About SCPT Family

3 canoe families from the Sunshine Coast participated in 2011 PULLING TOGETHER on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This annual event involves approximately 20 canoe families, or 300 participants, and community members en route. Pulling Together is a unique opportunity for the RCMP, First Nations People, Youth, and other government agencies to work together and build relations. Thank you for visiting our blog. We hope to update the blog regularly until we meet again in Pulling Together 2012. All my relations.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Amazing Canoe Pics... Enjoy!

Photos Submitted by Maize Longboat

In the Bow

SCPT Family Circle Discussion
This is Ingrid.
This is Ingrid.  She is one of the bow's women of the SD46 canoe.  I would consider her to be the Dr.Phil of the SD46 Canoe.  Ingrid is extremely organized, orderly, and disciplined.  She LOVES paddling... and this is an understatement.  What I love about Ingrid is her "tell it like it is" approach to people and situations.  There is no fooling around with Ingrid, but she loves to have fun and eat red licorice.  I have a deep respect for her honesty and her practical approach.  She is a highly skilled paddler and has a huge desire to keep the crew safe.  Thank you Ingrid for your expertise and wisdom.  As much as she would hate to know that her picture has been posted on the blog, I would like to conclude with a Top 10 list of Queen songs that her man gave her as a small gift for the Journey.  He presented her with 10 envelopes to open one per day containing quotes, quips, and favorite songs from Ingrid's favorite band.  Quotes and quips were posted on Twitter @PullingTogether.  Listed below is the Top 10 Queen songs as they relate to Pulling Together.  Thank you Ingrid for sharing your story.

Day 1: These Are the Days of Our Lives
Day 2: You're My Best Friend
Day 3: We are the Champions
Day 4: Pain is So Close to Pleasure
Day 5: Another One Bites the Dust
Day 6: Keep Yourself Alive
Day 7: A Kind of Magic
Day 8: Now I'm Here
Day 9: Under Pressure
Day 10: Staying Power

Big B

The Engine Room
This is Bradyn.

This is Bradyn.  Bradyn is another youth part of the 2011 Pulling Together Journey.  I have fond memories of Bradyn.  He is a soft spoken one... unassuming... but always willing to help.  Braden paddled with the SD46 Canoe and he made up half of the "engine room."  The engine room of the SD46 canoe is exactly how it sounds... He is all POWER.  You would not suspect this from this 6 foot plus youth, but his contribution as a puller was phenomenal.  How do I know this?  In Bamfield, 4 members from the SD46 canoe was asked to help out the skipper from the Dancing Serpent.  The Dancing Serpent was the last canoe to be transported by barge and needed a crew to bring her to shore.  Bradyn, Josh, Signy, and myself were asked to help out.  It was an amazing experience and Bradyn set the pace.  He had certainly impressed the skipper of the Dancing Serpent.  He definitely impressed me.  Bradyn practically pulled the entire canoe and the rest of us were ornaments.  Well, we did help but truthfully... I barely managed to keep up with the pace.  Way to go Bradyn.  Aside from mishearing Bradyn from time to time (sorry, my bad), Bradyn was a welcomed addition to the SD 46 canoe and the Sunshine Coast Pulling Together family.  Love you Big B.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Special Relationships - Margaret

On this Pulling Together Journey, I will remember Margaret.  This is one amazing young woman.  When we first met, I was intrigued most by her fabulous laugh and by her great geometric haircut.  Wondering about her cut and her stylist actually started one of our first conversations, funnily enough.  It turned out to be a ‘lead in’ to discovering a great deal about this young, sensitive, thoughtful, growing person.  On our first staging day, she, Kristy and I went exploring our area of Tofino and found delicious – and hot! Roibois tea (Lovely hot cup of tea!  What a gift!) At the coffee shop, we also were given a map (with instructions from the friendly barrista) that led us to explore behind our campsite to an almost hidden beach path.  We followed the path and then headed down steep stairs to discover this gorgeous stretch of white beach, big rock formations and expanse of water that seemed simply majestic in the setting sun. All three of us just stood and took it all in, each in our own thoughts before heading back up. 

As I spent more time with Margaret, I realized that she was on her own personal journey as well.  I watched her grow and blossom during the 10 days with all participants, from fairly reserved to totally involved.  Margaret still sat quietly at times, just making her dreamcatchers, but she also joined others in the ‘gift-making circles’ that occurred more often as we had more free time.  In addition, her lovely singing voice grew in strength and confidence as our Sunshine Coast Family sang and drummed songs together under our tent.  I was honoured to be present as she shared many incidents from both her past and present that were shaping and defining decisions about her life path.  She reclaimed her education goal while on this Pulling Together Journey.  I know Margaret will do well on her continuing journey.  She is a strong youth leader. I thank her for our time together.

Submitted by Tamara Forsyth

Special Relationships - Ashley

Cnst. Taylor & Bradyn
Pulling Together 2011 offered many unique opportunities for developing special relationships with others.  I realize that the idea for this blog is to talk about a special relationship that developed between someone else and myself, but instead, I’d like to offer a different perspective if I may.  I have had a relationship with Ashley Taylor prior to coming on this journey.  I volunteer with the Sunshine Coast Community Justice Program as a Circle – or Conference – Facilitator.  As an RCMP constable, Ashley has participated in a number of circles that I have facilitated.  Trust me, in circle justice, you want someone like Ashley – someone who is 100% involved in the process, a strong participant, straightforward, articulate, doesn’t pull any punches, and yet helps to facilitate the process, whereby the youth takes ownership of ‘making things right’ again.  On this journey, I saw ‘more’ of this amazing young woman. 

Ashley is the epitome of ‘youth liaison’.  From taking ‘pink pyjamas’ morning teasing (and giving it right back!) to being one of the last ones around the campfire at night, roasting S’mores with the youth, Ashley filled her days participating 100%.  She joked with - and challenged - the youth and other adults.  She was both ‘Cnst. Muscles’ and ‘Bow Babe’.  Our family’s stories ‘touched’ her heart.  As ‘skipper-in-training’, she was frequently called upon to take charge in a variety of areas.  Ashley: Calm.  Direct.  Skilled.  Helpful.  Sensitive.  Leader.  I was honoured to journey with her.

Submitted by Tamara Forsyth

Thursday, 28 July 2011

More Stranded on Benson Island Pics

Photos Submitted by Maize Longboat


A photo bombing opportunity
This is Maize

This is Maize.  I figured that I should talk about some of the youth on our Pulling Together Journey and I would like to first introduce you to A-MAIZE-ING (aka. Flava-Maize).  Maize was an amazing addition to the SD46 Crew.  He is an old spirit who had many insightful things to say throughout the journey, like "did you open an window" and "that's all that teachers know."  OK.  Those statements to YOU may seem out of context and not so meaningful.  You are absolutely correct.  For me, Maize was able to say the right things at the right time.  He was understanding, patient, fun-loving, and kind.  I truly believe that he understood "the goods" of Pulling Together and embraced them wholeheartedly.  I learned so much from Maize that I would consider him an Elder in his young age.  It was an honor to spend time with Maize during the 2011 Journey and get to know him.  Thank you Maize for teaching me so much.  I am truly grateful.  All my relations.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Intuitive Leadership

This is Kerry
Giving a safety demo to the SD46 crew.

This is Kerry.  She is the SD46 District Principal of Aboriginal Ed and Services, as mentioned earlier in a previous blog entry.  This "title" alone does not exemplify her leadership abilities, knowledge base, and ethics of care she has for people and the canoe.  Kerry is an exceptional educational leader who strives to achieve meaningful and authentic change for youth, SD46 staff, and community members she engages with.  

What is her gift?  She embodies INTUITIVE LEADERSHIP.  What do I mean by that?  Kerry likes to work behind the scenes.  She is not one to do "things" and be recognized by others.  Her greatest joy is knowing that she has helped others in a positive and life lasting way.  She is always giving.

Years ago, Kerry and I completed our Masters of Education on the Sunshine Coast and participated in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  Kerry and I are exact opposites.  I'm an ESTJ (extroverted, sensing, thinking, and judging).  Kerry is an INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving). 

According to MBTI, her strength is her INTUITION.  Kerry is able understand people and recognize their needs, wants, and strengths.  From her observations, she is able make selfless decisions and choices to assist or advocate for others.  To me, Kerry's abilities seem almost magical.

THANK YOU KERRY.  You have been instrumental to my transformation.

A Few Canoe Shots - July 2, 2011

Photos Submitted by Ed Hill

Monday, 25 July 2011

Tent Buddies

The official photographer
This is Signy
How lucky am I?  This is Signy.  She was my tent buddy, my paddle partner, and my right-hand gal during the 2010 and 2011 Journey on the SD46 Spirit Canoe s-yéwen s-néxwílh.  A couple of years ago we were strangers.  We had only knew of each other in the school district as teachers.  Our paths never crossed until Pulling Together.  We both had one friend in common, Kerry Mahlman, the District Principal of Aboriginal Education & Services.  At first, we did not think that we would have much in common.  To our surprise, we are more like compliments... partners, if you will.  Personally, I would like to consider myself as "Signy's Sidekick" (I think that she likes it that way too).  We have such a good time together.  She tolerates my snoring and I tolerate her need for "good lighting." In such a short time, we evolved from strangers to good friends and I am grateful that we had the opportunity to have something else in common:  Pulling Together.

Making a Connection

This is Pat.
Waiting for their arrival in Toquaht

When you are a large canoe family, like the Sunshine Coast, sometimes there are people you know, you kinda know, and who you don't know. 

This is Pat.  Pat paddles with the Dolphin Spirit and volunteered to work as ground crew to Toquaht, just as I did.  Pat was someone I was familiar with, but did not really know all that well.  Throughout that day, we had worked separately yet together on setting up camp and waiting for their arrival.  The fleet was delayed 4-hours.  It was the day when the water conditions changed for the worst and ground crew had limited information.

After we freshened up and set up camp, we waited and waited.  The beach was nice, along with the live entertainment and the HUGE feast.  However, as each hour that passed, the ground crew got more concerned.  All that we knew was that the canoes were being towed.  In anticipation of their arrival, the Sunshine Coast ground crew decided to go above and beyond the call of duty.  We put sleeping bags in tents and blew up air mattresses.

It was almost 9 pm and we could see the canoes in the distance.  Pat and I were on the beach standing in separate places waiting for the canoes to come in.  Pat says to me, "Do you feel the same way as I do?"  I started to cry.  So did she.  Instantly, we connected.  There were no words minced between us but we both understood.  The fleet was coming home.  We were overwhelmed with joy.  Watching protocol was a beautiful experience.

Since then, Pat and I have had a special connection... an understanding.  We truly understood what it meant to be part of the Sunshine Coast Canoe family and that we are all Pulling Together, in the canoe and on shore.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Building Relationships

This is Andy.
Setting up camp in Toquaht

I would like to start a new series of blog entries that capture some of the RELATIONSHIPS built during my Pulling Together Journey experience in 2011.  I am inviting, welcoming, and encouraging other Pulling Together participants to submit their stories to share on the blog.
Email your story and/or picture to younghusband@dccnet.com.

This is Andy.  You may recognize him... he is the nicest guy on campus.  He is always willing to lend a helping hand with a smile, positive attitude, and the periodic funny joke.  Andy is a conservation officer from Merritt and I met him last year at Pulling Together 2010 - The Salish Sea and once again this year as ground crew buddies to Toquaht.

It was wonderful to reunite with Andy at Pulling Together.  I got a tonne of swag and temporary tattoos to give away to kids.  Andy was a great guy to show me the ropes of ground crew and its benefits (like getting a delicious latte en route from one campsite to the next).  This journey I got to know Andy a lot better and started to understand myself a lot better too.

Andy is a super nice guy who 'loves the sun' and is passionate about the Aboriginal Youth, Pulling Together, and BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS.  After touring Ucluelet, drinking lattes, setting up camp, hanging out at the beach, eating crab together, and watching the fireworks... I say "thanks Andy" for all of your help, kindness, and friendship.  You're a good guy!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Panoramic Views

Tofino - Big Circle
Ahousaht - The Morning of Departure
Opitsaht - Stopping for Lunch
Pacheana Bay - Beautiful Beaches
Photos Submitted by Tina Kennedy

Local Newpaper Article

Thank you Ed for writing up an article in the local newspaper, The Coast Reporter, in the Friday, July 22, 2011 issue.  The 2011 Pulling Together Canoe Journey has been an extraordinary and memorable experience for the Sunshine Coast PT families.  With much gratitude to the Sunshine Coast Community for supporting the SCPT... with your donations, contributions, bake sale purchases, silent auction participation, and so much more. 

To read the article, click here: Sunshine Coast Reporter Article - July 22

Photos Submitted by Lynnette Robinson

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Stranded on an Island - Rough Waters

Paddling on the West Coast of Vancouver Island subjects the paddlers of Pulling Together 2011 to unpredictable water conditions.  On July 4th, the water conditions were rough and potentially dangerous.  Mid-paddle, tough decisions were made, keeping safety of the fleet in mind.  As a result, the paddlers waited for Zodiacs and other safety support vessels to transport them from Benson Island to Stopper Island prior to arriving to Toquaht.  Canoes were towed and members of the fleet waited patiently for transport.  Once all crews and canoes arrived to Stoppers Island, the fleet proceeded to paddle towards Toquaht to engage in protocol and the BIG FEAST that awaited them.  Their safe arrival was appreciated by all.  Thank you to all those people who enabled the Pulling Together Families to arrive at Toquaht safe and sound.  All my relations.

Photos Submitted by Tina Kennedy

The SCPT Skippers

Thank you SCPT Skippers for guiding us and keeping us safe.

Deepest regards,
The Sunshine Coast Pulling Together Family 2011

John, skipper of s-yéwens te k´u´unut´ (Dolphin Spirit)

Marilyn, skipper of s-yéwens ihems sila (the Spirits of Our Grandmothers)

Ed, skipper of s-yéwen s-néxwílh  (Spirit Canoe)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Waiting to Arrive - Bamfield

Photo Submitted by Ed Hill
Photo Submitted by Ed Hill
Photo Submitted by Maize Longboat
Photo Submitted by Maize Longboat

Justin and Val - The SCPT Ground Crew

Here are two people the Sunshine Coast Pulling Together Family could not do without.  Both Justin and Val are worked tirelessly and selflessly for the SCPT Family by toting our equipment, solving numerous problems, and setting up camp to ensure our paddling experience was beyond exceptional.  Thank you Justin and Val.  We appreciate all of your hard work and commitment to the SCPT Family (even though it may not have seemed that way sometimes).  You two are the best and THANK YOU for being a part of the SCPT family and ground crew team.  All my relations.

Justin organizing our stuff in the box truck.
Val supporting others in her special way.

George and Company... Thank You for Feeding Us

George and Lynnette

THANK YOU George, Wally, and John for filling our bellies with delicious food.  It seems that anything could be cooked over a BBQ... eggs, sausages, pancakes, porridge, french toast, and burgers... the best part was the morning coffee.  YUM.