Surprise visit


Ten years ago Canada World Youth brought eight young people from across Canada and eight young people from Thailand to live in Kincardine for three months.


Host families provided a home for the young people who volunteered to work on community projects and in local businesses.


We agreed to take on two students, I believe it was for two days a week. Aaron Short of Halifax and Wirachat Namkhot of Thailand provided more humour in the office than work, but that was okay. The main problem was trying to communicate with Wirachat.


So guess who arrived at the office last week looking for “Mr. Eric”?


None other than Wirachat. He is staying with his host family of 10 years ago, Paul and Mary Beth Dennis.

Wirachat is here to polish up his English skills.


I looked up Canada World Youth on the internet and the international non-profit organization continues to provide youth from ages 15 to 35 with the opportunity to learn about other communities, cultures and people while developing leadership skills.


Any program that brings communities and cultures together is a good thing – the more understanding there is in the world, the less conflict we have.


Justin Trudeau, an MP at the time, spoke at the Kincardine High School a few years ago. He suggested that it is often a good idea for students to take a year off after high school and do volunteer work and see the country.


There is a Canadian government sponsored program, Katimavik that allows young people to do volunteer work in communities across Canada. Its mission is to prepare youth to become responsible citizens who make positive change in their lives and communities.


There have been many attempts to cancel the program over the years and the federal budget last year said it would end funding in March, 2013.


However, I believe it is still operating, a good choice for a young person wanting to contribute and take a year off before heading to college or university.




With the growing concern over the effects of competition in youth programs this summer, many Canadian soccer associations eliminated the concept of keeping score, says the CBC Radio program “This is That”.

The soccer association of Midlake, Ontario, has taken this idea one step further, and has completely removed the ball from all youth soccer games and practices.


According to association spokesperson, Helen Dabney-Coyle, “By removing the ball, it’s absolutely impossible to say ‘this team won’ and ‘this team lost’ or ‘this child is better at soccer than that child.’”


“We want our children to grow up learning that sport is not about competition, rather it’s about using your imagination. If you imagine you’re good at soccer, then you are.” …


“This is That” is a satire of Canadian culture, but a lot of people took the above story as the gospel - even news organizations in the U.S.A., such as the Washington Times and Rant Sports, a blogging partner of USA Today.


The program is quite humorous. I heard one episode this summer about a fictional Montreal bylaw that required local dogs to understand commands in English and French. Again, many news organizations took it as the truth.


Looks like some reporters should develop a sense of humour and of course, investigate the source of any story they pick up. Everything on the internet is not true.




Something else that has been in the news of late is the future of the honey bee.


The Ontario Beekeepers’ Association says Ontario bees are dying in massive numbers due to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on field crops. Since a third of our food relies on pollinators, we could end up in some trouble if we have no bees.


The pesticides leach into soil, groundwater, and waterways, and can persist for years. They also kill other pollinators, aquatic insects, amphibians and birds, say the beekeepers in their petition to the premier.


Will she listen?


There is one place in the world where bees are healthy – Newfoundland and Labrador. There are no mites (another killer of bees) and little farming.


With no mites and pesticides Newfoundland bees are content, says CBC news.


By the way, has anyone seen more than one or two Monarch butterflies this summer?