Kids in Motion…

 

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Living in a small town means Facebook is quite often my first source of local news. That’s how Kids in Motion hit my radar.  The idea was born last year when Lani Siminoff and her partner Matt Martin talked about creating an indoor play space.  Port McNeill has its share of inclement weather.  Rain.  Lots of rain. Lani and Matt took the idea to friends and then the whole community.  They formed a non-profit society. Fundraisers included: a ladies movie night at Gate House Theatre, a hot dog sale, petting zoo at Orca Fest and a gofundme campaign.  In November 2016 Kids in Motion opened their doors and now six months later they’re planning phase two.  Matt Miller, who is also Secretary of the society, kindly answered my questions about how it’s all working out and what’s next.

Do you have a strategic plan? What key things are you trying to accomplish?

We want to grow the society such that we can offer programs that fill unmet, or undermet, needs in the community. Currently our main goals are to establish two new programs (in addition to our Play Centre) – the Summer Day Camp as well as the Toy Library & Makerspace. Once the new programs are established, we’ll likely need to enter a phase of consolidation.

The key objective is to make Port McNeill the undisputed best place on the island to raise a family. The single best way, in our view, of improving the health of society is to invest in the lives of children aged 0-6. The literature and experts agree that early intervention and investment in children sets their health trajectory for the rest of their lives.
What are your most urgent needs?

Our most urgent need is cash donations. We have been lucky enough to be the successful applicants for a number of grants, however it took leveraging of donations to get those grants. We are still raising funds for our combination Toy Library & Makerspace.

What do you wish people knew about Kids in Motion?

We believe what we are doing is making, and will continue to make, a big difference in the lives of children and families in Port McNeill. Having said that, we aren’t doing anything that extraordinary, and while it’s taken a lot of work it hasn’t been that difficult to start making our vision a reality. So, there are many people out there who have ideas about what they would like to see done in our community – we want people to know that things are not going to change unless they make that change happen themselves. People say that they don’t have time but I would like to challenge them to reconsider and ask if they really did have the time if they re-prioritized what they do. It’s often over-used, but we really believe in what Margaret Meade said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.”

What would be the greatest difference in helping Kids in Motion get better at what it does?

More volunteers who can dedicate energy to helping us develop new programs and consolidate our existing ones.

What differentiates Kids in Motion from other kid’s groups?

I think we have more of a focus on being an umbrella organization. What other kid’s group do is great, however they seem to exist in silos from each other. The advantage of being an umbrella organization is that it allows us to start building a brand, which helps with people recognizing us. It also allows us to expand the number of grants we can apply to.

Goals for the next 5 years?

We hope to be a small part of big improvements in health and well being outcomes for children (for example those tracked by the Early Development Instrument). We also hope to be a small part of a big cultural shift in Port McNeill whereby a larger percentage of the population is partaking in healthy activities and getting involved in the community.

Is there a board and/or leadership team?

Yes, we have a Board of Directors which consists of 6 people… we all work and have young families and do our best to volunteer our energy when we have it.

Are you collaborating with other organizations? If so examples. How would you like to enhance these efforts?

We’ve received support from other service organizations, numerous businesses and individuals. We have reached out to other societies such as the North Island Community Services and the CreativeNISS Society to explore ways to collaborate. Our Summer Camp will feature numerous guests such as foresters, biologists, artists, nurses, dietitians, yoga instructer, etc., to help provide an amazing experience of kids. We will also be working with the Vancouver Island Regional Library during the summer as part of our Summer Camp. We’ve talked to the A-Frame church about use of their community garden. We have numerous individuals who will be putting on workshops at our Makerspace. Beyond that, and going forward, we’d love to chat with any individual or group who would be interested in collaborating with us.

How do you express appreciation to your members/supporters?

First of all we offer discounts to our members to help reduce the financial burden as much as possible. We also try to be mindful of how reliant we are on community support – truly, what we offer will live and die depending upon if its something the community supports… so, we try to thank people as much as possible. We thank our volunteers on the facebook page we have set-up for them, we thank and highlight them in our newsletter as much as possible. For our large cash donors we have posted announcements on our facebook page, and have taken out newspaper ads to publicly thank them. In the case of our Play Centre we created a window decal to display the logos of our large corporate donors. We definitely try to give our thanks to supporters, but there is always room to do a better job of that.

Are you happy with the group’s results/stats so far?

We are happy as we feel we’ve come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. As we are talking about shifting culture and health outcomes, we will likely need to wait a few years before we start to get a good picture of the difference we are making. Even then it will be hard to know if outcomes are changing because what we are doing, or because of the cumulative affect of all the changes/interventions that are happening in our town. Having said that, what we do know is that we’ve had well over one thousand children visits to our Play Centre. We’ve had a senior who volunteers with us and has expressed that doing so makes her feel more connected to her community. We’ve had a mother tell us that she feels that because of the Play Centre, her older child is able to be a better big brother to his sister. We’ve had parents and children stay for 3-5 hours at a time at the Play Centre because it’s given them a place they feel they want to be. All of those results are really encouraging for us and help signal that we are on the right path.
Do you issue tax deductible receipts to donors? Receipts are available upon request, however we are a registered non-profit society, but not a registered charity at this time. That may change in the future, but in the meantime we can not offer tax-deductive receipts to donors in the same way a charity could.

Can you please explain Phase 2 – Makerspace & Toy Library

The combination Toy Library & Makerspace is going to be an all-ages space where people’s imagination and creativity will be fostered. The Toy Library is a repository of toys – children will be able to borrow toys, take them home, play with them, and return them. We believe that this will end up saving families hundreds, and potentially thousands, of dollars over time and will level the playing field for kids of different socio-economic backgrounds.

The Makerspace is a place to make things, invent, create, learn, and share. Makerspaces are relatively new, and most have a focus on exposing people to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Ours will also incorporate the Arts (STEAM). We will have tools such as a 3D printer, robotics, computers, sewing machines, a serger, a silk-screen press, crafting tools, etc. We have lined up numerous locals who will be putting on workshops for how to learn/use these tools and skills. When workshops aren’t running, the space will be available to use the tools and their new found skills.

Grants that are in the works?

We have applied to a number of grants – some which are a bit of a longshot, and others we feel we have a fighting chance to get.

How do you keep your members/supporters up to date?

We have a facebook page which we update regularly, and have a monthly newsletter. The newsletter is posted to our Play Centre window so that it can be read from both the inside and outside, and it is posted to our facebook page (www.facebook.com/pmkidsinmotion). We are also developing a webpage which we hope to have up and running soon.

How can someone get involved?

People can get involved by emailing us at pmkidsinmotion@gmail.com, or sending us a message via Facebook

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Chamber of Commerce Gala 2016

Once a year members of our business community and individuals gather together to celebrate excellence.  And the Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce really knows how to throw a party !! This year the event moved to the Lion’s Hall which was magically transformed with draped tulle, crisp white table linens and intimate lighting. The glamorous ambiance entirely fitting to honour this year’s nominees.

Multi-tasker extraordinaire Gaby Wickstrom was the master of ceremonies.  Wickstrom is not only this year’s Chamber President but also manages the organization from her home office: answering the phone, the email messages, attending conferences and meetings.  This night she was head cheerleader reminding us of the excellence & passion businesses and people provide the community.

Originally I was going to post a picture of my dinner.  Instead I’ll just mention the buffet was delicious and plentiful.  And the extra hot horseradish served with the roast beef was a big hit at our table *insert watering eyes here*.  Thanks Yanni and staff from the Sportsman Restaurant for all my favourite winter comfort food.  But I do digress.

Generous sponsor support enabled the Chamber to bring up Steven Falk and Richard Jansen, motivational speakers from “Switchback” who entertained and educated in their effective tag team delivery.  Their message was simple but profound.  Whether you’re a faller in the woods or a Chamber it’s essential to be on a team that comes together rather than falls apart when under pressure.  Not sure I’ve heard the word bullshit so many times in one presentation but it effectively underscored the negative, dark place we go when in fight or flight mode.

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The Chamber Gala — a night to network, socialize, break bread together, learn a little something about teamwork & celebrate businesses and volunteers

New Business of the Year

The nominees in this category were:
Carson Roofing Ltd.
Cluxewe Cafe & Waterfront Bistro
43K Wilderness Solutions
Flora Borealis
The Garden Shack Garden Centre
The Rock Pub

This company moved to the region in 2014. The owner is a home grown North Islander returning to the region, employing local people. They are known for quality work and excellent customer service. In a predominantly male led industry, this young woman is carving a name for herself.

New Business of the Year Winner — Carson Roofing Ltd.

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Michelle Carson, owner of Carson Roofing Ltd. & Gaby Wickstrom, Chamber President

Small Business of the Year

The nominees in this category were:
Absolutely Grape
The Bike Shed & Outdoor Store
Carson Roofing Ltd.
The Clothes Inn
Community Futures of Mount Waddington
Kal Tire
Mugz Coffee & Tea House
Ragged Edge Community Network
Robin’s Pet Supplies
Shoprite Marine
Subway
Timberland Sports Center

They go above and beyond with customer service and if they don’t have it in the store they will surely get it for you in a timely manner. They are supportive of the community and have a wide range of products for people of all income levels and interests. Their staff is friendly and knowledgeable and have created a biking group who are dedicated to improving people’s health.

Small Business of the Year winner — The Bike and Outdoor Store

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Eva Koel, owner of The Bike & Outdoor Store and Michelle Alfred, Chamber Board Member

Home-Based Business of the Year

The nominees in this category were:
Carson Roofing Ltd.
The Green Baron – Landscaping by Kirsten Baron
Kallie’s Kupcakes
Leanna Masterman – Epicure
Shayla Fraser- Steeped Tea
Trine Pederson – Hairdresser

This home business’s client base has grown from last year. They are committed to the Farmer’s Market and have an excellent product, customer service and customer loyalty. As a business owner they are involved in the community in many areas.

Home Based Business of the Year winner — Kallie’s Cupcakes

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Katherine Tjepkema of Kallie’s Cupcakes & Gaby Wickstrom

Tourism Award

The nominees in this category were:
BC Ferries – Port McNeill Terminal
James Willson – Silver King Ventures
Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures
MacKay Whale Watching
Nimmo Bay Resort
North Island Marina
Stubbs Island Whale Watching
Telegraph Cove Resort

This business has dedicated their lives to tourism and is always full of people in the summer. They are expanding and upgrading their facilities each year. The owner has been involved with the regional tourism advisory committee. They hold annual events open to other communities. In the summer the place is a bustling community with people visiting from all over the world.

Tourism Award winner — Telegraph Cove Resort

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Terrance Eissfeldt, Chamber Board Member & Geordie Graham, owner of Telegraph Cove Resort

Customer Service Excellence

The nominees in this category were:
Carson Roofing Ltd.
Jennie-Lynn Noel – Technician at People’s Drug Mart
Kayla Long – Tia’s Cafe
Kimberly Bentley – The Clothes Inn
Liquor Store Staff
Michelle Monk – The Bargain Shop
North Island Marina
Pharmacist Brittany Swanson – People’s Drug Mart
Robert Russell – The Shed Outdoor Store
Robin Neil – Robin’s Pet Supplies
Stacey Coy – Gus’s Pub

Some of the things said of this recipient were: She is always helpful and has a huge smile on her face when you come into the store. She will find what you need and goes out of her way to find it at the other store or order something in to keep customers happy. When you come out of the change room looking fabulous, she squeals and it’s an instant sale. She is an amazing person to deal with and work with.

Customer Service Excellence winner — Kimberly Bentley from The Clothes Inn

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Shelley Frost, Chamber Board member & Kimberly Bentley from Clothes Inn

Professional Merit Award

The nominees in this category were:
Dr. Priean Armogam
Dr. Brian Bostrom – Dental Clinic
Brenda Isaac – VIHA
Christie Dreger – Community Futures
Greg Muirhead – Teacher at NISS, Fireman, Ranger
Jonathon Fintoft – Western Forest Products
Jonathon Lok – Strategic Natural Resource Consultants
Terrence Eissfeldt – West Coast Helicopters

This person is an active, gung-ho teacher of Outdoor Pursuits helping to mold young people into well rounded individuals. They are also involved with the Junior Canadian Rangers and the Fire Department.

Professional Merit Award — Greg Muirhead 

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Greg Muirhead & Chris Stewart, Chamber Board member

Senior of the Year

The nominees in this category were:
Clarice Newman
Gloria LeGal
Helen Scott
Joanne Parker
Kathy Martin
Lois Kollman
Paddy Hinton
Peter Barrett
Tom & Julia Hopkins

Some of the things said of this recipient were: A retired school teacher/principal Kathy Martin has spent her life caring about literacy by fostering a love of books & reading, through drama and education. A master grant writer Kathy wrote for and received funds for the Mother Goose program — a traveling bus full of books taking literacy to children on the North Island . Those same grant writing skills resulted in Missoula Children’s Theatre coming to Port McNeill many times over the years. Fostering creativity and engaging youth in the arts Missoula is an amazing program that takes a group of kids and in one week has them learn lines and perform a play for the community. Kathy is a past Rotary member where she was active in literacy programs such as Born to Read (packages for newborns) and selling books for beginner readers at Craft Fairs.

Senior of the Year winner — Kathy Martin (Unable to attend the gala)

Youth Entrepreneur Award
The nominees in this category are:
Danielle Lacasse
Mathew Harder

Both of these nominees are exceptional young people in our community. The recipient of this award is super involved in the community in many areas: guides, quatse hatchery, science fair, etc. She has her own photography business, is an honor roll student and an exemplary ambassador for our community.

Youth Entrepreneur Award winner — Danielle Lacasse

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Danielle Lacasse is in the middle of the photo with her award, surrounded by other teachers & students from NISS

Innovation Award

From time to time the Chamber, where we see someone is achieving this, will give the innovation award to a business who truly thinks outside of the box in achieving success.

This year we are giving this award to a special group of young people who started a company with a vision of a better cup of coffee.  If you have not have the privilege to have a tour of their school and what they have achieved, you have missed out.  Their teacher Doug Abbot saw an opportunity and allowed the students to run with it.  In building their business they collaborated with many disciplines: computer science, woodworking, metalwork and the list goes on.  Prior to the tour, I had no idea what went into roasting a coffee bean.  They are garnering attention from other Island schools and this summer they provided all the coffee for Kingfisher kayak tours.

Innovation Award winner — 1Eleven Roasting Company – NISS Students

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Damaris Sadler, Chamber Board member, Adrian Pendergast & Doug Abbot both teachers at NISS & Gaby Wickstrom

Community Spirit Award
The nominees in this category were:
The Gazette Hamper Fund
Christina Hinton
Jay Dixon
Jessica Brown
North Island Farmer’s Market
Port McNeill Events Committee
Port McNeill Kids in Motion
Port McNeill Rotary Club
Robin Neil – Robin’s Pet Supplies
Steve & Jessica Jackman – North Island Marina
Terry Eissfeldt – The Gate House Community Association
Annie LeBlanc

This group of people is dedicated to developing a market where locally produced products are sold. This little organization has grown every year, is inclusive of the other regions and is involved in establishing food security for the North Island. They work incredibly hard not only to develop their own products, but support one another in order to be successful. They are inclusive of all communities and try to rove around the island so that they have a presence in each community.

Community Spirit Award winner — The North Island Farmers and Artisans Market Association

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Neva Perrott, Shannon Shepley & Gaby Wickstrom

Chamber Spirit Award

This special award is given to a chamber person who is dedicated to building up the business community. This year’s recipient has owned many businesses through the years. She is a passionate community person, who is known to give back. It’s in her nature to make her community better. She is supportive of business and always looks at ways where we as a Chamber can serve to make the business climate better. She has volunteered as our Treasurer for the last year and a half.

Chamber Spirit Award winner — Annie Leblanc (Unable to attend the gala)

Community Arts Award

The nominees in this category were:
Alana Collins – Portside Dance Academy
Gate House Theatre
Heather Brown – Artist
Pewi Alfred – First Nations Dance and Language/Alert Bay
Teresa Charlton – Highland Dance
Wild Heart Music

Some of the things said of this recipient were: They have successfully run for the last four years and have branched out into many communities. They perform, bring in professionals for young people to work with and sing with enthusiasm. Their program has been approved by the School District 7 schools and participating with: NISS, AJ Elliott, Sunset, Cheslakees, Sea View, Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw & Eke Me-xi Learning Centre.

Community Arts Award winner — Wild Heart Music

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Katherine Wykes, Roma Joseph, Linda Waines, Deborah Murray all from Wild Heart Music & Gaby Wickstrom

Business of the Year

The nominees in this category were:

C.A.B.
Carson Roofing
Coastal Community Insurance Services
Cluxewe Waterfront Bistro
Mugz Coffee & Tea House
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort
Petro Canada- Port McNeill & Hyde Creek
North Island Marina & Fuel Dock
Robin’s Pets Supplies
The Rock Pub
The Shed Outdoor Store
Shoprite/Rona
Strategic Natural Resource Consultants
Timberland Sports Centre
West Coast Helicopters Maintenance & Contracting Ltd.

This winner meets and exceeds the criteria of their nomination.  They employ our youth, providing them with valuable work experience and morals.  Each time I go there I am greeted by a working student or local and I recognize that importance.  The ambiance there is great and offers peace, quiet and privacy if you want it.  You can pop in for a quick specialty coffee or stay awhile in a relaxing ambiance with some great comfort food.  They are community minded donating gift certificates & coffee/goodies to many local events.

Business of the Year winner — Mugz Tea & Coffee House (Unable to attend the gala)

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners and special thanks to the sponsors and those who donated to the silent auction.  Each one of you helped make the Gala a sparkling success.

For more information on the Port McNeill Chamber of Commerce visit their website at: http://www.portmcneill.net, email them at portmcneillchamber@gmail.com or call 250-230-9952.