In May my husband Vince and I had the opportunity to truly build an understanding of the magnitude of having a vision before our time. We started our 4 day trek along the Inca Trail with excitement, anticipation, and curiosity for what was ahead of us. I believe the Inca’s had a vision to start the trail with ease as to not deter many from turning back. Each step brought us to a new place of history and understanding for the people who lived in the Andes Mountains 500 years ago.
The trek became more intense as we climbed to higher elevations with the peak of over 4200 meters on day 2. We were grateful to have the support of porters to carry some of our belongings, their things, our groups camping gear and food. We were in awe at how the stones along the trail were placed to create such an intense path.
Day 3 brought on challenges as I developed altitude sickness and came down with a stomach parasite. My steps slowed down somewhat as a result, and I ended up stumbling a few times. I would then hear a friendly reminder from Vince to “pick up your feet soldier“.
Every step we took brought us to new terrain, new landscape and a deeper appreciation for the thousands of Inca’s who paid their tax to the government by contributing time to build a part of the trail. Imagine a vision that took 100 years to reach. This vision to create a trail for the locals to connect them with others where they bartered their colourful weaving, corn and potatoes for supplies.
The 13 hour trek on Day 3 brought us beautiful mountain scenery as we moved from the lush cloud forest down into the jungle vegetation forest on the precise laid stone trail past many ruins and tunnels.
Day 4, the final day of the 43 km trek. We were both exhausted with aches and pains in every joint, but as we came over the sun gate which looks over Pachu Picchu, we were filled with elation and gratitude for the sense of accomplishment that surpased all the exhaustion of the long arduous trek. We were so grateful for concouring the trek and everything we experienced over the last 4 days. This trip was about the journey not about the destination of reaching Machu Picchu. We both experienced immense personal growth and a sense of accomplishment for something bigger than us.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. – Helen Keller
As I reflect on our adventure and challenges, I see many commonalities in the direction of our community, friends and donors. We are traveling a journey partnering with citizens in our region to build long term resources for our community. We are all dedicated to seeing our community be strong for our children, grandchildren and future generations. At times we experience bumps, distractions, highs and lows that can cause one to stumble. The current economic climate could be seen as a distraction a bump or a low, but this is the perfect time to remind ourselves to “pick up our feet soldier” to continue the journey and maintain a strong vision one foot in front of the other, one day at a time to grow our endowment legacy funds for the needs of tomorrow, for future downturns, for future generations . . . for forever.
We are honored for the many who have the vision and dedication to partner with the Community Foundation and grow it into the future forever.
Please feel free to contact me at 780-538-2820 or by replying to this e-mail to discuss how you can partner with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta and how you can impact and inspire others in your community.Connect people. Build community. For good, and forever.
Warmest wishes, Tracey Vavrek, CEO
Bridging the Gap . . . Connecting eLDERS & YOUTH
Having the chance to sit and talk with a senior is almost always a special experience.
Whether it is an aging parent, grandparent, neighbour or stranger the senior members of our community all have fascinating stories to share of their lives and adventures in times long past. All we have to do is listen.
The Elder’s Caring Shelter Society has listened.
The Youth and Elder’s retreat which will take Place July 4 -8, 2016 is designed by the Elder’s Caring Shelter Society to bridge the gap between youth and elders. While elder/youth mentorship is a yearlong process for the Shelter, the retreat is a chance for participants to connect on a deeper level through music, art, dance, and conversation.
The four day experience focuses on the seven teachings of wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth. It is open to all seniors wishing to mentor and provides both groups with the opportunity to learn and grow from each other.
If you would like to donate to the Elder’s Caring Shelter or to seniors programming go to the Community Foundation’s DONATE page to support.
Why give back . . because Grande Prairie is “HOme”
We had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with fund holder Joyce Boyce recently to talk about what community means to her, her family and what the future looks like.
It has been 43 years since Joyce Boyce came to the Peace Region. Grande Prairie is where Joyce and Husband Ed grew their business and family. After his passing Grande Prairie was the place Joyce and family decided to create Ed’s legacy.
Tracey Vavrek: You are not originally from the Peace Region, What drew you to the area?
Joyce Boyce: Ed was in insurance in Stettler. A local adjuster in Stettler had heard about an insurance business in GP that was for sale, so this man and Ed came up to GP and looked at it. They decided there was not enough work for two people; so Ed and I came up and ended up buying what was the Richmond Insurance. We moved into the mall and changed it over to Prairie Villa Insurance, and I guess the rest is history. That was 43 years ago. As time went on it wasn’t right having both of us at the office, so I left and I worked for 11 years for two different MLA’s; Elmer Borstad and Bob Elliot. I assisted in the planning of Fergie and Andrew’s visit to Grande Prairie when they came.
TV: Well those are really special times. Sometimes that history gets lost, so it’s so important to have these conversations so we can record them.
JB: Yes, well when I worked for Elmer Borstad he was the chairman of the Alberta Development Council, and we traveled to all the different communities in the North. We even toured the coalmines in Grande Cache. There have been lots of changes for sure, and we are a regional center so that’s a good thing.
TV: Well you have certainly seen Grande Prairie grow then over the years! 43 years is a long time.
JB : Yes when we came to Grande Prairie the population was 12,000.
TV: What has it meant to be in the Grande Prairie area for so many years and the support that GP has given you?
JB: Well it is become HOME really. At first we were just going to come up her from central Alberta for a while, but then we stayed. We had Cindy and she raised her family here and now it’s just home. It’s home for me and I like it. There have been so many changes in the city over the years. Driving around now I see so much change like the new hospital, and it just feels like it has always been there.
TV : Oh Yes! I have seen it going up from my office window from the ground up, layer by layer and it really does feel like it has always been there – the perfect spot. It is also great to see Brent and Cindy following in your footsteps, giving back to the community, raising their family here and taking on the business.
JB: Yes, we started with just Ed and I. Now I don’t even know how many employees they have. They have since sold the Licence Center which had about 12 employees, but they are still in my office building!
TV: What is your vision for GP now?
JB: Oh gosh, I feel like I have been out of the business world for so long now! I don’t know that I think too much about that anymore. What I just can’t believe is the growth in the city even with the downturn in economy. It seems to me that everywhere I go there is a new building or a new business going up, and that’s really wonderful. I think that at some point the city just grows in itself and just needs the extra structure to support what is already here.
TV : It was a difficult time for you after you lost Ed. So when Cindy and Brent came to you and asked about setting up a Legacy Fund in memory of ‘Dad’ what did that mean for you at the time?
JB: Well, Ed was always very community minded. We were both in Kinsmen and Kinnets, and then when you get to be 40 you become a K-40. Then later Ed became a Rotarian and a Shrine; so community meant a lot to us we both worked and volunteered in the community a lot.
TV: What do you think Ed would think about his legacy today?
JB: Oh, I think Ed would be pleased that this was something in his memory. He really cared about community.
TV: Each year you have participated in the granting and being a Donor Advised fund you get to take the reins and say this is important to me As you recommend projects for grants, what things do you think about?
JB: Well I guess because I am a senior citizen and when Ed passed away, the Seniors Outreach Center helped me out with quite a few things. I could see that there are a lot of people that need those services, and so that is why I chose this area. It is probably more to do with this time of my life as a senior, but I just felt that that was a good place to offer my help for now. You definitely have a lot of programs that give back to like with food and snacks in the schools, and that is appealing as well.
TV: That’s the wonderful thing about the Community Foundation is that we can give back to any part of the community.
JB: Yes, and the Community Foundation gives back not just in Grande Prairie but in the surrounding communities too. I like that.
TV: When you are with us for our grant ceremony and giving back to the community like the Seniors Center – what does that mean to you?
JB: I just think that I am so glad that I am in Grande Prairie! I love it! I guess it’s no different than any other community, but when it becomes YOUR community that’s when it makes the difference.
Creating a legacy fund is easy. For more information about legacy building and how you can be involved – visit our website or contact our office at 1 780 538 2820.
Student Award Applications available on Line Now
Your Community Foundation has many great funding opportunities for post-secondary students looking for a hand reaching their education goals.
Encouraging and supporting post-secondary students is the reason some donors turn to the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. The goals of the student awards vary widely. Some support graduates of a specific high school, while others focus on a loved one’s special interests.
Learn how you can apply HERE.
COmmunity Impact Grants – available on Line Now
Your Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta has the pulse on our growing and changing region. Each year, we support a wide range of innovative projects and organizations that are changing people’s lives, helping create more vibrant, livable communities.
Charitable organizations are the heart of the community, making our region a better place to work, play and live.
Click HERE to download the application and get started.
Don’t Miss out !
WE’VE SAVED YOU A SEAT . . . THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016
PLACE: Pomeroy Hotel & Conference Center
ATTIRE: Smart Casual / Business Casual
TIME: 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm
COST: $150/ person, $1200/table of 8
RSVP: 780 538 2820 or Online at
eVENING ‘sneak peek’
• Sharing fellowship with friends & colleagues
• A platform for inspiration & philanthropy
• Tapas extraordinaire prepared by Chef Alex paired with fine wines
• Mystery guest speaker who will lead, engage & motivate guests
• Silent & live auction in support of the services of the Community Foundation