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September 2007
September 2007

Table of Contents

Family Matters 
Living Green: Eating Local Food
MUC: A life-changing experience
Jinglin’ Spurs 4H Club
SB6: Let young children make choices
The truth about head lice
For Art’s Sake
Faces of Education
Explore Powell River


Family Matters
By Isabelle Southcott

Isabelle SouthcottWhen separation causes anxiety

“Is it a Mommy Day?”

My youngest son would ask this question each morning at the breakfast table soon after he began going to daycare. I dreaded telling him yes because I hated seeing him cry and beg me to stay when I had to leave.

Separation anxiety isn’t an issue for some children but for others, it’s a huge deal. My oldest son Matthew was always so secure. When he was five, he flew to Vancouver and spent an entire weekend without either of his parents. He had so much fun that he didn’t have time to miss me. When I phoned him to see how he was he said: “Mom, I think you miss me more than I miss you.”

Alexander, my youngest son is another story. He always “checked in” with me. When he was a toddler his way of doing this was to say “Mom, I love you,” every two minutes. At first it drove me crazy but when I learned it was his way of connecting I relaxed.

When Alexander began going to daycare, he cried when I left him. It was bearable as long as his older brother was going to daycare but as soon as Matthew went to school Alexander became increasingly anxious about me leaving him. When his best friend moved away, he refused to go to daycare and one day he told me he quit! Fortunately, grandma and grandpa stepped in and said they’d look after him.

School started and although there were a few blips along the way, there was nothing serious. Then, at the age of seven, my son’s separation anxiety returned. I gather this isn’t unusual given that he’d had to deal with a couple of traumatic, life changing events but still, I was unprepared for how anxious he became.

It broke my heart when he’d tell me he was getting that funny feeling and start to cry because he knew soon I’d take him to school and leave him. Sometimes I’d stay a while with him and other times I’d just leave. Sometimes I’d have to go pick him up and take him with me for an hour or two, sometimes he’d miss the whole day of school.

According to the experts, separation anxiety is a normal part of childhood development although it can be unsettling. Some children never have it; some experience it slightly while others experience it to a greater degree.

Separation anxiety typically develops between eight months and one year however some children may experience it later. And for others, certain life stresses can trigger feelings of anxiety about being separated from a parent: a new child care situation, or caregiver, moving to a new place, tension at home, divorce or another life altering experience.

As children head back to school and for some, head to school for the first time, there are bound to be some who suffer from separation anxiety. When this happens, both the child and the parent or parents suffer. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child cry and beg you to stay! It’s heartbreaking.

A child’s unwillingness to leave you is a good sign that healthy attachments have been formed. Eventually he’ll remember that you always return. In the meantime, be calm and consistent. Create a goodbye ritual during which you say a pleasant loving and firm goodbye. Reassure him that you’ll be back. Follow through on promises and make sure you return when you have promised to return. This is the only way your child will develop the confidence that he can make it through this time.


Living Green
By Emma Levez Larocque

Local food consumption good for planet

The first summer and fall I spent in Powell River, I remember being overwhelmed by the amount and variety of fresh food all around me. Salmonberries, cherries, plums, apples, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, peaches, blackberries—reminiscent of Christina Rossetti’s famous poem Goblin Market, this embarrassment of riches was—and still is—enough to make anyone’s mouth water.

We are extremely fortunate to live in this land of plenty, and yet we have become spoiled by the convenience and immediacy of large supermarkets at which we can purchase almost any kind of fresh food at any time of year.

Eating LocalBut there is a movement afoot to bring more local foods into our everyday lives and menus. There are lots of great reasons to eat local—and especially organic—foods. First, plain and simple, it’s good for you and your family. Local produce is fresh, and partly because it has had longer to ripen on the vine, it tastes great. It is also highly nutritious since it hasn’t spent days or weeks in storage or in transit. Making the choice to eat local foods also means reacquainting yourself with the seasons, and foods that are naturally available at any given time of year, which brings a healthy variety into any diet.

Local foods are good for the planet. One of the strongest arguments for eating local is to decrease pollution caused by the ground or air transportation of foods that are shipped around the world. When considering a food’s environmental impact, there are a couple of things to think about: what was used to help it grow? —if a lot of chemicals were used to make it grow locally, it might be better to go with an organic variety that came from further away; did it travel by air or land? (because of its limited shelf life produce is often shipped by air, so produce is a great thing to focus on buying locally).

Finally, local foods are good for the community. When we buy local foods, we support the livelihoods of our neighbours. In addition, searching out local foods can be a great experience, allowing us to meet and get to know the people who live around us. That was one of the unexpected pleasures for many participants of the 50-Mile Eat Local Challenge that Lyn Adamson spearheaded in Powell River in 2006 and 2007. “Fun” wasn’t one of the words she had expected people to use to describe the experience.

“I had expected people to say it was hard, or challenging,” she says. “But more than that, people are excited about it because it gives them the opportunity to meet interesting people and learn interesting things about their own community.”

The challenge, which ran from July 1 to August 5 last year, was so well received, that Lyn decided to organize it for a second season (August 11 thru September 23 this year). More than 250 Powell Riverites became “locavores” in 2006, and that number grew to 400 plus in 2007. The whole idea behind the challenge is to get people thinking about where their food is coming from, and to make them more aware of the choices they are making when they select their food. Participants receive a weekly email with news, inspiration and information about where to find local foods, including stores and restaurants that are supporting the campaign by featuring local items. To join the challenge, email Lyn at saltydogcottage@shaw.ca.

The 50-Mile Challenge will wrap up at this year’s Fall Fair, held at the grounds of the Open Air Market. The market is a well-known and much-loved venue for local, organic food. At this time of year—and especially with the challenge ongoing—it’s a rush to the gates at opening time on weekends. If you have your heart set on fresh produce, make sure you get there early!



A life-changing experience
Malaspina University-College

By Jill Sickavish

The ability to express oneself in an environment full of people from diverse backgrounds is hard. However, at Malaspina University-College this ability was achievable and even promoted by teachers and students. There were so many classmates on different paths than I, yet we were still genuine friends. One student and mother decided to go back to school after many years of being away and still managed to maintain great grades while continuing her work as a mom. One gentleman in my history class knew so much about Canadian history because he was alive during World War II, and his knowledge of it was still so vivid. Then there were many students like me, who had just graduated from high school and wanted to work in Powell River, while still being able to go to school and live at home.

Each class meant new discussions and new debates. In Criminology with Professor Joanne Simister, students learned about deviance in the eyes of society and what behaviours and characteristics are thought of as acceptable, or not, from a North American perspective as well as a global perspective. Here we could express what we thought was deviant or not, whether the topic was religion, sexuality, clothing attire, or mental health. Professor Simister made the environment in the classroom so open we could share with students what we normally would not share with our parents or friends. It was evident to me by the way I saw certain people in the class change in positive ways that this class was therapeutic on many levels. One could open up, expose their values, feelings and beliefs, without feeling judged.

Malaspina University-CollegeProfessor Michael Thoms was so passionate about reliving, telling and explaining the past, that in some classes, it felt like we were actually a part of the past. The most life-changing experience in the history class was when Fran Tait, a woman who endured many harsh years at a residential school in BC, shared her story with us. For one student from Ontario, this was the first time he had even met a First Nations person, yet alone heard a part of their past. For me, her story made me realize how much tragedy First Nations people have endured and how they are still so emotionally wounded by the scarring events.

Liz Webster, professor of our Anthropology class, made the class interesting by allowing for open debate. We studied different cultures’ perceptions of cultures all around the world. Often our professor would write a thought-provoking question on the board and ask us our opinions. When we were discussing a chapter on marriage we were given questions like, “What is the difference between romance and marriage? What is your opinion on gay marriages in Canada?” She allowed us to debate, even though at times it did stir up a lot of emotions. This class was alive with drama, passion and variety from the different inputs of students that it definitely kept the classroom entertaining.

One woman at the university, Dawn McLean, was not a professor but was in charge of the writing centre. Students in the process of finishing an essay or an assignment went here and Dawn, an English teacher, would edit and even give ideas to allow for a more successful essay. Often there would be eight students in her room at a time, yet she still managed to help each student in an organized fashion and with incredible joy! Not once did she get frustrated with the chaos of multiple students wanting her attention. She had a personal yet professional relationship with each student while helping us edit our essays. For some students she would stay past closing time just to make sure an essay had correct spelling, a proper reference page and all the technical parts of the essay that could make or break one’s grade.

The teachers, staff and students created such a healthy environment at the university it was a second home to me and other students. There were no cliques, separate groups, no feeling of being left out. The small class sizes allowed us to get to know each other on a personal level and many of us became friends. My good grades due to great teachers have given me the ability to get into a reputable school, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, for broadcast journalism.

So many colleges and universities offer the same courses as Malaspina—criminology, history and anthropology—however it is the way the class is being taught and the students involved who really make the experience more than ordinary. Like cars, they all get you to where you want to go, but it’s the reputable name that make the car, and the university, stand out.



Brain exercise for seniors
Malaspina brings ElderCollege to Powell River

By Isabelle Southcott

Malaspina University-College is bringing ElderCollege to its Powell River campus this fall.

“We have a lot of young retirees who are healthy and lively and they’re interested in keeping their brain active,” said Dawn McLean, ElderCollege project coordinator. McLean is excited about what’s in store for Powell River’s 55 plus year olds and judging by the response she’s had so far, so is her target audience. “We had an information session about this in May and the place was packed. We had to keep going out and getting more chairs.”

Courses are low cost for those 55 and older and a 65-year or older ElderCollege member gets free tuition at Malaspina University-College courses in Powell River.
“Fifty-five is the new 65 because people retire younger,” said McLean.

She’s been busy working on the fall line-up of courses and wants everyone to know that she is open to suggestions. In fact, McLean wants people to come forward with topics and volunteer to give talks and workshops. Confirmed for this fall is Survival Spanish for Travellers with Carmen Kuczma; Memory Books/Journalling with Carmen Kuczma; Meditation and Relaxation Techniques with Rosemary Entwislei; Let’s Talk About Stories with Allan Brown and Wendy Thomas and An Enthusiast’s Guide to Opera with John Silver. These courses will be two hours in length once a week and will run for six weeks.

There will also be a selection of one-session courses that are two to three hours in length.

They are: Up Front and Personal with the Polar Bear presented by Marilyn Brooks and Diana Holm; A Fall Planter, in conjunction with Recreation Complex; Live Safe, Live Wise presented by Corporal Garry Cox of the Oceanside RCMP (free to ElderCollege members); Safe Driving for Seniors with Tim Schewe, RCMP retired, (free to ElderCollege members); Brushing Up for Seniors on Traffic Safety with Tim Schewe, RCMP retired (free to ElderCollege members).

“The model for our classes will be based on what Malaspina does in Parksville,” said McLean. Courses are six weeks in length; each class is two hours long and is offered once a week. “We will try to avoid night time classes as some people have difficulty driving at night.”

Malaspina’s ElderCollege has been incredibly successful in other communities. “Our demographics are changing in Powell River. More people are moving here from other communities that have elder colleges and they have requested it here.”

Special interest one-day workshops and really cool talks and presentations, such as Up Front and Personal with the Polar Bear, will also be offered as part of ElderCollege. “We are looking for people who are passionate about a subject and who are willing to share their knowledge,” said McLean. “We’ll get them a classroom and an audience. You do not have to be a certified teacher do this.”

Marilyn Brooks and Diana Holm are passionate about polar bears and they had such an incredible experience when they visited Churchill, Manitoba in October 2006 that they want to share their passion with others.

“It was a life long dream,” said Holm. “Marilyn and I have been friends for a long time and we did not know we shared the same passion.”

“It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” said Holm. “We learned so much about polar bears.”

If you have an idea, would like to volunteer to teach a course or workshop, or learn more about ElderCollege please contact McLean at 604 485-2878.



Jinglin’ Spurs is Powell River’s 4-H horse club

By Maree Lennox

Jinglin’ Spurs Club is the only active 4-H club in Powell River. 4-H is an international organization that was established in the early 1900s to improve the knowledge of agriculture in young people. In Canada, there are approximately 7000 active horse club members.

4H ClubThere are eight members in our club from ages 10 to 18 and two 4-H leaders along with our coach. Our program runs throughout the whole year. Project days to help us to learn new and safer ways to handle our horses both on the ground and in the saddle.

Education boards help us to practice the art of display. Speeches help youth with public speaking, confidence in front of a crowd, and how to express ideas.

Jinglin’ Spurs holds meetings in the Trail Riders Club house in Paradise Exhibition Park. Clinics and shows are held at Therapeutic Riding’s indoor ring and Trail Riders’ outdoor ring. We are looking forward to participating in the upcoming Fall Fair Horse Show at the Paradise Valley Exhibition Grounds, September 22-23.

Jinglin’ Spurs members have gone on out-of-town trips to the Lower Mainland Quarter Horse Association Show, Fraser Downs race track/stables and the Courtenay Fair.

4H helps us learn how to take care of our horses properly, learn new techniques to try and make friends in the process. If you are interested joining 4-H please contact Diana Skillen at 604 483.2445.



Success by 6
Let young children make simple choices

By Colleen Mudry

Imagine your life if you could make only limited choices or decisions. You are told when to sleep, when to eat, what to eat, what to wear and your daily schedule is out of your control. This is the world of the young child.

Toddlers are striving for autonomy and they want to take some control of their lives-- thus the famous “NO!” Preschoolers are a lot more compliant when allowed to make simple decisions throughout their day. This easy parenting tip, one of several that a wise parent has in their “tricks of the trade” toolkit, is to frequently allow a child to make some simple choices. Examples include: “Do you want your cereal in the blue bowl or the yellow bowl?” (Not: “Do you want to eat breakfast?”) Or “Do you want to wear your brown pants or your red shorts?” instead of “Do you want to get dressed?”

The success in giving controlled choices is that the parent gives the clear and specific choice and is content with either one. If you want your child to leave the park soon, do not ask, “Do you want to leave the park?” (NO!). Instead give a simple choice: “ Do you want to leave the park now or after five more pushes on the swing?” If bedtime is approaching say “ It’s ten minutes until bedtime. Do you want me to read you one story or three stories before bed?” You were probably planning to read several stories anyway and your child will be so distracted by the exciting choice of stories that they may forget to resist the reality of bedtime.

The opportunities for giving simple choices are abundant throughout your day. You may not get very excited about whether your sandwich is cut in triangles or rectangles, or if you use the green or pink shampoo (not: “Do you want to wash your hair?”), but your young child will enjoy making those decisions.

For children under five it is best to give only two choices at one time, and use clear and simple language. If your child insists on having or doing something that was not offered as a choice, it works well to repeat the choices and then simply say “It looks like you are finding it hard to make your choice. I will choose for you this time.”

Offering frequent, limited choices teaches a very important life lesson to your child. They will be making choices their whole life and living with the consequences of their decisions. A child that has enjoyed the responsibility of making small choices will be prepared and confident in making larger ones.

Raising a young child is very rewarding and frequently frustrating, for both of you. Giving controlled choices frequently really is an almost magical way to avoid power struggles, non-compliance and temper tantrums. Your child feels important; in control and that you value and support their decisions. This deceptively simple strategy will create a more harmonious parent/child relationship and what parent does not strive for that?



Dr. Paul MartiquetteThe truth about head lice

Dr Paul Martiquet, Medical Health Officer

Head lice have been annoying humans for at least 72,000 years, and, contrary to what many people think, they are not a sign of dirty, unkempt hair. And your children do not get head lice because you are not a bad parent. Suddenly discovering head lice on your child’s head need not be a complete disaster.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about head lice but the best place start is with the “shame” factor surrounding an infestation.

Head lice can affect people of any income or social level. Although often associated with poor hygiene and poverty, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, head lice are commonly found on those with good hygiene and in upper and middle class conditions. Your socioeconomic group neither protects you from an infestation, nor guarantees one.

Preventing the spread of head lice among children is extremely difficult. Because they commonly share hats, combs and other items, and are often in close proximity, head lice find the trip from one head to another short and easy.

A simple head lice infestation can have big social, emotional and financial implications for families. It can also significantly impact a child’s school attendance, academic performance and self-esteem. It is unfortunate that in this day and age there are still those who shun people with head lice. How often have we heard otherwise intelligent, capable adults talk about the subject as if it were a dirty, preventable disease? (Don’t answer that. It was rhetorical.)

Certainly, the itching from the infestation is annoying, and scratching can sometimes lead to skin infections, but head lice are not really a health problem. Because lice tend to live their lives very near the scalp, they do not care if your hair is long or short. People with long and short hair are equally likely to be infected.

So what exactly are head lice? A head louse is a small parasite about the size of a sesame seed, usually tan or grey in color. They have six legs with small claws at the end of each leg. Each small claw is perfectly adapted to hold on tightly to the human hair shaft. They are wingless and do not hop, jump or fly.

Head lice only live, feed and breed on the human head. They do not live on animals or birds and do not survive more than three days off the head.

The life cycle of a head louse is about 21 to 30 days. The louse starts out as an egg or nit. The female lays her eggs and glues them tightly to the shaft of the hair close to the scalp. Nits are commonly found behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. They are usually light brown to tan in color and slightly fattened.

The nit hatches after seven to ten days and a head louse nymph emerges. It takes the nymph 7 to 10 days to mature before it can mate and begin laying more eggs. The mature head louse can live 7 to10 days and if female, can lay up to 150 eggs in its lifetime.

The louse clings to hairs with its claws and sucks blood from the scalp several times a day. Females lay five eggs each night (we have people counting so we know). The ‘job’ of a louse is to find an opportunity to get onto another head. They do this by clambering across a bridge of hair. It cannot jump. Eggs can survive for five days off the head so can be spread by shared hats or helmets, brushes, combs, earphones or bedding.

There are so many myths floating around about head lice. Unfortunately, these myths seem to have an ability to climb from one head into another, gripping tightly to the prejudice and lack of understanding in its host. Next time you hear about head lice, maybe you can educate the speaker (gently).

Children who contract head lice and their parents have no reason to be embarrassed or alarmed, but they already have enough dealing with the problem to not need misguided judgment. And by the way, you do not have to shave their heads to rid the lice.

Dr Paul Martiquet is the Medical Health Officer for Powell River and the Sunshine Coast and other coastal communities.




For Art's Sake

Busy season for Powell River artists
By Jessica Colasanto

It was a busy summer for the arts in our area. From the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific’s performances to Texada Island’s Jazz on the Rocks, from Sea Fair to the Sunshine Music Festival, great music filled the air—much of it from local artists.

This year’s Art in the Park celebration was expanded to two days, drawing excellent participation from artists and featuring a wide variety of demonstrations for the public to enjoy; the Powell River Studio Tour offered us a chance to meet local artists from Lund to Saltery Bay on their own turf.

Sometimes people feel they don’t understand art, that there’s something about it that they just don’t get. Events like Art in the Park and the Studio Tour give our local artists a chance to help demystify the arts in a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere, and it’s a great way for the public to connect with local artwork. You don’t need to speak with the artist to connect with the art, though—it’s enough to spend a few moments observing a piece, until you can name what it is that does or doesn’t appeal to you. Trust your instincts: there are no right or wrong answers, and your interpretation needn’t match that of the artist.

Opening receptions, which are typically very festive social events, also offer an opportunity to chat with the artist (although you certainly don’t need to feel that a conversation will be expected of you; you’re really there to enjoy the art and grab some refreshments.) Two such openings are happening this month and are free to the public.

On September 10th, local photographer Robert Colasanto will hold his opening for Back to the Image: The Classical Approach Revisited. A retrospective, he has applied today’s giclée printing techniques to photos he’s taken over the past thirty years. Some reflect exactly what his camera captured, while others have been edited with PhotoShop for fun. They’ll be on display at Bemused Bistro (4623 Marine Avenue) throughout the month of September.
September 28th brings the opening for the Malaspina Arts Society’s member show Fall Fair, a mixed media display that will run from September 26th through October 31st at the Malaspina University-College’s Malaspina Exhibition Centre.

Another way to connect with artwork is to try your hand at being an artist. Several of our local artists lead courses for students of all levels. Barbara Langmaid and Megan Dill have procured a designated art room at the Powell River Academy of Music to hold classes for different age groups beginning this month; they also plan to bring in guest instructors to host workshops and run life model paint/draw drop-in sessions for adults. Malaspina University-College offers a variety of courses this fall with Ursula Medley, Wendy Brown, and Rick Capella. Contact the respective institutions for more details.

There’s no shortage of art happenings as autumn approaches. For movie lovers, Suncoast Cinematheque begins a new series of films on Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning this month at the Patricia Theatre, with follow-up discussions organized through the ElderCollege at Malaspina University-College. The Patricia also begins a new season of monthly parlour concerts, For the Love of Music. Contact the theatre for more information.

While September is the last month for the open-air market held every Saturday and Sunday at Paradise Valley and the Townsite Artisans Market on Saturday afternoons in front of the Old Courthouse Inn, Wednesday evenings will continue to feature local wares at the Cranberry Market in the Unitarian Hall—their wintertime popularity has turned them into a year-round staple. And don’t forget to check the courtyard of StoneOwl Earthworks for the brand new Willingdon Market.

These emerging and ongoing events are certainly a testament to the vitality of our cultural capital. Include some of them in your plans this fall and connect with our local arts scene!



Faces of Education

StrongStart gives children best possible chance
By Rita John

Powell River has exciting news for families with preschool children aged three and four years. This community has been included in a government initiative that supports early learning. Starting September 10, School District 47 will be offering a new, free program called StrongStart. This program is funded by the Ministry of Education and will be offered in the Early Years Centre above Brooks Senior Secondary School at 6486 Hemlock Street.

Strong StartStrongStart programs offered throughout the province have been developed to support a smooth and successful transition for children and families into kindergarten and to support families as the primary educators of their children. Early learning occurs because of natural curiosity, but optimal growth occurs when significant adults actively participate in their preschooler’s learning. StrongStart programs support adults so they can provide purposeful, play-based, developmentally appropriate early learning experiences for preschoolers in their lives. They emphasize building and supporting strong adult/child bonds and provide an opportunity for preschoolers and their significant adults to attend a preschool program together.

The program will introduce activities that promote all areas of learning critical to preschoolers and will help to lay a foundation for learning. Each age in a child’s life corresponds to the appropriate developmental stage and at each of the stages there are activities that optimally promote growth. Children’s relationships, experiences, and the environments they find themselves in during the early years greatly influence whether, and in which ways they realize their full potential to learn. The program is planned with the understanding that preschool children learn through play. Carefully selected materials and activities will promote key areas of learning: social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and early literacy. Kate Boyd, a qualified Early Childhood and Infant/Toddler Educator will facilitate all learning. Age appropriate learning will be integrated into activities focusing imagination, building and problem solving, water and sand play, singing, creative play, active play, and story time. The program will also include visits from community experts who work with the preschool population. They will be there to share information about preschoolers as well as preschool services available in the community.

Programs offered in each session will be structured and predictable, but the program does not require children to be there at the start or stay until the end of the sessions; they are welcome to drop in at any time while the program is running. Offering sessions in this way invites families to come when they can and stay for as long as they can. The program is also offered at different times of the day to accommodate different family schedules. Preschool children can attend all sessions if a parent or caregiver can bring them. The StrongStart program will be in session Monday afternoons from 12:15-2:30, Tuesday evenings from 6:15-7:30, and Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings from 9:15-11:45. Each child coming to the program will be asked to register at the first session they attend. Registration will need to be done by a parent so they can identify any alternate caregiver(s). Adults attending with their three or four year old are welcome to bring a younger child as well as one other preschooler besides their own. Any working parent, who will be sending their child to the centre with another adult, and would like to pre-register their child, can contact Rita John at 604.485.6271 extension 2244 for a registration form.

This new StrongStart program will give parents new opportunities to share in their child’s early learning experiences, connect with and learn from other parents/caregivers, receive valuable child development information and access information that will help connect them to other resources in the community. If there are any questions or comments about this program they can be directed to Rita John, either by email rjohn@sd47.bc.ca or by phone at (604) 485-6271 ext 2244. Information and brochures are also available at the front desk at the School Board Office, 4351 Ontario Avenue.



Explore Powell River

September 2007: Click to enlarge
by Madison Dufour