Cowichan Coffee Time: Accomplishments, accolades and donations

Lorene Benoit presents a bursary to Cowichan Secondary student Keisha Sampson. (submitted)
WO1 Emma Youden, glider pilot and most senior cadet at Comox CFTC, explains the controls of a glider to Robert Falcon Ouellette, MP for Winnipeg Central. (Capt. A. Sargent, UPAR Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre photo)
Malcolm Taylor, 12, at the 2013 Victoria Day parade, left, and 2019 Steveston Salmon Festival parade. (submitted)
CTRA participant Bryan Downey enjoys a ride. (submitted)

• Cowichan Spirit of Women has accomplished a lot in the Valley since 1992. Retirement plans have now culminated with this year’s final bursary awards.

CSW has been giving back to the community via bursaries since 2016.

Funds raised from the IWD committee that was active for almost 20 years also contributed to CSW bursary funds when this committee passed on the IWD torch in 2017.

In four years CSW has given $6,500 in bursaries to Cowichan graduating women pursuing further career education. This year CSW presented four awards of $500.

2019 winners are: Cowichan Secondary — Keisha Sampson; Frances Kelsey — Bennett Meyer; Chemainus — Janae Duerksen; and Lake Cowichan — Jesse Porter.

“Again this year, the selection was difficult. There are so many deserving, talented, intelligent and community minded young women who applied,” said Lorene Benoit, one of the CSW founding members. “They will make our community proud.”

CSW will continue the social gatherings at the Sands Reception Centre on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month, open to everyone. It starts with 6 p.m. yoga and 7 p.m. movie, free popcorn and beverages. Just show up to get on the list for future notices.

• “PLAYSAFE, spot the danger before you play!” That’s the message Malcolm Taylor, 12, of Cobble Hill, has been delivering to kids along parade routes since he was six years old.

He joined The War Amps float in the recent Steveston Salmon Festival parade, in Richmond, encouraging other kids to be aware of the dangers in their play environments. Malcolm, born a left arm amputee, is a member of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. He is well qualified to pass on the PLAYSAFE message as he knows what it is like to live without a limb and has met children who have lost limbs in accidents.

• Cadet Warrant Officer First Class (WO1) Emma Youden from Duncan has been appointed as the cadet chief warrant officer at Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre for the summer. This is the highest position.

WO1 Youden has been a cadet with 744 Cowichan Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron for five years and impressed all the senior staff with her leadership ability and willingness to work hard. When her appointment was announced a loud round of applause went up from all the staff cadets.

“This is really cool!” said Youden. “I get to see things from a different angle. Usually I am in with all the other cadets and I can judge my progress by those around me. Now I see everything from an outside point of view. I get to see a bigger picture.”

During the summer she is responsible for the morale and welfare of all the cadets attending Comox CFTC. She is responsible for discipline for the senior cadets as well as all the parades and drills. She is not quite working alone as she works alongside Chief Warrant Officer Mike McLeod who is the adult ‘chief” and mentors her in her duties.

Youden has enjoyed many things with the Air Cadet Program but her most memorable moment was last summer when she flew solo for the first time.

“I was very tentative at the beginning but once I was up on air tow I realized I was all by myself and I thought ‘Wow… I did it!’” her eyes shine at the memory. “This is a really big accomplishment and really important for me.”

The Cadet Program is for youth 12 to 18 years of age. The aim of the Cadet Program is to install in youth the attributes of leadership, citizenship, physical fitness and an interest in the air, land and sea activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.

• On July 8 the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities announced the recipients of this year’s Para Sport Jumpstart Fund grants. Included in this list was Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association, a Duncan-based charity that provides therapeutic riding and equine-facilitated interventions for children and youth with special needs.

CTRA will receive $32,000 for inclusive and adapted equestrian activities that include therapeutic riding, para-equestrian sport, inclusive equestrian vaulting, therapeutic horsemanship, and adapted equestrian agility. The range of highly individualized opportunities supported by this funding allows a large number of children and youth with unique needs, skills, and goals to participate in the program and benefit from the positive outcomes of sport and play.

“Many of the children taking part in CTRA’s programs face barriers that preclude involvement in other community sports and recreational activities,” explains Jess Fraser, CTRA’s executive director. “CTRA provides youth who may experience marginalization because of a disability or mental health challenge a place to get active, develop their strengths, and share their love of horses. The sense of achievement and belonging fostered by our organization is truly transformative. Not only does it better a child’s immediate circumstances, it helps to develop and elevate diverse leaders who shape more resilient communities in the long run.”

With this grant, CTRA will provide equine-assisted activities and interventions to 125 youth (aged four to 25). Referrals to CTRA’s services come from general practitioners, therapists, counsellors, community navigators, and educators and cover a wide array of diagnoses including congenital and acquired disabilities and psycho-social challenges. Funding will help to cover a year of CTRA’s operations including regular sessions and spring/summer camps.

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