This article is from the December 2016 Issue of Forever Young

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By Glenna Turnbull

“Not those bell ringers again,” said the disgruntled woman in the fur coat who pushed past me on the way out of the store, her arms laden with plastic bags filled full of bargains.

“Yes,” I said to her, “isn’t it wonderful what they do?”

If she’d stopped for more than the moment it took to sneer at me, I would have explained:

The Salvation Army Kettle Fund has become synonymous with Christmas and each day, as volunteers man the kettles and, yes, ring their bells where permitted, they help to make our community a much brighter place for those who are struggling.

It’s a sad statistic that one in every eight households struggle to put food on the table and that 90,000 Canadians will find themselves at the door of their local food bank for the first time this month, but such is the case. (Ring ring...)

One of the volunteers at the Kelowna Salvation Army knows first-hand what it’s like to be in need and require their services and why those ringing bells are so important. When Alicia Cook moved to Kelowna in September 2015 with her daughter, she came on the premise of starting a new life for them both – a life that included her returning to school. As a single mom, struggling to make ends meet while awaiting her student loan to arrive, she found herself at the doors of the Salvation Army Community Life Centre where she met one of their Case Workers, Jamie Johnstone. “Jamie was amazing,” said Alicia, “she was a breath of fresh air. She was safe to talk to when I had no one else.”

Like many before her, the initial shame Alicia felt at having to ask for help manifested itself into tears but before long, with Jamie’s help, tears were turned into smiles. Food, clothing and a brand new backpack for her daughter to start school with were some of the things she left that first appointment with, along with the knowledge that there are good people in this world, people who care – care enough to listen to that ringing bell and drop in a donation.

This article is from the November 2016 Issue of Forever Young

 2016 November Volunteer

 Kelowna Art Gallery volunteer Eva Carr (right) with Kelsie Balehowsky, former gallery assistant.

Walking into the Kelowna Art Gallery, it’s hard not to notice the genuine, warm smile of Eva Carr, one of the many volunteers who help ensure all of their special events and exhibit openings run smoothly. 

“I’m not an artist, but I’ve always loved art,” said Eva, “so volunteering at the art gallery seemed like a natural fit.”

Eva first started at the gallery as one of their docents, responsible for leading school children through tours of the exhibits and then helping them create an art project based on the exhibit they can take home with them. Touring the children requires fresh training for each new exhibition so docents can explain the art to the children and, hopefully, answer all of their questions. Do they stump her sometimes? Eva laughed, “I tell them, you can ask anything you want and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out.”

She first started volunteering with the Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George and helped it transition into its new home before moving to Kelowna with her husband in 2003.  “His health wasn’t good and I didn’t really have the time to commit then” she said, but after he passed away and she began looking for something to add a little more meaning to her life, she remembered how much she’d enjoyed volunteering and approached the Kelowna Art Gallery where she now volunteers regularly both as a docent and special event helper.

Shifting from Arts to Sports, meet volunteer Roy Gillespie. A physiotherapist working out of Aspire Health and Fitness, Roy was bitten by the volunteer bug at a very early age. “My parents got me into it,” he said. “I played competitive basketball and my Dad said it would be good to volunteer as a referee so I could understand all aspects of the sport and then I did some volunteering through our church with my Mom.”

It was while attending Dalhousie University that Roy got go see firsthand what a big difference volunteering could make in the lives of others. Wanting to play on the Halifax Men’s League’s senior A team, he met a man named Terry Symonds. “He was one of my greatest mentors,” said Gillespie, “and he told us that, in order to be part of our basketball team, we had to volunteer,” so they started up a late night basketball league in the roughest area of town to get kids off the street. From there, Roy went on to volunteer at both Dalhousie and St. Mary’s universities tending to soccer, basketball and hockey players.

Roy discovered that volunteering was a hard habit to break – one he didn’t want to, so after moving to the Okanagan, he started helping out at events such as figure skating competitions, provincial karate, and countless different sports tournaments. He’s also volunteered with the national freestyle ski team and most notably, the Okanagan Sun football team where is he has been a huge part of the team’s success for the past 15 years.

This article is from the October 2016 Issue of Forever Young

 2016 oct

The best parts of this Cape Breton experience are the village stops along the way

By Anne Bokma

The world famous Cabot Trail is arguably Canada’s most beautiful drive — a 298-kilometre smoothly paved scenic roadway that forms a loop around the northern part of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. Travellers can’t help but blink in wonder at its blazing technicolour vistas — the shining emerald hues of the hills that roll into the forever distance and the shimmering blues of the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean that border this iconic route.

Yes, you can stay in your car and do the drive in a speedy four hours. But that would be missing the point. The point being to go slow — slow enough to properly store its coastal views and highland scenery in your memory bank.

Life is more interesting off the beaten path and that’s especially true on the Cabot Trail, where three days of stopovers in the villages of Baddeck, Ingonish, Cheticamp and Margaree offer the chance to explore the abundance of beaches, museums, lookouts and trails on this coastal playground which boosts world class hiking, golfing, fishing, whale watching, sailing and kayaking.

Situated along the shore of the Bras d’Or Lake, Cape Breton’s expansive inland sea, the town of Baddeck, located an hour’s drive from Sydney and three-and-a-half hours from Halifax, is the best start and end point on the Cabot Trail loop — you can travel in either direction (locals argue about whether it’s best to go clockwise or counterclockwise but haven’t reached a consensus). Baddeck became a tourist destination with the1874 publication of the travel guidebook “Baddeck, And That Sort of Thing”, that caught the attention of its most famous citizen — Dr. Alexander Graham Bell — who built his summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, (“beautiful mountain” in Gaelic) in Baddeck because the place reminded him of the Scottish highlands of his youth.

We stayed the night in the Silver Dart Lodge, a charming 90-acre compound named after the aircraft designed by Bell and flown off the ice of Bras d’Or Lake in 1909 — the first powered flight in Canada. The next morning we caught a glimpse of the famous estate where Bell is buried during a peaceful two-hour paddle with North River Kayak Tours before heading north to Ingonish, located at the eastern entrance of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This massive (950 sq km) protected wilderness area is home to a wide range of animals from moose to martens, masked shrew and meadow jumping mice. One-third of the Cabot Trail passes through the park, which offers photo ops by the thousands with spectacular views on its 26 trails that range from easy strolls, such as the Skyline Trail, a level path that leads to a boardwalk built on a dramatic headland cliff with perfect views of the Cabot Trail winding down the mountainside, to hardcore hiking, such as the Franey Trail where you’ll transition from Acadian to boreal forest on the steep ascent and be rewarded with a 360º view of the canyon and coastline below.

This article is from the September 2016 Issue of Forever Young

 Tuscan Country Cooking Class

By Steve Tuck

This June took us back to our very favorite holiday location --- VILLA LE TORRI on Via Poppiano, San Quirico in Collina, near Montespertoli, just Southwest of Florence! This was our second visit --- two full weeks of Heaven! We were there in 2014 and only stayed for one week. Now our new minimum is two! The best testimonial to Gabrielle (the owner) and his “6-star” Villa is the fact that 75 – 80% of his visitors are return guests!!! His best advertising is folks like us --- previous guests who refer others who refer others and the chain goes on. And no wonder, Gabrielle and his wife and Mom and Dad work tirelessly to ensure that your stay is THE vacation you will never forget!

One of my joys in life is cooking. I love to experiment. Of course I have my favorites. Rack of lamb with a good Shiraz, well I don’t think it can be beat. (My wife thinks guests might be tired of my fav, but I haven’t heard any complaints yet!)

But Tuscany is famous for the views, the wine and the cooking!

Much to my delight, Gabrielle has added a weekly Tuscan cooking class right at Le Torri. As soon as I learned, I booked in, along with my good travelling companion, George. (Our wives opted to just come to the dinner we’d create; not partake in the lesson. They vegged by the pool, a great alternative, and they still got to taste the results!) The class is held for 2 to up to 9 people. We were just four ---- perfect, like a private class! The course was in English and was held in the large dining room/kitchen cooking class area on the second floor of the Villa Le Torri. (A room we had never seen before!)

This is a four/five hour hands-on cooking class, and includes the cost of the food and wine and the final dinner we prepared ---- all from scratch! Our chef, Pierpaolo Moroni, made us feel right at ease in the kitchen. We donned our aprons, and started working on the pasta sauce, the tomatoes having been already prepared in boiling water for our peeling and coring. Only the flesh was to be used. Then the cucumbers, onions, carrots, celery, and other ingredients had to be chopped and added to the tomatoes. We also kneaded the ciabatta and once it was baked, we got to taste test it during the lesson! Mmmmmm!

This article is from the August 2016 Issue of Forever Young

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By Glenna Turnbull

From barn dances to bake offs, rodeos to midway rides, we all have our own favourite reasons for going to the Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede (IPE) and while those reasons might change as we age, the one thing that has remained consistent throughout the years is the how the fair gives back to the community. As a registered non-profit charity, the IPE will help generate more than $8 million for the local economy this year.

Bryan Burns, who has been general manager of the IPE for the past nine summers, noted that in order to make the event run smoothly, the staff of 125 will be augmented by more than 450 volunteers, giving close to 11,000 hours of their time. And that’s not including the 38 different service clubs who will also benefit from the fair.

“Last year we had 158,238 pass through the gates – it was the second largest attendance record ever,” said Burns, and it’s hoped that if weather cooperates, this year will do even better.

Over the past seven years, from the funds generated through gate receipts, etc., the IPE has been able to hand out more than $35,000 in direct contributions to a charity of its choice, which has ranged from Okanagan Autism to the Vernon Hospice as well as the MS Society, Huntington’s, Prostate Cancer and more. This year’s recipient will be NONA of Vernon. In addition, it has provided more than $14,000 in IPE scholarships and invested over $430,000 in Armstrong/Spallumcheen Parks and Recreation and the IPE Fairgrounds.

For many local non-profit groups and organizations, the IPE offers them an opportunity to earn the lion’s share of their annual operating costs. “We have a lot of groups who come in to do food booths such as the churches,” said Burns who estimated the local Catholic church alone will have well over 100 volunteers working at the fair.