In the Giving Spirit: Supporting the Barrie Community
As I look back on 2016, I will admit that on a personal level it has been an interesting year with unexpected changes. Along the way, I’ve found myself feeling more involved in the community, meeting new people and developing new friendships. As someone who grew up in Barrie, then lived more than a decade in Toronto and Vaughan, then returned to Barrie in 2013, I’ve developed more appreciation for our city. I suppose the saying is true: “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”….or perhaps, “absence makes the heart fonder”.
So ever since moving back to Barrie, I made a commitment to enjoy the city more and to take the opportunity to give back to the community whenever I could spare the time. I’ve chosen to do so in a number of ways (both with time and donations), but two I enjoy the most bring together family and fun.
Supporting our veterans
First, I’m a member and supporter of the Barrie Legion, where my dad is a member and vice-president. While it may not be the fanciest (or youngest!) place in Barrie, it’s a great way for me to spend time with my dad and his friends -- many of whom are veterans. And did you know they also serve good food and cheap beer?! Bonus! This involvement has extended into supporting their annual golf tournament. Obviously a nice excuse for a day on the links, but I also feel good about giving back to this very worthy organization.
Coaching the good ol' hockey game
Secondly, I volunteer my time as a hockey coach with the Barrie Minor Hockey Association. I’m coaching my son’s house league Tyke Gold team and I’m loving every minute…even when those minutes start at 5:30am on a Saturday or Sunday. Watching the kids develop on the ice, learn leadership skills, how to be a good team member and how to win and lose with grace -- it’s priceless.
This year for Christmas, my wife and I had considered getting all the boys on the team a little Christmas gift, but then we had another idea to instead give a donation to Canadian Tire Jumpstart on behalf of the team. This money will stay in the Barrie community and will help another child to play hockey (or another sport of their choosing). When I told the team about it, there was applause and smiles all around. So we might have lost the game that day, but we most definitely showed these 7-year olds how good it feels to help others.
Cheering for Barrie at Rogers Hometown Hockey
Another highlight of coaching this year was the moment our team won the Rogers Hometown Hockey Cheer Like Never Before contest for the Barrie region. The team worked so hard to create a unique video to first enter the contest, and then an amazing live cheer on-stage to be crowned the regional winner. Look at how cute these little guys looked (and yes, that’s me dressed as a ‘Hornet’ mascot).
We had some tough competition from four other excellent team cheers as well. We were thankful for being chosen as the regional finalist by Mayor Jeff Lehman, MP John Brassard, MP Alex Nuttall, MPP Ann Hoggarth and former NHL player Shane Corson.
So get ready Barrie because we will be asking for you to rally around us as we try to drum up thousands of votes for the national competition from April 2-7, 2017. This isn’t just about our team winning the national contest...this is about pride for all of Barrie and a chance for our beautiful city to be featured on national TV. The creative minds on our team already have some ideas to get the city involved, so stay tuned!
On that note, I hope all my friends, family, colleagues and clients have a merry Christmas and kick off 2017 with a bang!