Cam’s Kids announced as uxperience 2018 beneficiary
Every year, local volunteers work for months to create and perform “uxperience” for the purpose of helping local charities and non-profit organizations. This year’s production of music and skits, themed “Battle of the Sexes,” will take place May 3, 4 and 5, and proceeds will go to Cam’s Kids Foundation.
This grassroots, Uxbridge-based organization is actively engaged in “Supporting Young People Struggling with Anxiety.” According to uxperience chair Chris Fahrner, “Anxiety is a major issue with today’s youth, and we are proud to help support Cam’s Kids in their efforts to address the problem in a positive way.”
Cam’s Kids is named for Cameron Hicks, a young Uxbridge man who struggled with debilitating anxiety. In 2014, in his second month at the University of Ottawa, Cameron was struck and killed while crossing a busy highway. His parents, Linda and Gordon Hicks, started Cam’s Kids to honour his memory and help other young people who may be struggling with anxiety-related symptoms.
“When all of this started, we hadn’t even heard of the word ‘anxiety’,” says Linda. “Nowadays, we know it can be the underlying cause for many other health problems. Just as each person is unique, the cause of one person’s anxiety is very likely different from another person’s. As well, what helps alleviate anxiety symptoms in one person may also be different from another person. For Cam, nutrition and holistic living were vital. We will use some of the funds from uxperience to launch the first holistic health program to be incorporated into high school physical education programs, starting locally, with Uxbridge Secondary School.”
The website, CamsKids.com has visitors from as far away as Japan, illustrating just how widespread concerns about anxiety are. The organization also now has 160 ambassadors across Canada, and the first training session in safeTALK was held for some of them in February.
“safeTALK makes our ambassadors aware of how to pick up cues from those who might open up about anxiety or suicide, which sometimes go hand in hand,” says Cam’s Kids National Coordinator Vanessa Morgan, an Uxbridge resident who was a friend of Cam’s. “The most important thing our ambassadors learned from this training was how to be engaged listeners and become more comfortable saying the word ‘suicide’.” More training sessions are being planned for Ottawa-area ambassadors, and again in Uxbridge this spring.
The Cam’s Kids website is a vital resource, a virtual centre-of-the-universe when it comes to understanding anxiety and looking for ways to deal with it. “Cam’s Kids is not a service provider,” Linda explains. “Anyone in crisis should call 9-1-1. We are all unique with individual needs and life circumstances. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all, magic solution, but through the website, we share information, tips and tools, and peers can share their stories online. We find this helps young people tremendously.”
The organization’s main fundraiser is an annual golf tournament. To raise awareness, the group distributes candy canes at holiday time and chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day. They also produce a free e-newsletter for which you can sign up online. “Our ambassadors are the face of the foundation,” Vanessa says, “but the website is an excellent resource as well. Young people can share their stories in a safe place and help others in the process. Whenever a new story is posted, the number of visits to the site spikes.”
“We still have a long way to go,” Linda adds. “Far too many young people self-medicate because they don’t know where to turn. Our goal is to make them aware of anxiety, identify early symptoms and incorporate positive, holistic, non-toxic solutions into their lives. Cam would be happy to know that young people are being helped in his name.”
Since uxperience began over 26 years ago, it has donated more than $135,000 to local organizations. For more information on uxperience and this year’s show, visit uxperience.ca
By Roger Varley
Notes from the March 19 Council meeting
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign: Amanda Ferraro, director of park, recreation, culture and tourism, unveiled for council on Monday the “wayfinding” signs that she proposes be erected around the township this summer.
A total of 20 major signs and 11 minor signs will be positioned around the perimeter of the township and throughout the downtown core to help visitors locate various venues and attraction. The cost of the designing and fabricating the signage would be $46,000, with half of the cost coming from Central Counties Tourism. Installation costs would be $24,000, with $8,000 coming from Central Counties.
The signs presented by Ferraro would be in the familiar green with white lettering, with standard blue symbols representing attractions, sports facilities and parks and trails. Some of the signs would be double sided and all would range in height from about 13 feet to 15 feet. Some of the attractions featured on the signs would include the Lucy Maud Montgomery home, the Foster Memorial and the Uxbridge Historical Centre.
Council is expected to reach a decision on the signage at its next meeting Monday night.
Scottish Festival returning to its roots: In a deputation to council, Stewart Bennett and Lew Gregor requested that they once again be allowed to use Elgin Park this summer for the Uxbridge Scottish Festival, a one-day event that rose from the ashes of the Highlands of Durham Games.
Bennett and Gregor asked council to agree to allow the festival to go ahead for the next five years.
In his presentation, Bennett said the festival expects to attract close to 200 Scottish dancers, making it one of the largest such events in Ontario. In addition, he said the organizers hope to bring back the children’s area that was a popular feature of the Highland Games in the early days. The children’s area saw youngsters making braided flower headbands, cardboard shields and swords and was topped off with the burning of a cardboard Viking ship.
“We’re concentrating on the family,” Bennett said.
Council referred the five-year request to staff for approval.
Dog park wants a shelter: Users of the off-leash dog park at the museum grounds have asked council for permission to build a shelter at the park.
In a letter to council, Tony Lauria, chair of the Uxbridge Dog Park Advisory Committee, said the committee wants to raise funds to build a shelter to protect park users during thunderstorms and on extremely hot days. He said the committee is looking at a small shelter of about 12 square feet, with a metal roof and open sides. Lauria estimated the cost at between $3,000 and $5,000.
Council granted approval for the fund-raising.
How’s business?: Council received the Region of Durham Business Count for 2017, which held a couple of surprises.
There were 12,364 businesses in Durham in 2017, providing a total of 196,713 jobs. That included full-time, part-time and seasonal work. Not surprisingly, the retail sector accounted for 21 per cent of business in the region and provided 17 per cent of the jobs. What did surprise was the figure showing that only one per cent of businesses in the region related to agriculture and they only provided six per cent of the total jobs.
Uxbridge accounted for only six per cent of the businesses in Durham and four per cent of the jobs. Within the township, the report said, there were 717 businesses, providing 7,175 jobs. Looked at from a local perspective, that means roughly one-third of the township’s population of about 21,000 found work within the township boundaries.
Public invited to help plan a trail
by Nancy Melcher
The Trail Capital of Canada is about to get richer with the addition of some new trails to link up with the new Rouge Urban National Park. These trails will be in the Goodwood Resource Management Tract, which lies in the southwest part of the Township adjacent to the Rouge Urban National Park.
Last summer the Green Durham Association received a $75,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation grant to create a master plan of this area. The purpose is to connect the Oak Ridges Trail to the Rouge Urban National Park, allowing walkers and hikers to travel out of the urban Toronto urban area, up onto the Oak Ridges Moraine, and along the Oak Ridges Trail.
The Green Durham Association has partnered on this project with Parks Canada, the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority, and the Oak Ridges Trail Association (ORTA). The Goodwood Trail Plan Project is underway, and the public is invited to provide input on the planning process.
There is a public engagement session scheduled for Monday, March 26, at the Goodwood Community Centre from 5 to p.m. This will be a drop-in style open house which is open to anyone interested in learning more about the project. Visitors to the session will be encouraged to share their thoughts and feedback on the Goodwood Resource Management Tract Project, including sharing ideas for opportunities for trail amenities and features of the site to highlight through trail experiences.
Representatives from the Green Durham Association, ORTA, the Trans Canada Trail Association, East Duffins Headwaters Stewardship Committee, and the Uxbridge Trails Committee will also be on hand to provide information and updates on ongoing work.
For further details on the public engagement session, see the advertisement on page 3.
“13 Ways” Installment #10 – Welcome to Uxbridge
This is the tenth “installment” in a series of columns and articles inspired by a book entitled “13 Ways To Kill Your Community.”
by Roger Varley
This tenth installment in the Cosmos’ analysis of Doug Griffiths’ book “13 Ways To Kill Your Community” and how it may or may not apply to Uxbridge explores the chapter entitled “Ignore Outsiders.” Griffiths’ himself nicely sums this chapter up in his column “Your Welcoming Little Lie,” which can be found on page 8.
While the Cosmos has made every attempt to remain neutral on the subjects it has presented during this series, it admits some bias with regards to this particular topic, and suggests that it is not a lie to say that Uxbridge is, in fact, a welcoming community.
There is plenty of evidence for this at the Cosmos itself. The newspaper’s founder, Conrad Boyce, came into town like a whirlwind, quickly taking over directorship of the Uxbridge Youth Choir and starting up Uxbridge Musical Theatre, which eventually merged with the Uxbridge Players to become OnStage Uxbridge. Not only was he welcomed into the arts community, he married an Uxbridge lady. He then went on to start the Uxbridge Cosmos with the help of a number of what could only be described as “old-time Uxbridgians.” He was welcomed.
When writer Roger Varley arrived in town, he quickly became involved with the 1st Uxbridge Scouts and the Uxbridge Players and eventually became a writer for the Uxbridge Times-Journal and, later, the Cosmos. He wrote in March 2009: “I’ve finally made it! After 20 years, I can now consider myself to be a real, honest-to-goodness Uxbridgian.”
He went on to say: “It was through Scouting, the theatre and my newspaper work that I met an amazing number of wonderful people, people who literally cared about me and welcomed me into their homes and hearts.” He was welcomed.
A few years ago, the Cosmos ran a series of interviews called “A Cup of Coffee With…” which profiled local people from all walks of life, including many newcomers to town. Invariably, the subjects were asked what brought them to Uxbridge. Their answers generally ran along the lines of they liked what they saw here and, just as invariably, that they had been made to feel welcome here. The Cosmos ran about 250 of those interviews. That’s a fair number of welcomed people.
Local real estate agent Kathy Clulow says she always gives a welcome package to new homeowners moving into town. The package is full of information about the services, facilities and organizations available in town to help the “outsiders” feel comfortable in their new community. Elaine Leigh, the BIA facilitator, does the same thing for new businesses opening in town, as does the township. Colleen Baskin, the township’s communications officer, said the township and its economic development officer, Stacey Jibb, try to get involved with new businesses by offering helpful information and even setting up, when wanted, ribbon cuttings by the mayor.
“We don’t necessarily know they’re here before they open,” Baskin said. “We could help them more if we did.”
Nevertheless, she said the township’s goal is have a more comprehensive program.
“It’s a work in progress,” she said.
Almost 40 years ago, Uxbridge welcomed the Banh family, refugees fleeing the war-torn country of Vietnam. Such was the welcome that two of the sons, Vi Tu Banh, born in Vietnam, and Michael Banh, born here, returned to Uxbridge after university to set up shop as an optometrist and dentist respectively. Just recently, Syrian refugee families were welcomed into town. The Banh brothers offered their services to the new arrivals and also donated substantially in terms of cash.
On a smaller, more intimate scale, Rev. Mark Kinghan of St. Paul’s Anglican Church welcomes anyone who cares to join him for a drink and a chat at Wixan’s Bridge every fourth Monday. Rev. Kinghan doesn’t care what denomination people are, how old they are or what their social standing is: everyone is welcome.
This isn’t to say that the township of Uxbridge is one big open-armed hug waiting to take in the world. Cliques and closed doors do exist. The editor of this newspaper grew up in Uxbridge, moving away for a few years for education and travel. When she returned, she decided to attend a popular local church with the hope of eventually joining. She was virtually ignored by the congregation for almost two years before finally leaving the church altogether.
A few years ago, the aforementioned Conrad Boyce wrote a column which contended that many newcomers to town, particularly those living in the Quaker Village area, never strayed east of the railroad tracks into downtown Uxbridge proper, preferring to cocoon themselves in their neighbourhood.
It may not be the “everyone knows everyone” town of yesteryear, but Uxbridge is, overall, a pretty friendly, welcoming little place. Just ask Thomas the Train – he keeps coming back!
Copies of “13 Ways To Kill Your Community” by Doug Griffiths are available at the Cosmos office.
Uxbridge man found dead after going for routine outing
An Uxbridge man who went missing from a local seniors’ residence last Wednesday afternoon was found deceased the following day.
John O’Halloran, 84, left Butternut Manor, on Norm Goodspeed Drive, for a walk just after noon on Wednesday, March 14. Police were contacted on Wednesday evening when O’Halloran had not yet returned to his residence. Police and helicopters searched the area through the night.
Shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, the Durham Regional Police Service announced that members of the Public Safety Unit had located the missing man, in Uxbridge. A police report says that there does not appear to be any evidence of foul play involved. A post mortem is scheduled to determine the cause of death.