Good Sunday Morning
We held our Solstice Party this past week, and by all accounts it was a huge success! It started weeks earlier with the dedication of our Events Team, who meet year round at monthly potlucks to plan out many events. They found a date that suited all the guest speakers and an available hall that was centrally located, with the capacity to accommodate us. We chose 'Good For You' to cater our vegetarian delights, rented dishes and extra tables, and arranged for the cash bar. Level Ground, a local, fair-trading company, donated extra compostable cups, and the equipment to brew and dispense their fair trade coffee and tea.
With help from the BC Greens, the BC Greens Saanich North and the Islands RA (Riding Association) as well as the Green Party of Canada's Esquimalt Saanich Sooke and Victoria EDAs (Electoral District Associations), our SGI (Saanich-Gulf Islands) Events Team spent six hours on Monday decorating the hall.
Marcus provided the Christmas tree which Gary transported on his trailer and together with Dan, Jean, Bev and Tex presented it on the stage. Nancy, Annie, Merridy, Teri, Lil, Yves and Claire arranged the boughs from peoples' gardens and the holly donated by Russells Nursery, into vases and table centerpieces. Tex and Sylvia brought the lanterns which illuminated their wedding reception last summer, for the stage. Donnamae, Lil and Annie retrieved the coffee brewers and dispensers. Teri and Laura prepared the name tags. Laura also helped select the beer and wine choices, prepared the signage and readied the tabling section. Dan secured the dishes and extra tables which Bev and Gwen helped to set-up. Harald W. transported extra green table cloths and Harald H. scoped the scene in preparation for the video/picture shoot.
After advertising and promoting the event to the best of our abilities, we woke up on Tuesday morning to snow blanketing our yard. The Gulf Islands were a winter wonderland and Cowichan reported a foot on the ground. Power was out on parts of the peninsula and Salt Spring Island and emails were flying about in contemplation of canceling. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and the weather warmed up enough to have the Church parking lot and the region around it free of snow.
But the threat of more snow still caused some grief. Folks from up island sent their regrets and many Gulf Islanders were stranded including our SGI CEO (& M.C. for the evening) Michael Strumberger. Anticipating his absence, we set up a video link so that he could join us on the large screen by Skype, however his power remained off and so he asked me to relay this message:
I was looking forward to this event so much and can hardly believe that, after all this amazing preparation by our 'dream team' of volunteers, I am snowed in on Salt Spring and unable to fulfill my responsibilities as M.C.—worse still, I'm missing out on partying with my amazing Green family!
Something I have come to understand is that it is our strong community of enthusiastic and engaged volunteers who account for the vast majority of hard work it takes to make this Party function. We love our leaders: through their huge commitment, they inspire us to participate. But it takes all of us to make this Green movement happen.
So here's a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone here (and those who wanted to be but couldn't make it). Thanks so much for coming, have a fabulous time, make new friends!
Happy holidays and see you in the new year for more Green fun, as we work to co-create the bright future of our dreams
Even some of the volunteers found it challenging to cope with power outages and icy roads. Those that made it, welcomed everyone at the door. Led by Shelagh, we had a long list of greeters that wanted to be sure you felt welcomed. Nancy and Gary registered you at the door and sold any last minute tickets. Bill was stationed next to the bar to sell you your favorite beverage ticket. Even though our parking team was reduced to Fernando, he almost single-handedly braved the cold and directed all the arrivals to their parking spots. In the end it all worked out. The food was fabulous. The classical music was divine, although the din of passionate conversations among Greens kept it firmly in the background.
And our three special guests tied it all together in a wonderful Christmas bow. To begin, Sonia told personal stories of her first few months in office and thanked everyone for making this place ground zero for the Green tide in Canada. Adam went on to thank all those that make this Green revolution possible. Both placed special emphasis on their deep gratitude for the path that Elizabeth blazed for them.
Reflecting on his list of thank-yous, Adam sent me this a day later and asked me to share it with you all today:
For her part Elizabeth graciously yielded the spotlight to her new provincial colleagues. By telling stories of provincial and international Greens, she emphasized that we are all in this together. "When one of us does well, all of us do well. When one province does well, the country does well. And when Canada does well the planet does well." Elizabeth gave examples to show how Greens are building momentum around the globe and across the country. Then she invited everyone to engage in a little Green tourism to help other regions make that breakthrough.
"I will take some time off between Christmas and New years, I promise, but we have a lot of work to do because our kid's lives depend on it. We're not a party that's in it for power, we're a party that's in it to make sure there is at least one ethical, true voice that speaks truth to power and that's us."
Her message built on the sentiment she expressed in our recent mailer:
Thank you so much for being part of my local team. Without your friendship and support, I cannot imagine how I could keep going. Your email messages and social media activism are so encouraging. We are not going door to door together in the non-election years, but we are not idle. Working at the local level we are building the best practices to help other EDAs and candidates across the country.
The Saanich Gulf Islands Green team is leading a transformational change in the party as a whole. Together, we are championing more collaborative relationships between staff and volunteers, EDAs and the national HQ.
We are democracy in action.
These same values motivate Greens across the country and around the world. I am blessed to have so many dedicated volunteers in our SGI Electoral District Association. They know how tough it is for me to sit in The House as the lone Green MP. Led by the executive committee and our chair Michael Strumberger, this impressive team has been there for me, championing our ideals, as I do my work here at home, on Parliament Hill and across the country. I count on them, and you, to help me make a difference in Canadian politics.
Merry Christmas everyone,
Thank you Harald and Laura for capturing the speeches on video. I was hoping to have the time to edit the clips and offer them with this missive but simply ran out of time this week. As those of you who attended can attest, the sound was a challenge in that big hall and it will take a little extra effort to get it cleaned up on the video. I will do my best to get to it and post it on our SGI Facebook page.
For now, it's my turn to sign off for the year. I'll be taking a short break from writing next weekend and will see you back here on January 7th.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Hopeful New Year,
P.S. LOST & FOUND:
After the last speech folks pitched in to stack the chairs and get a start on the cleanup which we finished the next morning. Only a handful of items were misplaced...
- A gold earring was found and already returned to it's rightful owner! :)
- A special wreath that Nancy made herself and took off her door to decorate the registration table has gone missing. Maybe you noticed it. Unfortunately, it appears someone picked it up and took it home, probably thinking it was up for grabs along with the other greenery. Nancy would love to have it back, as she uses the frame every year to make her wreath. Please email or call me, if you know its whereabouts.
"It is our job to work tirelessly for justice, for peace, and for a planet that can survive with a human civilization that thrives. This is the challenge that we take on as Greens." Elizabeth May, October 19th, 2015
This weekly missive is authored by Thomas Teuwen, our SGI EDA coordinator. Opinions expressed are his own. We welcome your comments and feedback. If you were sent here by a friend and would like to subscribe to our weekly email simply click here. You can also go to the archives section of our SGI website to read back issues.