July 2022 Vol 4 Issue 7
Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):
Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling
Let me tell your story!
Welcome Mid-July, 2022!
In sharp contrast to June, the last week of July has brought us hotter than seasonal temperatures in Saskatchewan, including one day of 36 degrees Celsius! But gardeners whom I know have been relieved to get some heat, after the cool and rainy days of June. Summer on the Prairies does not feel
“right” somehow, without at least one heat wave!
In Article One, in this issue, I share a new story from a different–more spiritual–perspective than usual. It features a recent visit to my church’s ecumenical camp on the southern shores of Christopher Lake (45 minutes North of Prince Albert, SK). Facing exhaustion and with depression looming on the horizon, I opted to carpool to camp, in order to “unplug” from teaching, writing and to generally escape urban life! The insights from those five days have been an unexpected gift that I’m delighted to share with you.
In “Storytellers’ Corner,” I share what sounds like a hilarious grammar game (an oxymoron, you say? Maybe not . . . ) from American grammarian, Mignon Fogarty.
And in “Shop News,” I take an “artist’s date” along Valley Road and, in addition to the delights located there, I promote three unrelated businesses which do much to improve the lives of their clients and prospects.
My wish for all of you, good readers, is that this summer will give you time to renew relationships with family and/or friends; to restore your minds with creativity; and to leave you grateful for the blessings and benefits that grace our lives, even in challenging times.
IN THIS ISSUE:
ARTICLE 1: Are you still glad to live ‘on this earth?’: on summer renewal
STORYTELLERS’ CORNER: The grammar game, ‘Peeve Wars’
Article One: Are you still glad to ‘live on this earth?’ On summer renewal
As an ESL teacher and business communications specialist who also contributes many hours as a family caregiver, I’m not someone looking around for things to do!
But coping with burnout and lost productivity, while also wanting to avoid the messiness of air travel in this (Covid) summer, I surprised colleagues by signing up for five days of “helping in the kitchen” at the camp of my church (St. Andrew’s Presbyterian).
Please understand that it’s not that I feel I’m “above” helping out at camp. It’s more that I haven’t expected what happens there to be relaxing–that is, a space of toddlers’ smelly diapers, kitchen fires and chaos, angry wasps, voracious mosquitoes and so on. But, hoping for something better and “itching” to leave town (haha), I made some calls . . . .
My church camp is simply called, “Camp Christopher,” and was started in the 1940s when the church purchased land on the southern side of beautiful Christopher Lake (45 minutes north of Prince
Albert, SK). For decades, the camp has run gatherings of women, men, children and families, as well as provided the meeting space for other, secular groups and organizations.
And entrepreneurs learn and gain so much when we can participate in charitable activities that are organized by capable staff. The time or labour we invest often exceeds any monetary value or payment, on both sides.
Camp Christopher is based on a spirit of “ecumenism,” or openness toward faith perspectives. Every summer, the camp provides (as its mission statement says) a “safe, caring community where all may explore faith, celebrate creation and grow in relationship with Christ.” Rooted in Christian faith, but without lapsing into dogma, fundamentalism or evangelism, youth and children’s camps are designed to build the skills and character needed for the “leaders of tomorrow.”
The camp offers a wide variety of supervised water sports, art classes, photography, movie and reading times, delectable food (three square meals plus yummy bedtime snacks!) and more. There is even “tuck,” where campers can enjoy candy and treats that return them to early childhood.
(Remember “Mr. Freezies” and blue whales, anyone?)
Camp programming has meant much to generations of youth and families, over the past 80+ years. For instance, two of the camp’s most mature counsellors–two indigenous young men from Prince
Albert–are coming into their own. Yet they declined other, more financially lucrative, summer job prospects, in order to return to camp, for a final year. Thoughts of “reconciliation” between indigenous and settler communities were open for meditation and discussion.
Donna Wilkinson (Camp Administrator, runs a group home for autistic men in Regina, working shifts that allow her to finance running the camp) and Nicole Lindgren (Camp Director and head facilitator for children and youth, who administers the property between May and October, and has worked with
youth for years) are deeply talented, resourceful women. They are also delightful to spend time with.
Hearing their memories and the camp’s “success stories” can make your hearts glow. As I found, volunteering at a grassroots camp (that still needs camperships and funds!) can help us to get “back the basics” of our lives while also helping campers to experience life-altering programming.
Camp Christopher helps participants to return refreshed and better able to make critical decisions, whether on career or family.
My five days at camp involved hard work: I helped the talented, red-seal chef Bev Redman in the kitchen (what she jokingly termed a “sous-chef” position), set tables for meals, and cleaned up afterwards. But the dramatic change of scene from Saskatoon and simple repetition of tasks helped me to feel restored, emotionally and spiritually.
I lived the comment shared by meditation expert, Sam Harris:
“Just look around you and take a moment to feel how
blessed you are—
you get another day to live on this earth.”
I hope, good readers, amid the long daylight hours of this season, that you have an opportunity to pause from the rushed pace of life, to observe summer’s unfurled beauty, and to store its warmth in your minds.
To visit Camp Christopher, inquire about this summer’s schedule (camperships are still available), or to donate to its programming, please contact Donna Wilkinson at (306) 535-6916.
And now it’s your turn: How are you finding renewal this summer? Please share your experience with me; I’d be delighted to use it in another issue of “TYSN!”
STORYTELLER’s CORNER . . . .
Words, Stories, Riddles and Jokes on Writing and Editing . . . The grammar game, ‘Peeve Wars’
Looking for another summer escape, without leaving the patio or pool deck? Grammar and writing specialist Mignon Fogarty recently announced that she’s developed a “card game for summer fun.”
It’s called “Peeve Wars.” The object of the game is to collect the highest number of grammatical “pet peeve” cards, to annoy your opponents to “death!”
“Hi, yous all,” “I seen that already,” “Irregardless, I’ll participate,” are only three of many, offending examples that come to mind.
Only grammar heroes such as lexicographer “Noah Webster” and the game’s resident librarian will protect you!
The game can be played by two to four players, requires strategy and promises to be “different every time.”
It’s available for $15.99 (USD) from The Game Crafter.
Do you have a story, riddle or joke on any aspect of communications? Please share it with me; I’d be delighted to use it in an upcoming issue.
PROMOTIONS and SHARING . . .
Since summer is best when it involves R&R (see “article one” of my time at camp), I thoroughly enjoyed a visit last week to Floral Acres on Valley Road, only a few days after returning from camp! Although we are now late into gardening season, with both annuals and perennials struggling in their
greenhouse, Floral Acres also boasts a huge selection of (happier!) houseplants, and lovely trade items that pertain to indoor and outdoor plant life!
Capping off the afternoon with a stop at The Berry Barn for some of their wonderful Saskatoon berry cobbler, I felt the time was what writer Julia Cameron calls an“artist’s date.” But in this case, it was enjoyed with a like-minded friend!
Have you explored Valley Road, lately?
In addition to the places we visited, it is home to Black Fox Farm & Distillery (with its famed wildflower farm), and the Robertson Valley Farm, a great source of fresh garden produce.
If you cannot leave town for long this summer, do please explore these businesses to leave behind the concrete and tedium of urban life!
I’m delighted to update you on the success of digiSMART, the latest programming from Saskatoon’s own Praxis School of Entrepreneurship.
DigiSMART allows entrepreneurs of all kinds to “upskill” their digital knowledge.
The program’s first cohort has finished and are fast at work applying what they’ve learned.
Now: be honest. What skills do you need for your business, but haven’t had the time or money to invest in?
Taking digiSMART training has been made possible by provincial funding and so is even available FREE for business owners in and around Saskatoon!
Select from a range of 40 modules: Basic, Strategic and Specialized. Register for just one or four or 40 and build your skills toolbox.
It’s not too late to register for modules in Cohort 2, running from July through October!
Training is held at the start of the business day, from 7:15 am to 8:45 am, at 131 Wall Street (PSE Office, Saskatoon).
Going to the lake, you say? No problem! Join digiSMART via Zoom!
Special, in-depth seminars on SEO, cryptocurrency/ blockchain, podcasting, blogging and social media will be offered as the summer progresses (including by facilitators like me).
Contact Elaine (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at (306) 664-0500 to get the outline of modules and for information on how to register.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity of the summer (that will last long beyond): digiSMART!
And spread the news to other business owners who want to upgrade their tech skills in order to grow their businesses!
A shout-out this month to freelance office furniture expert, Rory Perron, a fellow alum of the “startSMART” program at the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship.
Having years of experience in selling office furniture, Rory now leads “Local Liquidations,” acquiring and selling top-quality (pristine), matching pieces of hotel and commercial furnishings, at affordable prices.
He has the experience also to advise on layout, and can arrange for delivery and installation.
Cubicles and filing cabinets as well as smaller pieces (desks, chairs, window coverings, etc.) are available.
Rory is also appreciated for collaborating with others, including entrepreneurs at Prairie Office Moving and Installation (earlier featured in this newsletter) and has been known to run a marathon or two!
Find Rory at localliquidations.ca, or by phone at (306) 230-4177.
Closer to home, I am enjoying teaching ESL students, involving detailed conversations spanning topics from the history of modern cinema (with a major on director, Ernst Lubitsch), to European opera to classical singing with my student, Eliane, who lives south of Paris (France).
I also teach the fundamentals of English grammar (focusing on reading and writing) to a newcomer student, who is a refugee from Eritrea.
ESL can involve such highly diverse teaching and students that I often wished I’d entered it before 2021, when I first received certification (from TEFL.org,
I continue to be encouraged by TEFL’s professional webinars and blog postings that share some of the field’s diversity with those building experience, like me.
There are always new businesses and entrepreneurial programs to promote. Please write me to share your stories . . . . . .But this is a wrap for mid-July!
Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.
Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now help newcomers to Canada to secure better jobs by improving their language skills; I help small- and medium-sized businesses to close more sales by communicating more effectively; and I help major companies to
tell their legacy stories.
Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant
After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!
Please visit my website for more information (www.storytellingcommunications.ca)