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Locals teaching more than just Taekwondo By Tanner Wallace-Scribner Staff Writer For close to 30 years, two local residents have been teaching and travelling the world thanks to Taekwondo. Masters Wayne and Susanne Mitchell run Kee’s Taekwondo and have been teaching the martial art since the ‘90s. For Wayne, he moved to Yorkton in 1992 to start teaching, later meeting Susan where they would open up other training centres before moving to the there current location in 2000. Taekwondo, which is a Korean martial art involving punching and kicking techniques, with an emphasis on headheight kicks, jumping, spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques, was an interest for both of them throughout their lives. “I had always wanted to take it. As a kid, watching the kung fu movies and I had always wanted to do a martial art of some type, and it was just a period in my life where I had an opportunity to do it,” Wayne explained when talking about what got him interested in Taekwondo. “I was working on the railway at the time, and I wanted to open up my own Tae Kwon Do school; I was teaching in Saskatoon, but the opportunity came up to move here, and that’s what I did.” For Susanne, it was her kids that led her to do Taekwondo. “I always thought
Masters Wayne and Susanne Mitchell about doing it, but not until they started it doing. It was something we could do together as a family, and we enjoyed it,” she said. “Then my son started to get into the elite level and needed to travel nationally, and that’s when I decided to get into refereeing, and if you want to be a referee, you have to be a black belt. When I got older, I continued into the international level, and I could travel and maintain a level of fitness to be able to continue at that level was important.” Their involvement in the sport has both of them travel the world. Wayne has acted as the team head, manager, coach, and trainer for
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Team Saskatchewan, and nationally, as Taekwondo Canada’s president, vicepresident and secretarygeneral. He has served as a board member of the Saskatchewan Taekwondo Association and was inducted into the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame. Internationally, he was a referee for the World Junior and PanAm Taekwondo Championships, coached the North American Indigenous Games, was team manager and the team head for the PanAm Junior Championships, and a Canadian delegate for the WTF General Assembly. Susanne has been the Chair for Saskatchewan World Taekwondo Association Referee Committee since 2006, annually conducts pro-
vincial referee certification seminars and evaluates and mentors developing referees at all Saskatchewan Taekwondo Sanctioned events. In 2017, Susanne was appointed to the National Referee Committee as the ViceChair for Western Canada. Susanne has travelled the world refereeing and has received multiple awards, including best referee at the 2010 and 2013 Conseil International du Sport Militaire World Military Taekwondo Championships; the 2014 1st Junior World Cadet Championship in Azerbaijan; and, the 2016 Pan American Open in Mexico. She also won SaskSport Female Offical of the Year in 2017. Despite all of their
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labeled at school as a trouble maker, in the church he was labeled the little tazmanian devil. When he started Taekwondo I saw the biggest change. The disciple and the respect in order to get the next belt. He had to behave at home, do his chores, do his homework, with the idea on getting his next belt. “Praciticing respect and the little things that we do here in class float over in everyday,” she continued. “All the other things that we stress are lifeskills. We promtoe leadership in the kids, we promote confidence. Just the life skills that you take away which are disguised in the class are reflected into what they do in their everyday life.” “I think it’s kind of a special offering that you don’t always get in every other setting. It augments good life tools for the kids. We watch the kids develop and be proud of what they’ve accomplished. That’s your reward.” Wayne added. Both of them have no plans of slowing down at this point and are looking foward to continuing to teach, travel the world, and help grow Taekwondo.
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accomplishments, it is the accomplishments and growth of their students that is most important to them. “It’s really tough to get somebody on the national team. There is only about ten people a year that make it on there, and over our time, we’ve had a little over 12 people on the national team and had Pam-Am medalists out of here,” Wayne said. “For our little community, we are quite proud of the people who can work that hard and come out of a little corner in Saskatchewan and stand there with the best.” It’s also the life skills that their students learn that are just as important. “There is very important values in Taekwondo like respect, being honest, leadership, always trying your hardest, having the indomitable spirit,” Susan said. “That alone is something that you want to encourage in what you are trying to pass onto your children, never mind having a small role in teaching other kids to be the best you at all times.” Susanne has been these values help kids firsthand. “My youngest son was
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How families can give back to their communities together Strong communities are built by strong people who recognize the importance of giving back. Children recognize when their parents give back to their communities, and often that recognition compels youngsters to want to do the same. Volunteering as a family is a great way for parents to instill their values in their youngsters while strengthening the communities in which those children live. Volunteering also provides a host of additional, potentially surprising benefits. Taking part in helping one’s community lowers rates of depression and anxiety. In addition, research has indicated that adolescents who volunteer may perform better at school and take a
more positive approach to education. Family-friendly volunteering opportunities abound, and the following are some ways that families can give back together.
· Feed the hungry: The role of charitable organizations that feed those in need was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic fallout of the pandemic was significant, as tens
of millions of people lost their jobs and, subsequently, their ability to feed themselves and their families. Local food banks stepped in to feed those families, and organizations are
always in need of volunteers to help prepare, deliver and serve food. Volunteering at a local food bank or soup kitchen is a great way for parents to show their children that they have a lot to be thankful for while instilling in them a sense of responsibility to community members in need. · Create art: Art can be as beneficial to its creators as it is for those who appreciate it. That’s especially so for children in relation to their development. Art education strengthens problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Art also encourages kids to innovate, a benefit that will pay dividends throughout their lives. Art also is fun to create, and parents can turn kids’ natural inclination toward
fun and creativity into a way to give back to their communities. Adults and children can volunteer to bring smiles to the faces of strangers, all the while reaping the many benefits of engaging in art projects. · Nature clean-up: Local park and beach clean-ups help to keep the great outdoors pristine and pollution-free. Such clean-ups, which are a fun way to get outdoors, also provide a great opportunity for parents to teach children about the environment and the importance of protecting it. Whether it’s helping those in need, exploring one’s inner artist or helping keep local parks and beaches clean, the opportunities for families to give back together are numerous.
How to build friendships in your golden years Making friends as a child or even as a parent to school-aged children is relatively easy. Classrooms and school functions facilitate the building of friendships. Even as one gets older and enters the workforce, it’s not uncommon for people to become friends with their coworkers. As people near retirement age, their situations may have changed considerably. Children have moved out, careers are coming to an end and friendships may be hard to maintain due to people relocating or traveling. Older adults may aspire to make new friends, but they may not know how. It is not unique for seniors to want to make new friends. Age can be a barrier because there are stereotypes that pigeonhole people of certain ages. State of mind and physical ability is not directly tied to chronological age. Making friends is possible at any age. These guidelines can help along the way. · Explore online connections. Seniors (even those in their 80s) who stay connected with friends and family using social media report feeling less lonely and better overall. Connected seniors also demonstrated higher executive reasoning skills. There are plenty of ways to meet new people online by joining social media groups that cater to your interests. In person meetings in particular cities or regions of the country also can make for great ways to make new
friends. Exercise caution when meeting people in person after contacting them online. Bring another person along, whether it’s a spouse or an adult child, to ensure that you are safe. · Volunteer your time. One way to meet new people is to get involved with causes or activities you love. This serves the double benefit of getting you outside and active and puts you in touch with people who share your passions and interests. · Attend alumni events. If you have an interest getting in touch with someone from your past and reconnecting, make the time to attend school reunions and other alumni activities. It can be fun to reconnect with friends from high school or college.
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· Blood test to check cholesterol and triglyceride levels · Colorectal cancer
exam starting at age 50 · Weight screening to check for gains or losses · Prostate cancer screening for men age 70 and older · Breast
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· Join a gym. The local gym isn’t just a great place to get physically fit. Group exercise classes also can be ideal places to meet other people who enjoy working out. Strike up a conversation with another class participant you see on a regular basis. Once you develop a rapport, schedule lunch dates so your friendship grows outside of the gym. Making friends is not just for the young. Men and women over 50 also can find ways to build new friendships.
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How families can help communities rebound after the pandemic The global pandemic that began in late 2019 and spread into 2021 had a devastating impact on the world. The human toll was significant, as millions of people across the globe lost their lives to the COVID-19 virus. The virus also had farreaching economic consequences, many of which were felt in small towns and communities that had been thriving prior to the pandemic. Vaccination rollouts that began in the final weeks of 2020 gave many people a glimmer of hope that life would soon return to some semblance of normalcy. The effort to restore towns and cities will require a community-wide effort, and families can do their part as the world slowly emerges from the pandemic. · Support local businesses. A recent survey from the expert business mentors at Score® found that just 34 per-
cent of small business owners indicated their operations were currently profitable in late 2020. The numbers were even worse for minority-owned businesses, as the survey found that just 26.5 percent of Black business owners had businesses that were currently profitable while the number
was 29.2 percent among Hispanic-owned businesses. A thriving local economy is a vital component of a strong community, and families can do their part in the pandemic recovery by making a concerted effort to support the small businesses in their towns and cities, especially those owned by minorities.
Support locally owned restaurants instead of chain restaurants when dining out or ordering in. Even visiting a locally owned barbershop instead of a chain hair cutter can be a great way to help community-based businesses recover. · Lend a hand to the elderly. At the onset of the pandemic, public
health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization identified elderly men and women as among the most vulnerable to serious illness if they were infected with COVID-19. As a result, many aging men and women spent much of 2020 isolated from their friends and families. Families can help seniors in their communities recover from that isolation by volunteering at local senior centers, inviting aging neighbors over for weekly dinners or inviting them along on family outings to the beach or park. Such efforts can reassure seniors, many of whom played vital roles in building the communities they call home, that their neighbors have not forgotten them. · Take active roles in the community. Recovering from the
pandemic won’t be easy for any community. Some small businesses closed for good while others struggled to stay afloat, and local towns and cities lost significant tax revenue as a result. Residents, including adults and children, can help their towns and cities overcome budget shortfalls by becoming more active in their communities. Organize initiatives like park clean-ups to keep communities clean if budget constraints have forced local officials to cut back on such services. In addition, attend town or city council meetings to lend support to programs or even recommend new initiatives to help the community recover from the pandemic. Restoring communities after the pandemic will be a tall task. But it’s one that will be more easily accomplished if families pitch in and do their part.
Nursing home care and the ‘look-back period’ Health care plans provide access to medical care and other necessities and reduce out-ofpocket health-related expenses. Each plan is different, and depending on where you live, your
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health plans work and learning about potential financial reviews for nursing home payment qualification is a good idea for anyone concerned about financing their future health care needs. Health care basics Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada have access to a universal health care system that is paid for through their taxes, according to the Government of Canada. Each province or territory has its own health insurance plan that covers a variety of services. In the United States, health care is largely privately managed, with most employers offering access to various health coverage plans. Government subsidized plans include Medicare, which is for retirementage individuals and younger people with disabilities. Medicaid is a joint state- and federally-
run government program that provides health coverage to low-income individuals and families. Just as in the United States, health insurance in Canada does not pay for nursing home care in most cases. In the United States, unless an individual meets lowincome criteria, nursing home care is paid for by the resident; otherwise, people who qualify for Medicaid can have their nursing home expenditures payed for by that program. To receive Medicaid assistance, applicants should expect a financial review,
including a look-back period. What is the look-back period? The senior health, finance and lifestyle resource Senior Living advises that Medicaid is a “last resort” method of financing nursing home costs. Individuals are expected to use other means of payment first and “spend down” their assets. When financial resources dwindle, Medicaid will kick in to provide coverage. To ensure that individuals simply do not transfer money out of their accounts to avoid
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paying for nursing home care by their own means, Medicaid requires a look-back period into applicants’ finances to determine if there were any violations to rules regarding asset transfers. Most people engage in some sort of long-term planning to protect a portion of their assets so that they can be used to support spouses or children. According to rules, an applicant is permitted to transfer certain monies to his or her spouse, provided the spouse isn’t also applying for long-term care through Medicaid. Most money and tangible asset transfers (check with your state Medicaid office for the most current rules) must have taken place 60 months (5 years) prior to application for Medicaid. Penalties will be instituted when rules are broken, namely gifts or asset transfers that take place within the lookback period. This could delay Medicaid acceptance. Paying for long-term care can be complicated business with look-back periods and required spend-downs. It is in a person’s best interest to seek the guidance of a financial planner who specializes in elder care to navigate these financial waters.
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