Monthly Archives: March 2014

Changemakers 2014

On International Women’s Day – March 8th 2014 – Women in our community were honoured at a Changemakers Celebration. These amazing women were nominated by people from our community.

 

(Link to theGulf Islands Driftwood article)

 

Beth WEBBeth Bastien worked for the federal government in Hamilton, as a City Facilitator for the federal government’s Homelessness Initiative and was the Senior Public Policy Analyst with the Native Women’s Association of Canada in Ottawa. One of her passions included working on the Sisters in Spirit program. Beth also served on the Board of Directors of SWOVA.  Her wise counsel is enormously missed.
Beth died peacefully at her beloved home on Salt Spring Island,  August 12, 2013 at the age of 52.  The Native Women’s Association of Canada paid a special tribute to Beth on her passing:
“Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is paying tribute to the life and talents of Elizabeth Bastien, a vibrant, giving and gifted woman whose voice will forever inspire those who knew her as well as those who continue to be touched by her reasoning and her prose.”

 

Wendy Judith Cutler has devoted much of her life to feminism and social justice.
Wendy Judith Cutler has devoted much of her life to feminism and social justice.

 

Dorothy Cutting is a long-standing social activist who has dedicated her life to protecting the environment for generations to come.
Dorothy Cutting is a long-standing social activist who has dedicated her life to protecting the environment for generations to come.

 

Mona Fertig founded Canada’s first literary centre in 1978  and now runs Mother Tongue Press and Mother Tongue Publishing.
Mona Fertig founded Canada’s first literary centre in 1978 and now runs Mother Tongue Press and Mother Tongue Publishing.

 

 

fulton19ob1Throughout her life, Dr. Margaret Fulton advocated different ways of thinking and acting that were based on equality and collectivity. “I continue to hold the belief, that a participatory-learning society will eventually replace a spectator-consumer society.” Dr. Fulton, who died in Victoria on January 22nd, 2014,  put her beliefs into action. She was passionate about the education of women and wanted to open the doors and the ivory tower to women.  In 1978 she became the only female president of a co-educational university in Canada.  (Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University) She was also an adjunct professor and consultant at University of British Columbia and was involved in the establishment of a new feminist university in Loten, Norway. For her work, Dr. Fulton received 15 honorary degrees and was named to the Order of Canada.

 

Working with the Salt Spring seniors’ community for the past seventeen years,  Sharon Glover’s exceptional skill as a professional counsellor and trainer of peer counsellors has been a source of support for many.
Working with the Salt Spring seniors’ community for the past seventeen years, Sharon Glover’s exceptional skill as a professional counsellor and trainer of peer counsellors has been a source of support for many.

 

 Janet Halliwell provides strong leadership for the Shared Space Initiative, the Salt Spring Arts Council, and the School for the Arts.
Janet Halliwell provides strong leadership for the Shared Space Initiative, the Salt Spring Arts Council, and the School for the Arts.

 

Cheryl Heykoop  is a passionate advocate for the rights of children. She has worked with disadvantaged children  in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Brazil, Thailand, and Zambia.
Cheryl Heykoop is a passionate advocate for the rights of children. She has worked with disadvantaged children in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Brazil, Thailand, and Zambia.

 

As a queer, feminist political activist, community organizer, sexual healer and educator, Caffyn Jessie has powerfully changed the tone and level of engagement within the Salt Spring community.
As a queer, feminist political activist, community organizer, sexual healer and educator, Caffyn Jessie has powerfully changed the tone and level of engagement within the Salt Spring community.

 

 

Ann Johnston
A tireless lobbyist for better recycling policies, Ann Johnston worked with the Recycling Council of British Columbia, founded the Recycling Society on Mayne Island, and in her capacity as board member, conducted her own research and attended meetings and conferences, bringing this knowledge home to the island.  She has also been very involved with the Conservancy, and remains very engaged with island issues and the community at the age of 85.

 

 

Juliette Laing is a tireless community volunteer and social activist who has devoted much of her time to preserving the environment, and social justice for women throughout the world.
Juliette Laing is a tireless community volunteer and social activist who has devoted much of her time to preserving the environment, and social justice for women throughout the world.

 

By the age of 12 Phoenix Lazare was singing, playing guitar, learning piano, and performing her own compositions.
By the age of 12 Phoenix Lazare was singing, playing guitar, learning piano, and performing her own compositions.

 

Maxine Leichter is passionate about promoting democracy and protecting our environmental heritage.
Maxine Leichter is passionate about promoting democracy and protecting our environmental heritage.

 

Kelda Logan is a visionary woman and a masterful teacher of children, teens, and adults who cares deeply for others.
Kelda Logan is a visionary woman and a masterful teacher of children, teens, and adults who cares deeply for others.

 

Anne Macey is an advocate for organic agriculture at the local, provincial, national, and international levels.
Anne Macey is an advocate for organic agriculture at the local, provincial, national, and international levels.

 

Molly Murphy is the hard-working, intelligent, articulate, and funny founder of Mudd Girls, a collective of women builders who focus on natural building techniques.
Molly Murphy is the hard-working, intelligent, articulate, and funny founder of Mudd Girls, a collective of women builders who focus on natural building techniques.

 

Sarah Hook Nilsson is the creator of Connecting Generations, which fosters mentorship between adults and youth in our community.
Sarah Hook Nilsson is the creator of Connecting Generations, which fosters mentorship between adults and youth in our community.

 

Rebecca Nygard is a direct, honest woman with a lot of humour.  She volunteers as a dula, runs a prenatal class for expectant mothers, and runs Graffiti Theater
Rebecca Nygard is a direct, honest woman with a lot of humour. She volunteers as a dula, runs a prenatal class for expectant mothers, and runs Graffiti Theater

 

Briony Penn is passionate about nature, protesting clear-cutting on Salt Spring Island as Lady Godiva, teaching science,  starting a naturalist club,  and writing a book about wildlife called A Year on the Wild Side.
Briony Penn is passionate about nature – protesting clear-cutting as Lady Godiva, teaching science, starting a naturalist club, and writing a book about wildlife called A Year on the Wild Side.

 

The Raging Grannies contribute to positive grass roots programs and take a stand against social injustice and environmental degradation, using wit and humour.
The Raging Grannies contribute to positive grass roots programs and take a stand against social injustice and environmental degradation, using wit and humour.

 

Samantha Sanderson has worked as a family lawyer, confronting the systemic barriers that directly block women from justice.
Samantha Sanderson has worked as a family lawyer, confronting the systemic barriers that directly block women from justice.

 

Marg Simons co-founded the Salt Spring Film Festival, the Salt Spring chapter of Voice of Women, the Ometepe Coffee group, the Salt Spring Trail and Nature Club, and Salt Spring Community Services!
Marg Simons co-founded the Salt Spring Film Festival, the Salt Spring chapter of Voice of Women, the Ometepe Coffee group, the Salt Spring Trail and Nature Club, and Salt Spring Community Services!

 

Sally Sunshine is an artist, activist, mother, carrier of environmental and peace banners.  She is on the path of peace, and radiates that to anyone who pops in for a visit.
Sally Sunshine is an artist, activist, mother, carrier of environmental and peace banners. She is on the path of peace, and radiates that to anyone who pops in for a visit.

 

Rita Thomas  has been a “front lines” change agent in our health system in immunization clinics and well-baby clinics.  She is also a lay priest and promoter of social justice.
Rita Thomas has been a “front lines” change agent in our health system in immunization clinics and well-baby clinics. She is also a lay priest and promoter of social justice.

 

Margaret Thomson is the turkey representative for Rare Breeds Canada and keeps three different bloodlines on her farm. She organized establishing the Salt Spring abattoir.
Margaret Thomson is the turkey representative for Rare Breeds Canada and keeps three different bloodlines on her farm. She organized establishing the Salt Spring abattoir.

 

Christine Torgrimson  served as Chair of the Islands Trust Fund Board,  and is passionate about land conservation.
Christine Torgrimson served as Chair of the Islands Trust Fund Board, and is passionate about land conservation.

 

As an outspoken, engaged, feminist trans woman, blogger, and activist, Chelsea Wendt shows personal courage just by living her daily life.
As an outspoken, engaged, feminist trans woman, blogger, and activist, Chelsea Wendt shows personal courage just by living her daily life.

 

Maggie Ziegler is a skilled psychotherapist, trainer, and author who works for the improvement of women’s lives and well-being in Canada and internationally.
Maggie Ziegler is a skilled psychotherapist, trainer, and author who works for the improvement of women’s lives and well-being in Canada and internationally.

 

Link to Gulf Island Driftwood Article 

 

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An Ode to Women – by Kevin Vowles

Leadership

 

 

It has been a year indeed.  My God, as I look back on it I wonder how I have managed to keep my head above water.  I’ve gone through some big losses personally in relationships, and life changing family dynamics.  It has been a life-changing year already!!!  I have never felt feelings as deeply or as truly as I have this year.

Part of the reason for this is because of my work with SWOVA.  My work has changed me as a man and a human being.  I want to express feeling gratitude.  I have felt profound grief, sorrow, anguish, loss, hope, care, love, happiness, confusion, peace and turmoil in ways I never have.  As surely as relationships shift, so too do the emotions, and being able to cry in such freedom from self-judgement and shame has been liberating.

I kindly thank-you…all of the women on Salt Spring Island who have made this work possible, and acknowledge how this has shifted for me.  My spirit feels lighter and my soul free.

Expressing my truths is one of my biggest challenges that I face as a man.  This is my truth though.

Like many men, I’ve sought to assert my manhood by taking unnecessary and stupid risks.  When I was younger I drank too much, drove too fast, and considered myself invincible when it came to venturing out onto cold and unforgiving waters.  While in Africa I took to becoming a trained snake catcher, even handling venomous snakes.  Before coming to Salt Spring Island I took up chainsawing with no experience, as well as climbing ladders because I felt as a man I should be able to.

Because of my work with SWOVA I have been able to examine my participation in systems of hyper-masculinity which take the lives of many men globally, and could have taken mine.  I continue to push boundaries in life as we all should, but now more safely than I have in the past.  I am grateful to still be here, and grateful to be released from having to prove myself because I am a man.  I owe the women of this island for this profound and liberating realization, which up until moving here three years ago was completely foreign to me.

If ever something should happen to me I want you to know that I appreciate your humanity in a truly whole sense.  I see you in all your greatness and love, and courage, and recognize the deep and profound impact you have had on young men and women here.

If ever something should happen to me, please let people know that I was doing what I was meant to do in life, fully happy and whole as a person, and loved everyone with as much heart as I had.  Please tell people I felt with my whole heart, with complete vulnerability, free from shame and embarrassment.  I have felt my humanity and it feels great.  I have felt complete acceptance even amongst my own shortcomings, failings and stupid decisions.  I have felt belonging.

To say that I have learned a lot would be a drastic understatement.  Three years of R+R under my belt with Christina, Lynda, Megan, Juli and all of the wonderful staff in School District 64 has been the most profoundly life changing experience for me.  It is something I could never have ever anticipated having in my life.  I am a profoundly lucky man, and am indeed so grateful for the work that SWOVA has done in this area.  My words cannot express the feelings I have in my body; of being emotionally, intellectually and actually physically open to the effects of this work.  I feel light, free, whole and lucky.  I am lucky and the world is lucky.  This community is profoundly lucky.

I so enjoy the work, and love taking it to a whole other level with youth in as many ways as is possible.  I hang on every word, and although I will admit I am sometimes triggered by conversations, and drift to things in my life, I am present in a way that I have never been before.

I also appreciate you all seeing me.  I know you do.  Thank-you.  I hope to live up to all of the things that you want for me.

My intention as we move forward is to move slowly, deliberately, with care, openness, hopefulness, gratitude, empathy, respect and warmth.  I feel gratitude to be able to state this intention and will attempt to practice it daily.  I would never have been able to state this intention without the hard work of women here, who have made my path as a real man possible.  I wrote this with International Women’s Day in mind- March 8th. On this most important of days, the day we celebrate life givers; women, I sincerely thank-you all.

 by Kevin Vowles, R+R Facilitator

 

 

 

 SWOVA Empowering Youth For a Better Tomorrow