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market−Entertainment by Mismatched Socks | 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 9 am - 1 pm Aug 30-31 | ‘Peak’ Music Festival−Fisher Peak Performing Arts Society | Rotary Park, 100 10th Ave. S., | TBD Aug 31 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market−Entertainment by Pyper Standing | 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 9 am - 1 pm
Oct 26 | The Legendary Downchild Blues Band 50th Anniversary Tour | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm Oct 30 | The Young’uns | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm
November Nov 2 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market Ktunaxa Gym, 220 Cranbrook St. N. | 10 am - 1 pm
Nov 5 | A Simple Space: Gravity and Other Myths Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm
Sept 7 | 6th Annual Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino | 8 am
Nov 9 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market Ktunaxa Gym, 220 Cranbrook St. N. | 10 am - 1 pm
Sept 7 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 10 am - 1 pm
Nov 14 | Arts Club: Bed & Breakfast | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm
Sept 8 | 42nd Annual Kootenay Country Fair Fort Steele Heritage Town | 9 am - 4 pm Sept 14 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market−Entertainment by Keith Larsen | 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 10 am - 1 pm Sept 17 | Music of the Night: The Concert Tour−Celebrating Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 70th | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm Sept 21 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market−Entertainment by Deep Cedar | 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 10 am - 1 pm Sept 28 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market−Entertainment by Jaydlyn Chung | 10th Ave., S., by Rotary Park | 10 am - 1 pm Sept 28 | An Evening in Monte Carlo−Bridge Interiors | Fundraiser for East Kootenay Foundation for Health | 125 Slater Rd, NW | 7 pm Sept 28 | PIGS: Canada’s Pink Floyd Tribute Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm
Nov 16 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market Ktunaxa Gym, 220 Cranbrook St. N. | 10 am - 1 pm Nov 16 | Colin Linden | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm Nov 23 | Cranbrook Farmer’s Market Ktunaxa Gym, 220 Cranbrook St. N. | 10 am - 1 pm Nov 24 | The Huron Carole | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm Nov 27 | Ballet Kelowna: Mambo & Others | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm Nov 30 | Special Winter Farmer’s Market 1114 Baker St. (tentative) | 1 -7 pm Nov 30 | Symphony of the Kootenays: Christmas in the Old Country | Key City Theatre | 7:30 pm
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