This article is from the May 2017 Issue of Forever Young

 2017 may feature

Volunteer extraordinaire Randy Hunt at the West Kelowna Food Bank donated $1500 to help others thanks to the Simple Generosity campaign

By Glenna Turnbull

For the past 21 years, Randy Hunt has been volunteering at his local food bank in West Kelowna. From sorting cans to hamper deliveries, he’s been known to donate between 30 to 40 hours a week of his time helping out.

As such, he seemed an obvious candidate to be nominated for the Simple Generosity program currently underway, courtesy of Valley First.

What is Simple Generosity? As its name suggests, it’s a simple way for someone to become very generous. Let me explain:

The lead up to Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation has prompted some pretty creative ways to celebrate, including the Simple Generosity program at Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union. People are being asked to nominate volunteers they feel go far and beyond in helping to make their community better and each week throughout 2017, one extraordinary volunteer – someone like Randy – will receive $1500 they can donate to the non-profit cause of their choice.

For Randy, the question of where to donate his $1500 was simple: the Central Okanagan Food Bank.

“We wanted to do something special for Canada 150,” said Susan Byrom, Senior Manager of Community Investment for First West Credit Union.

“Canadians are what make Canada great and one of the things Canadians do well, as do our employees, is give back to our community through volunteer engagement.”

And so, through 2017 there will be $78,000 handed out via the Simple Generosity campaign to chosen volunteers across B.C., $22,500 of which is slated for local non-profits in communities serviced by Valley First. “The only thing we ask is that the charity that is the recipient of that $1500 is in a community being served by one of our divisions,” said Susan, “so it keeps it local and directs recognition to the volunteer as well as the organization that’s benefiting and strengthening our community.”

Gwen Rikkinen of Penticton and Don Penty of Kelowna are two other extraordinary volunteers who have so far been selected from over 170 nominees whose names have been put forward thus far. Gwen, who has volunteered for the past three years making soups, sandwiches and desserts, then dishing them up at the Penticton Soupateria, now has a new story to tell the clients about how volunteering her time has yielded an unexpected bonus of $1500 to the program.

This article is from the April 2017 Issue of Forever Young

 FYng Apr 2017 feature image

By Fyllis Hockman

The land of Peter Rabbit really does exist.

It’s right in England’s Lake District, which was assured perpetuity when his creator, Beatrix Potter, bequeathed 14 properties to the National Trust when she died in 1943.

The fairytale villages of this region also bask in the glow of such literary giants as William Wordsworth and William Yeats whose inspirations sprang from the countryside immortalized in the familiar four-by-five-inch children’s books.

The landscape, so tantalizingly green that the colour needs a more-enchanting name, is quintessentially British -- replete with requisite sheep, rolling hedgerows, low-slung stone walls crisscrossing the landscape, slate-roofed stone houses, and sparkling floral flashes of hot pink, orange-gold and deep purple that blink on and off almost neon-like under the ceaseless breezes.

Meandering footpaths make it a walker’s wonderland where you’ll spot Peter Rabbit’s relatives skittering and scampering off on all directions.

Hill Top, Potter’s home for 38 years and the site of many of her creation’s adventures, transports the visitor to her world as it was until she died.

Pick up “A Tale of Samuel Whiskers” and follow the story as you visit the holes where the mice lived that threatened Tom Kitten. You can accompany Pigland Bland as he wanders through the village and seek to protect Jemima Puddle-Duck’s egg as it lays hidden in the rhubarb patch. You can almost hear the Two Bad Mice discussing the ham and cheese that don’t seem quite edible because they are, of course, from Beatrix’s dollhouse right in front of you in the parlor.

This article is from the March 2017 Issue of Forever Young

 2017 march image

By Patty Wellborn

While age may just be a number, how well we age impacts the quality of our later years.

March is Embrace Aging month at UBC’s Okanagan campus, and the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention (IHLCDP), along with Interior Health and Interior Savings Credit Union have teamed up to present a number of events about healthy aging.

The line-up of seminars and events covers everything from getting a good night’s sleep, staying strong physically, making sound financial decisions, to connecting with our loved ones and community.

“Our aim is to inspire and inform our community on steps we can all take to age well—both mentally and physically,” says Joan Bottorff, IHLCDP director. “We’re especially pleased to play an active role by providing seminars on fraud prevention, being savvy with technology, staying active, estate planning and several special screenings of the very popular Age of Love movie.”

Some of the upcoming events include:

Senior's Fraud Protection
Tuesday, March 7, 2 - 3:30 pm
Okanagan Regional Library, Kelowna
1380 Ellis Street, Kelowna

Electronic Health Records and You
Wednesday, March 8, 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Parkinson Recreation Centre
Bartlett room
1800 Parkinson Way, Kelowna

Senior's Fraud Protection - Vernon
Wednesday, March 8, 2 - 3:30 pm
Okanagan Regional Library, Vernon
2800 - 30th Avenue, Vernon

Sound of Music: A partnership to enhance lives
Wednesday, March 8, 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Parkinson Recreation Centre
Bartlett room
1800 Parkinson Way, Kelowna

Savvy Seniors - Vernon: New communication technologies and you
Thursday, March 9, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Okanagan Regional Library, Vernon
2800 - 30th Avenue, Vernon

Singing Makes Everything Better
Monday, March 13, 2016, 2 - 3:00, pm
Okanagan Regional Library - Vernon
2800 - 30th Avenue, Vernon

This article is from the February 2017 Issue of Forever Young

 FYng Feb 2017 image

By Glenna Turnbull

Sometimes a name is more appropriate than we first realize. Take, for example, Valley First. Set to celebrate their 70th anniversary this year, Valley First has truly lived up to its name through their commitment to, indeed, put the “Valley” first.

For example, did you know that since 2010, Valley First has raised well over $1.2 million and close to 72,000 pounds of food for local food banks through their Feed the Valley campaign? And if you donated in, say, Oliver, then the money stayed to help those in need in Oliver; or if you donated in Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm or any of their17 branches, the food or money received remained in your own community to help those in need.

Susan Ewanick, President of Valley First, said, “We’re very proud of the Feed the Valley campaign.”

But Valley First does a lot more than just help out its local food banks. They’re also reaching out to help the valley’s youth through their CanSave program. “We’ve partnered with Enactus through Okanagan College in a new financial literacy program,” explained Susan, “educating children in grades two through four on basic money management skills.”

In keeping with their community-mindedness, not only are they teaching children the importance of spending and saving wisely, but kids are learning to include the all-important philanthropic idea of donating as well. “We’re helping them learn to make decisions around their spending and saving choices as well as their charity choices – the decisions we all make on a weekly and monthly basis,” Susan said.

Reflective of their passion about financial literacy and the importance of teaching future generations sound money management, Valley First is hosting an exciting contest on Facebook, asking parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles to create a short video about how they are educating future generations about the three pillars of financial management: spending, saving and giving. “We’ll be giving away three prizes of $1,000 for the best short video,” noted Meredith Birchall-Spencer, Communications Business Partner for Valley First

The contest is open from Feb. 7 to 21 and can be found on Valley First’s Facebook page at

This article is from the January 2017 Issue of Forever Young

 FYng Jan 2017 Grandma

A WITCH WATCHES as Maggie tests her wand while shopping on Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

By Liz Campbell

I just became the world’s best grandma. It was easy; I took my grandchildren to Happy Central, aka Orlando, Florida. 

It’s easy enough to head for Disney World, but we explored Mars at the Kennedy Space Center; we stepped into Diagon Alley at Universal Studios; and we were turned upside down at WonderWorks. 

After four days, Sarah (age 12), Ben (age 11) and the twins, Josh and Maggie (age 7) were hard-pressed to say what they loved best. Well, to be fair, for Maggie there was no contest – she has read all the Harry Potter books.

To Infinity and Beyond....

“That was amazing,” Josh squeals as we leave the Destination Mars exhibit. “It’s like I was really on Mars and I could look all around me, even the ground.” We had donned Microsoft HoloLens virtual reality glasses and literally walked on the surface of the red planet, led by astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the Mars Rover. These aren’t just imaginary, but based on data gathered by the Rover while on Mars. It’s an extraordinary experience.

Some 35 years ago, my daughter and I visited the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Back then, it was exciting to see moon rocks gathered during the1968 landing on the surface. This time, through the magic of technology, we went back in time to those early missions –  the frightening failures and the awe-inspiring success of the moon landing. I asked the children if they would like to go into space. After seeing so many rockets explode on the launch pad, they were hesitant. But then we met Jerry Ross.

Between 1985 and 2002, Commander Ross flew a record seven missions into space, including one with Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield. Ben asked him if it was scary relying on technology. 

“In our world, we rely on technology all the time. Sometimes it fails,” Ross replied, adding with a laugh, “The only difference is that it’s a longer walk home from space.” 

He described sleeping in space (in restraints like a sleeping bag), the games the astronauts invented at zero gravity (racing through the space lab tunnel) and the worst thing about the trip (“Having to come home.”) 

After our chat, Maggie conceded that she ‘might’ go in space.

Ross signed a copy of his book, Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record-Setting Frequent Flyer (Purdue University Press, 2013). And when Sarah asked him what had been the most frightening part of the trip, he replied, “The launch itself.”

We had the opportunity to experience a little of what Ross was talking about. Technology allowed us to safely launch in a virtual space shuttle just like the Atlantis. Afterwards, we took turns in astronaut training simulators to dock it ourselves. 

At KSC we got a close-up look at the huge rockets which powered the US into space history. And our hearts swelled with pride at the sight of a Canadarm, the robotic arm Canada developed for working in space. My grandchildren thought these were “cool”, but the significance of each numeral attached to Apollo is emblazoned in my memory.