Saturday, August 29, 2015

Chris Hadfield

CSA Astronaut
Born: Chris Austin Hadfield August 29, 1959
Sarnia, Ontario...Canada

Chris Hadfield is a retired Canadian astronaut who was the first Canadian to walk in space. An engineer and former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station.

Raised on a corn farm in southern Ontario, he was inspired as a child when he watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing on TV. He attended high school in Oakville and Milton and earned his glider pilot licence as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force Cadets. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces and earned an engineering degree at Royal Military College. While in the military he learned to fly various types of aircraft and eventually became a test pilot and flew several experimental planes. As part of an exchange program with the United States Navy and United States Air Force, he obtained a master's degree in aviation systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in 1992 where his thesis concerned high-angle attack aerodynamics of the F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. In total, Hadfield has flown over 70 different types of aircraft.

In 1992 he was accepted into the Canadian Space Agency. He first flew in space aboard STS-74 in November 1995 as a mission specialist. During the mission he visited Russian space station Mir. In April 2001 he flew again on STS-100 and visited the International Space Station (ISS), where he walked in space and helped install the Canadarm2. In December 2012 he flew for a third time aboard Soyuz TMA-07M and joined Expedition 34 on the ISS. He was a member of this expedition until March 2013 when he became the commander of the ISS as part of Expedition 35. He was responsible for a crew of five astronauts and helped to run dozens of scientific experiments dealing with the impact of low gravity on human biology.

During the mission, he also gained popularity by chronicling life aboard the space station and taking pictures of the earth and posting them through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr to a large following of people around the world. He was a guest on television news and talk shows and gained popularity by playing his guitar in space. His mission ended in May 2013 when he returned to earth.
Shortly after returning, he announced his retirement,
capping a 35-year career as a military pilot and astronaut.

Personal Life: He is married to his high-school girlfriend Helene and they have three adult children. Hadfield used to be a ski instructor at Glen Eden Ski Area in Milton before becoming a test pilot.
He is a devoted fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and wore a Leaf's jersey under his spacesuit during his Soyuz TMA-07M reentry in May 2013. After the 2012 NHL Lockout ended, Chris tweeted a photo of himself holding a Maple Leafs logo...and stated he was “ready to cheer his team on from orbit.” He also sang the Canadian National Anthem during the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens game on 18 January 2014.

NASA Experience: Hadfield was selected to become one of four new Canadian astronauts from a field of 5,330 applicants in June 1992. He was assigned by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in August, where he addressed technical and safety issues for Shuttle Operations Development...contributed to the development of the glass shuttle cockpit..and supported shuttle launches at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In addition, Hadfield was NASA's Chief CAPCOM, the voice of mission control to astronauts in orbit, for 25 space shuttle missions. From 1996 to 2000 he represented CSA astronauts and coordinated their activities as the Chief Astronaut for the CSA.

He was the Director of Operations for NASA at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia from 2001 to 2003. Some of his duties included coordination and direction of all International Space Station crew activities in Russia...oversight of training and crew support well as policy negotiation with the Russian Space Program and other International Partners. He also trained and became fully qualified to be a flight engineer cosmonaut in the Soyuz TMA spacecraft and to perform spacewalks in the Russian Orlan spacesuit.

He was the Chief of Robotics for the NASA Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas from 2003 to 2006 and was Chief of International Space Station Operations from 2006 to 2008.
In 2008 and 2009, he trained as a back-up to Robert Thirsk on the Expedition 21 mission. In May 2010 Hadfield served as the commander of the NEEMO 14 mission aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory, living and working underwater for fourteen days. NASA announced in 2010 that Hadfield would become the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station on 21 December. He remained on the station for five months...departing on 13 May 2013. In June, Hadfield announced his retirement from the Canadian Space Agency, effective 3 July 2013. He stated that after living primarily in the United States since the 1980's for his career, he would be moving back to Canada, “making good on a promise I made my wife nearly 30 years ago ~ that yes, eventually, we would be moving back to Canada.” He noted that he plans to pursue private interests outside government there.

Social Media: During the time on the ISS, he received significant exposure and ended his time by paying tribute to David Bowie with a rendition of “Space Oddity”. Hadfield was described as “perhaps the most social media savvy astronaut ever to leave Earth” by Forbes after building a considerable audience on social media, including over 1,000,000 Twitter Followers as of June 2013...and creating one of the top Reddit AmA threads of all time. He also has a popular Tumblr Blog. Hadfield had enlisted the help of his web-savvy son to manage his social media presence.

Post Retirement: On October 2013, the University of Waterloo announced that Hadfield will join the university as a professor for a three-year-term beginning in the Fall 2014. Hadfield's work is expected to involve...instructing and advising roles in aviation programs offered by the Faculty of the Environment and Faculty of well as assisting in ongoing research regarding the health of astronauts with the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

In 2013, Hadfield published a memoir...An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.
The book was a 'New York Times bestseller' and was also the bestselling book in Canada on a Canadian subject. (His book contains numerous Guides to Life and Quotes from his experiences which I shall share with you, my readers on a separate blog entry.)

Special Honours...and Citations have been been awarded him...too numerous to list in this writing.
For starters: an airport in Sarnia was renamed...two schools in Milton are named after one in Bradford, Ontario. Asteroid 14143 Hadfield is also named after him. In 2005, 820 Milton Blue Thunder Squadron was renamed “820 Chris Hadfield Squadron” in honour of his being a cadet there.
In 2014, he was added to the Wall of Honour at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston!

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 28, 2015
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Canadian Athlete With a Vision

Clara Hughes, OC OM MSC...born in Winnipeg, Manitoba
September 27, 1972 is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater
who has won multiple Olympic medals in both sports.

As a youth, she smoked cigarettes, drank a lot and did a lot of drugs...not envisioning herself as a athlete. She was inspired to begin skating after witnessing Gaetan Boucher at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Starting with speed skating, in 1990 she moved to competitive cycling, competing in track cycling and road cycling. Eventually she returned to the sport of speed skating at the age of 28, after achieving success in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. With her experience and endurance earned through cycling, Hughes went on to a successful career competing in the 3,000 m and 5,000 m. At the age of 38, she successfully returned for the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London, England.

For Clara, success means more than earning medals.
It means having a voice and using the opportunity
to reach out and help others.
After winning gold in 2006, Clara donated $10,000 of her personal savings to the Right to Play programs. This donation challenged Canadians to support the cause...raising over a half-million dollars for the international humanitarian organization that uses sport for development. In 2010, she donated her $10,000 medal bonus to the Vancouver inner city school program...Take a Hike...which uses adventure based learning to give youth at risk a better direction in life.

She is the National Spokesperson for Bell Canada's Mental Health initiative & the Let's Talk campaign.
By sharing past struggles with depression, Clara has helped break down the stigma associated with all forms of mental illness. ***
Road Racing Medals Achieved
Olympic Games: Bronze~1996 Atlanta (Road Race) and Bronze~1996 Atlanta (Time Trial)
World Championships: Silver~1995 Tunja (Time Trial)
Commonwealth Games: Gold~ 2002 Manchester (Time Trial)
Pan American Games: Gold~2003 Santo Domingo (Points Race); Silver~1995 Mar del Plata (Road Race); Silver~2003 S. Domingo (Time Trial); Bronze~1995 Mar del Plata (Time Trial)
Pan American Championships: Gold~2011 (Medellin); Gold~(Medellin)
Track Cycling Medals Achieved
Commonwealth Games: Bronze 2002 Manchester (24 km Points Race)
Pan American Games: Silver 1991 Havana (Individual Pursuit)
Speed Skating Medals Achieved
Olympic Games: Gold~2006 Turin (5,000 m); Silver~(Team Pursuit); Bronze~2002 Salt Lake City (5,000m); Bronze~2010 Vancouver (5,000m).
World Championships: Gold~2004 Seoul (5,000m); Silver~2003 Berlin (5,000m); Silver~ 2008 Nagano (5,000m); Silver~2009 Vancouver (5,000m); Silver~2005 Inzell (Team Pursuit); Bronze~2005 Inzell (5,000m).
Clara's Vision
Her pursuit of excellence has carried her to the top of her field in both cycling and speed skating. Her determination, dignity and integrity are forces which have driven her to go beyond what most people would consider reasonable limits. By setting an example of sportsmanship and creating a supportive environment in every team she has been a part of, Clara has supported and aided in the growth and development of many young athletes. She has never lost the connection of what it was like to be inspired for the first time in her life. This inspiration came when she was 16 years old...from sport!

Honours Bestowed Upon Her
In 2006, she was awarded the Order of Manitoba and in 2007 a Member of the Order of Canada.
On May 23, 2008, she was awarded an Honourary Doctorate of Law from the University of Manitoba.
On February 12, 2010, she was the Canadian Olympic Team Flag Bearer for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.
On April 7, 2010, she was made an officer of the Order of Canada.
On June 8, 2010, it was announced that she would receive a Star on Canada's Walk of Fame.
On September 23, 2010, she received an Honourary Degree from the University of New Brunswick.
On November 15, 2010, Hughes was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
On January 16, 2012, The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) announced Hughes as one of twenty women selected to the Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity (MIW) for 2011. The objective of the list is to focus on women who are leaders and role models making a difference on the Canadian or international scene.
On June 30, 2014, Hughes was honoured with the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division).

***Clara's Big Ride for “Let's Talk about Mental Illness”
Clara Hughes rode her bike 11,000 kilometres for 110 days around Canada from March 11 to July 1, 2014 (with a team of riding supporters) to get people talking about 'Mental Illness'. Clara Hughes, herself had struggled with deep depression at one stage in her career..and now speaks freely to assemblies about it...and how she overcame this setback.

The recent CTV presentation could have been all about cycling through hard crosswinds, driving snow and exhaustion; instead it provides the thread between stories told by Canadians affected by mental illness: a teacher who has depression, anxiety and panic attacks; a university student who attempted suicide; a community worker in Northern Canada trying to prevent youth suicide; a soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder. One woman, struggling with an eating disorder, was told by her doctor to 'just eat something.' Another with depression, says she was told by her physician to not talk about it because people would judge her. During this ride, ending at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 1, 2014 with a celebration, she had participated in 235 events held throughout her ride in 105 communities. Hughes felt she achieved her goal of 'starting a conversation' about mental illness and removing the fear of talking about it.

She and her husband, Peter Guzman, hiked 850 kilometres of the Appalachian Trail from December 3 to January 12, 2015, winter camping along the way. They intend to return to the trail in February and eventually complete the 3,746 kilometre trek that traverses 14 US states. “To be in such a public position for 110 days across Canada was something that I hadn't experienced quite honestly, it took an 850-kilometre very quiet hike with Peter to let it all settle in...and connect back with myself.
I always try to go back to something that allows me to struggle...and allows me to endure...and allows me to feel just a very silent satisfaction of having gotten through it.”

Clara's Philosophy
I have always believed that knowledge becomes wisdom when it is shared with others. By remaining open to to growing...and most importantly 'open to be inspired'...I've realized what it's like to live one's dreams for over 20 years in my sport. And this bodes me well for now and the future.

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr...January 28, 2015
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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Volunteers and 'Good Samaritans'

Volunteer ~ an unpaid worker, one who enters into or performs
of his own free will...often for a charitable organization.
Samaritan” ~ a charitable or helpful person
(originally a member of people inhabiting Samaria in Biblical times).
Classified today, a “Good Samaritan” is a compassionate person who
unselfishly helps others, especially strangers.

Volunteers Keep the Games Moving
(Excerpts from Janie Ginsberg's writing ~ The Hamilton Spectator)

In between pilot lessons, working toward his advanced scuba diving certificate and helping in a medical clinic, 16-year old Armaan Krishnar volunteers for the Pan American Games in Hamilton. The high school student, who is part of the 'put-up-and-tear-down' crew, is one of 200 behind-the-scene members of 'Hamilton's Kick It Up' program, a group separate from TO2015 volunteers.
I think it's important to go out and do community events,” says Krishnar. It's a strong time for the city and I believe that it's something that everyone should get involved in.”
The volunteer program was created to generate enthusiasm around the city
and encourage visitors to stray from the soccer stadium lights...
and experience Hamilton's cultural side.

Janie Greensberg states, “About 52 % of Hamiltonians volunteer, which is above both the provincial (47% ) and the national (46%) averages. A good portion of volunteers for 'Kick It Up' are in the 16 to 20-year old range, with the highest demographic seniors!

Kick It Up members have different uniforms, accreditation and separate training from TO2015 volunteers. About 350 people applied, 250 were recruited and it dwindled to 200 active members by the time the games started.
Six Faces Behind the Games
Volunteer Suzanne Foreman was impressed by the training. “We even got 15 minutes of salsa lessons and 15 minutes of Spanish lessons.” As an ambassador, she spent her first day setting up a welcome centre in Gage Park. “It's basically meeting and greeting and answering questions and trying to represent Hamilton very well,” says the 53-year-old.
Ambassador Dave Strong, 48, said Hamiltonians should step up to the plate. “We need to do this now or it will pass us by and we will never be anything again. I'm overwhelmed by volunteering.” He spent time in Gore Park taking surveys as part of his role.
Allison Jones, 44, volunteers as an event assistant, a group of people who are 'front of the line' active engagement type folks. “ Something of this size coming to Hamilton is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Allison ~ who wants to set an example for her three sons. “I want them to see me being part of my community and how much you can get out of giving back”
Ann Rodgers, 38, works a lot of time with spreadsheets, updating shift changes and keeping track of new volunteers. “It brought me closer to my city; it's actually been a good thing: it has kept me busy and focused on positive things.”
Jodi Pomerleau, 56, on a street team, cleared tables, stacking chairs, helping out with cultural events, handing out uniforms and medals and picking up garbage. “It's a great opportunity being chosen.”

Approximately 65,000 people applied to volunteer for the TO2015 program,
a process that required an online application and video interview ~ 23,000 were chosen.

Rescue of Young Orca Was Mind-Blowing for Onlookers
Killer whale stranded on B.C. Rocks, nursed for hours ahead of rising tide”
(written by Terri Theodore...published in the Canadian Press)

Hartley Bay, B.C. ~ A killer whale, stuck on a tiny island off British Columbia's coast, was protected for eight hours by rescuers as they waited for the high tide to wash her off the rocks. Hermann Meuter, who runs a whale research facility neat Hartley Bay, said the tide was receding when rescuers reached the whale, and it was too dangerous to try to get her back into the water. Instead, they covered her with blankets and kept her cool and wet while waiting for higher water. “She was crying a bit, calling for her family, but she endured it.” Meuter was initially alone as he poured water from a bucket over the whale, but he couldn't keep up when the sun came up and some of the dozens of people who had gathered to watch, pitched in to help. “It was very stressful for the whale. Having her whole body weight lying on the rocks, her lungs were most likely squeezed a little bit.” Meuter said it didn't take the whale long to realize they were helping and she calmed down after the first hour.

Cam Hill, a band councillor from the Hartley Bay First Nation, said he was teaching a class when word came about the stranded whale; his group decided to check out the 'once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Hill commented, “The thing that really struck home with me was just how patient she was in waiting for the water to come up,” as he watched the operation from the rocks above. “The whale waited until she was fully floating...and then gently eased herself into a position where she could slip off the rocks and into the ocean. Once she moved herself off into the ocean, there was a triumphant yahoo from everybody involved. You could tell she was very happy to be gone ~ she just took off.”

Meuter has seen the whale and her transient pod before. The orca is known as T69E and is about 11 years old, he said. She made it back to her waiting pod relatively unscathed. “She had minor scratches on her tail from barnacles. There was a little bit of blood, but here were no major injuries.
The whale was lucky that someone spotted her
hung up is such a remote location and that help could arrive so quickly.
If she had been there for nine hours without water being poured onto her body,
there would have been a lot of stress on her, possibly with an inevitable result!”

To Volunteer or Not!
Mary, a senior with whom I frequently played bridge in local clubs enjoyed the camaraderie of friends around her. She appeared to be well-monied, drove a black Maxima, yearly enjoyed a week or 10-day cruise, always immaculately dressed and well groomed. Living alone in a sizeable apartment, she'd fill her lonely time with shopping (a passion for jewellery, clothes and shoes) plus gifts for her grandchildren. Being the 'people-person' she was, I suggested she volunteer with one or two organizations. Twice, I gave her lists from which to choose: visitation to senior residences, taking pets from animal shelters to nursing homes for invalids to pet, driving patients to the Red Cross or for medical appointments. She totally ignored these...I discovered that she herself, wanted the 'catering of attention'. Thus, our friendship continued; and later she moved north to be near her family.

And Some People...Nowadays...Simply Stand by...
(as illustrated by a cartoon in today's newspaper)
Six men, fully clothed, are standing onshore while a drowning man, his arm upright out of the water, calls, “HELP ME!!!”. All six men with Cell Telephones are busily shooting 'selfie photos' of themselves on the sandy beach. With lack of concern, no one moves to offer assistance!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written July 24, 2015
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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mascots ~ Advertisement Medium

A mascot is defined as any person, animal or object thought to bring 'luck' ...or anything used to represent a group with a common public identity such as: a school, professional sports, society, military unit or brand name. Mascots are also used as fictional, representative spokespeople for consumer products. Costumed mascots are commonplace and are regularly used as 'goodwill ambassadors' in the community for their team, company or organization...such as the U.S. Forest Services's “Smokey Bear”. Many sports teams (U.S. especially) have official mascots...sometimes enacted by 'costumed humans' or even live animals...e.g. “Thunder II ~ a live 'white horse mascot' for the Denver Broncos. (I can just imagine him galloping around the field when touchdowns scored!)

Consider all the animals/birds used in today's merchandise catch our attention! It's a strong effective medium to promote anything and everything from cereal boxes, to pop, tires, clothing, cars and truck names...and the list is innumerable.

A few years ago, a friend's sister, developing a home job, designed and made specific swimwear, cycle racing clothing, etc. for sports persons and clubs competing locally, provincially and nationally. Her name was Elizabeth, usually called Liz...her logo on all designs was a 'Lizard'.

Currently, one of the major sponsors of the Pan American Games TORONTO 2015 is a bank whose advertisement is priceless: believe they are husband and pigeons(?) about to deposit cheques into the bank...when she advises him about an automatic deposit...he then looks for more cheques in the mail.

This topic of 'mascots' intrigued me when being introduced to PACHI (a raccoon) as the “Mascot of the Games”. He is so delightful...and to think he was created with imagination by four Grade 8 students in Markham, Ontario. Significant in meaning, they won the contest among the hundreds of entries.

Of interest, are the “Mascots” over the years
selected for the Olympic Games.

The Olympic mascots are fictional characters...usually an animal, native to the area or human figures who represent the cultural heritage of the place where the Olympic and Paralympic Games are taking place. The 'mascots' are often used 'to help market ' the Olympic Games to a younger audience.

History: The first Olympic mascot was born at the Grenoble Olympics in 1968 in France: It was named SCHUSS ~ a little man on skis, designed in an abstract form and painted in the colours of France (blue, red and white). However, the first official Olympic mascot appeared in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany: It was WALDI ~ a Dachshund dog, a popular breed in Bavaria and it represented the attributes required for athletes: resistance, tenacity and agility. On it we see 3 of the colours of the Olympic flag: blue, yellow, green. Mascots are designed in a simple manner with bright, happy colours appropriate for the 'festive atmosphere' of the Olympics.

1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria: Mascot ~ SCHNEEMAN...its character a Snowman. represents “Games of Simplicity”.
1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada: AMIK was a beaver wearing a broad black and red band around its body with the Olympic rings impressed on it. The beaver, one of Canada's national symbols.
1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, United States: Mascot ~ RONI a raccoon. Its face design resembles the hat and goggles used by competitors. Named for the Adirondack Mountain range.
1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Russia: MISHA, a bear cub...national symbol of the Soviet Union.
1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia: VUKO, a little wolf symbolizing the desire of humans to befriend animals. According to the IOC, it helped change the common perception in the region of wolves as frightening and blood-thirsty.
1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, United States: SAM, a bald eagle, symbol of United States.
1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada: HIDY and HOWDY...2 polar bears, both representing Western Canada and Albertan hospitality.
1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea: HODORI a tiger cub...common in Korean legends.
1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France: MAGIQUE a man-star/snow imp.
1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain: COBI a Catalan sheepdog (drawn in Cubic style).
1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway: HAK and KRISTEN...2 Norwegian children dressed in Viking clothing.
(Note the change in years:)
1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, United States: abstract figure being the first computer-generated mascot.
1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan: SUKKI, NOKKI, LEKKI and TSUKKI...the Snowlets representing the 4 major islands in Japan. (The first syllable of each word continues phonetically).
2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia: OLLY (the kookaburra) representing the Olympic spirit of generosity; SYD (platypus) representing the environment and energy of the people; MILLIE (echidna) representing the Millenium. FATSO (the Fat-Arsed wombat) created in protest against the commercialization of the Olympic mascots...this unofficial symbol ultimately became more popular than the official mascots).

2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, United States: POWDER, the snowshoe hare, COPPER, the
coyote, and COAL, the American black bear. All three mascots are indigenous animals of the United State of Utah...and are named after natural resources, important to the state's economy. These animals are major characters in the legends of local American Indians and these legends are reflected in the story of each mascot. To remind them of this heritage, all mascots wear a charm around their neck with a petroglyph image.

2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece: ATHENA and PHEVOS (brother and sister) are two modern children representing ancient Greek dolls...inspired by a bell-shaped archaic sculpture that is on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. They symbolize the 'Joy of Play' and 'the Value of Olympism'...and was purposely made to promote the values of equality and brotherhood.

2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy: NEVE and GLIZ a snowball and ice cube.
2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China: The FUWA ~ BEIBEI (fish), JINGJING (giant panda), HUANHAUN (Olympic flame), YINGYING (Tibetan antelope), NINI (swallow). The five words means, “Welcomes You'. Each represent an Olympic ring and Feng Shui element.
2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada: MIGA a mythical sea bear...part Orca and Kermode Bear; QUATCHI a sasquatch from Canadian mythology; MUKMUK a Vancouver Island marmot...not an official mascot of British Columbia, but their 'sidekick'.
The INUKSHUK is an Inuit symbol designed as a directional marker, signifying safety, hope and friendship. The Inukshuk, built in the likeness of a human, is a man-made stone landmark used by Inuit and other peoples of the Arctic region in North America...found from Alaska to Greenland. It is built and used as a marker for a sacred aid for hunting and fishing or a navigation tool.

2012 Summer Olympics in London, England: WENLOCK~ drops of steel with cameras for eyes. Named after the village of Much Wenlock in Shropshire which hosted a precursor to the modern Games in the 19th century. It represents the UK's Industrial Revolution.
2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: BELI MISHKA (Polar Bear), SNOW LEOPARD and ZAIKA ( the dore hare). These were the first mascots decided by popular vote.

2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: VINICIOUS...and animal representing all Brazilian mammals...inspired by Brazilian fauna. Named after the poet and 'bossa nova' composer Vinicious de Moraes...decided by popular vote.

2018 Winter Olympics to be in Peongchang,...
and 2020 Summer Games to be in Tokyo.

Each selected Olympic country hosts the Olympic Games & Paralympic Games which follow. Each selected Pan American country hosts the Pan American Games & Parapan American Games

That the host countries, through their mascots, present a theme, conveying significant messages, it is not only of great interest but encourages players and spectators to adopt these principles, enhancing our lives...and those of others. The sponsors of Vancouver's Winter Olympics and the current Pan American Games Toronto 2015...have been the First Nations and the Six Nations indigenous peoples. We have much to learn from wise and sage words spoken by their elders and chiefs.

It's having the knowledge of your culture;
It's having respect for your mothers and grandmothers.
It is the language and fluency.
As we say,“That's Harmony...that's what we strive for.”
(Indian adage)

The hearts of little children are pure;
the Great Spirit may show to them,
many things we older people miss. (Black Elk)

Our Spiritual belief is that we were created as part of the land;
so our identity, our names and our songs are all tied to the land.
(Chief Roderick Robinson)

Respect means listening until everyone has been understood.
Only then, is there a possibility of balance and harmony.
(Dave Chief...Grandfather of Red Dog)

Merle Baird-Kerr...crafted July 12, 2015
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Significance of Toronto's 2015 Pan American Games

There were hundreds, even thousands who devoted their time, their energy and imagination into the creation of these Games and the Parapan American Games that follow. Hosted by Canada...and the first in the Province of Ontario, the Games are being held in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and 17 other 'Golden Horseshoe' communities. This marks the largest multi-sports event in Canada in terms of athletes competing (over 7100) from North America, South America and the Caribbean Islands.

These Games are a precursor to the upcoming World's, whereby the athletes compete as individuals and for team positions in preparation for Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Summer Games 2016. Athletes from the Parapan Games will be selected from this event to qualify for Rio's Summer Olympics in 2016.v
Not only new structures were designed and built, facilities upgraded for required venues...putting this core area of Ontario on the is the amalgamation of athletes who amass for one unified purpose.

The organization committee expected 23,000 volunteers for both Games ~ over 63,000 applicants applied...providing part-time jobs for High School, College and University students...and many others. A senior in my complex was given the assignment of driving VIP vehicles.

The medals were produced by the Royal Canadian Mint...the raw minerals (gold, silver, copper) coming from 3 Pan American countries...and were aboriginal-designed. (Details on these unique medals, I wrote about previously.)

3000 torchbearers travelled about 20,000 km throughout Canada beginning on May 30 in Toronto.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation(CBC) covered the media in both English and French.

Pachi, the Porcupine was revealed as the Official Mascot of the Games.

The Four Host First Nations' role welcomed the world to Vancouver's 2010 Winter Games.
(The 'aboriginal pavilion' was the most visited of any pavilion there.)

The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation welcome the Americas to Toronto.
Their Incentive: The Games will have a positive influence on youth and their future choices.
The Games give us a chance to inspire our youth to become future athletes.
Success is really important for Aboriginal People.

Together We Are One
as sung by Serena Ryder...was the selected Theme Song of the Games.

We are one; we are beautiful.
It's undeniable we are all the same.
Who's to say what's right or wrong
Cause we all belong...United we stand.

We're strong when we walk together.
Together we can sing much louder.
Louder than any voice alone.
With the strength of a thousand soldiers
We can climb any mountain higher,
Higher, higher, higher.

Stand up...together put your hands up.
You're not alone...together we are one.
Sing with me to the rhythm of your heart beat.
You're not alone...together we are one.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
Together we are one.
Whoa, whoa, whoa,
Together we are one.

It's true, there is no obstacle.
We are unstoppable.
No power can divide one foot in front of the other.
One hand in another...the miracle of one.

Stand up. Together put your hands up.
You're not alone; together we are one.
                                                                   We are one.
                                                                   We are beautiful.
                                                                   We are strong.
                                                                   We are one.
                                                                   We are one.
                                                                   We are beautiful.
                                                                   We are strong.
                                                                   We are one.

Merle Baird-Kerr...composed July 16, 2015
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