Merry Christmas to you and your family.
I hope this season and these holidays are days of deep connection; personally, but also with family and friends and the community. We are truly blessed in this community of Golden to have so many people working to make it the best place to live and learn. That includes our amazing young people reaching out to support those who may be experiencing some hardships, to a community of volunteers reaching out to reduce loneliness and isolation in seniors. The strong seniors in our community also work to provide an inclusive place for aging adults to stay active in Golden.
As the season is upon us, here are a few practical tips for the holidays:
1) Take time to share stories together.
2) Get outside and play – skate with Santa and ski with Santa ,or just go for a sleigh ride. Maybe a dog sled outing or a walk on our beautiful trails. Whatever you do, do it with attention to those you with and maybe leave the phones at home.
3) Get creative and make some lovely gifts using supplies you may find on your walk or attend a craft day at the Early Years Center and have a bit of play time too.
4) Spend a moment to reflect on all that we can be grateful for starting with our families and friends.
5) Just going around the room and saying one thing you are thankful for is always a boost of encouragement. If and when you do a gift exchange, before someone opens a gift have them answer a question like, “what are you thankful for?” or “name a thing you have done in your life this year?” That makes the gift exchange have a little more life in it and connection to each other while we open gifts.
6) Go sing Christmas carols with seniors – your time may make their Christmas. The great thing about the Internet is that you can get all the words to your favorite songs and print them and pass them around. Some of my favourites are Come All Ye Faithful, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and Oh come, oh come Emmanuel. Make sure you have copies of the lyrics. It gets a little funny when everybody isn’t able to sing together.
7) Take a moment to think of someone who you know is lonely or doesn’t have family, and if you do have the freedom, care for one another as well. Create great grace.
8) Here are some additional conversation starters – both serious and fun for young and old:
If you had to give all of your possessions away for Christmas, which would be the hardest and why?
What has been a new relational highlight in 2018? Someone you are significantly closer to than you were a year ago.
What was one favourite memory in 2018?
What is one characteristic of another family member you would like to grow in next year?
What were your highlights and lowlights of 2018? What did you learn about yourself?
Come up with an honour plan to deliberately honour the elders in your family or someone who has had a positive influence this year.
Last week the MLA, mayor, and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) attended a meeting with the seniors’ Age Friendly Committee and discussed transportation, access to medical attention, and housing in the area. There was also a presentation about air quality by the Air Quality Committee. We learned that the highway project is scheduled to begin in late 2019 completing the Trans-Canada Highway stretch east of Golden and housing applications are being made and other initiatives are being discussed to address the issues of housing in Golden. One of these initiatives is being explored by the College of the Rockies (COTR), CSRD, and seniors group that will explore the match between seniors and students to share housing. MLA Doug Clovechuck told us he is working to improve access to medical including the access to Alberta treatment when it makes sense for those of us who prefer that option. We also learned that there are simple things that we can do to burn wood cleaner and that dust particles are also affecting air quality. Mansheds /toolsheds were also discussed – this idea gives people a place to fix/tinker when they no longer have access to a shop of their own.
Soup Day, at the Seniors’ Centre starts again on Friday, January 25, so be sure to come out and enjoy a soup, bun, beverage, and a treat. There are also loads of opportunities to get involved helping to continue this great community offering. Seniors are grateful for the Interactors, Golden Rockets, and international students that keep showing up to help with events. There are also some other amazing volunteers who come for the fun and friendship that happens when you show up to help.
The second training of the community connection project finished in November with 15 volunteers trained to connect with seniors who may like to share their story or listen to the volunteer’s stories. Please let us know if you would like a visit or know of someone who may benefit. The next training will happen in February, 2019. We are also excited to announce that we have funding for a multi-generational outing to explore the area with the sites to be announced later in January but if you have some suggestions please let us know. If you would like to join us or get more information, please call Mickey Balas at 250-344-6866 or myself at 250-272-0291.
The Seniors’ Centre offers endless ways to stay active including; art classes, cards, pool, crib, and crafts. Stop in and get a calendar and a membership so you don’t miss an opportunity to share your talents. The Seniors’ Centre is available for rental as well and it has a kitchen so when your planning your next event consider this venue.
There will be some information sessions in 2019 offered free for seniors to learn and share information about housing, technology, planning, hot meal program, cooking, health, etc. If you would like to learn about a subject not listed, please let us know. Better yet, maybe you have some expertise you would like to share. Sessions will be about an hour long.
The Youth Centre drop in on Tuesdays, homework Thursdays, and movie night Fridays have been well attended. We are planning lots of fun stuff for 2019, so check out our Facebook page and also get on the e-mail list for the newsletter or check out the front window where we continue to update events and put up posters for what is happening around Golden. I want to also thank those people who volunteer their time to connect with youth and share their talents. Watch for a chance to enter a contest for the best logo for the Golden Region Youth Network.
Ambassador training will be provided in 2019, free of charge, at the College of the Rockies through a partnership between the COTR, Tourism Golden, The Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce, and the community development coordinator. Come share all the reasons you love Golden and together we will become ambassadors for those who visit or are new to our area. The training will take a couple of hours and there will be incentives.
The Columbia Basin Trust community initiative granting process will begin in January so start planning your projects and if you need some help with those ideas let me know.
The Early Childhood Centre is available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so get out and have some fun with your children at the centre. The centre will be closed December 24 to 28 and January 1 for the holidays. The child resource and referral is a great place to get toys and books on loan so that you always have something new to play with in your home. Drop in and get your calendar for January and make plans for a play date in 2019. Watch the facebook page for upcoming craft days and other events at www.facebook.com/GoldenEarlyYears
Happy holidays and peace to all.