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Hallowe’en isn’t a day; it’s a frame of mind

Well we have been celebrating Hallowe’en for most of the month. Our recent adventure was hosted on the cross-country trails at Laurentian University, Trick or Trek; 1 km walk with a number of engaging activities for the children. Leila and I put up one more ghoul and one more ghost to be lit by the streetlight – ethereal. We put our treat bags together, which include some for children with allergies. Today we will paint the teal pumpkin to let parents know.

On the work front – this week Power to Connection Youth Leadership Conference occurred. 13 community partners, including youth voices worked to create a one-day conference to build youth leadership capacity for the community. We worked to have a representative demographic, over 60 youth represented the francophone community, and over 30 youth represented the Indigenous community. 15 community partners set up information tables to inform the youth in a 2-prong approach – how the agency serves youth and how the youth can engage with the agency. The program was interactive; the energy was enthusiastic. The participants were entertained during lunch with Indigenous hoop dance and music. The moment that will be seared in my memory for years to come is the circle dance initiated by 4 indigenous youth. Imagine almost 160 people from different cultures holding hands dancing. Think about the magnitude of this. The last residential school was closed in 1996; schools intent on children losing their culture, forbidden to speak their language, and disconnected from their families. On this day we learned from an elder about the purpose of the medicine wheel, the connection of the 7 Grandfather teachings for leadership, and we danced together. This day represents evidentiary hope for healing, learning, inclusion, and respect.

On Tuesday evening the Chief’s Youth Advisory Council met and once again evidentiary hope for today and tomorrow came to light. During our meetings we set aside time for the youth to share their thoughts on current events and directions that will support community policing to best support young people. I can only state when I walked away from the meeting I was in awe of the political brilliance in the room. First, the group discussed the US presidential race and not just Trump & Clinton. No, they were well versed on the Libertarian and Green Party candidates. After US race they moved into the state of our provincial political leadership. They have diverse thinking and each of those who spoke, spoke with a voice of a researched knowledge base.

Leila is coming into her own as a goalie and I am doing my utmost not to panic every time there is a shot heading her way. She accepts her role and the responsibility that comes with it. We chat about the butterflies in her stomach on the way to the arena, which settle once the game begins. She takes it all in stride – goals let in, shots saved. She seems to be nonplussed when I ask about the game on the way home. Leila participates in goalie school at RHP, plays NHL 2017 on the Xbox-I (She really really really wants to see an NHL game in person, lol), watches goalies on the iPad, focuses on the goalies that play in the OHL when we manage to get to a game, plays pick up with her friends when the opportunity presents itself, and will go outside on her own to shoot on the net. The coaching team for Lo-Ellen Lightening is strong and the athletes respond to the direction from the coaches. The parents are wonderful – positive supporters – cheer a player who makes a good play no matter which team. And the athletes, well they are amazing. They work hard, listen hard, recognize each other for good plays, and encourage each other when a boost is needed. Being a hockey parent has been wonderful and for more than what has been written above. Leila says she will play on the OHL and NHL. She will make sure they have ‘girl’ change rooms. OHL or NHL – of no consequence to me – the fact she believes it is possible is what is important; Leila doesn’t see barriers, she sees possibilities. Who can ask for anything more?



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