Category: Families

Articles of interest to current and prospective families e.g. Hogwarts summer camp, Mystery pal program, changes to Messy Church, First Sundays etc.

Lifespan Corner: Your guide to 2022-2023 programming at UCV

Fall is upon us dear friends, and I hope to see many more of you in the next few months, may health prevail! The past three years have been a deep disruption in our lives and while many of you have been present in-person for Sunday worship, events, or small groups, I still talk with one or two people most Sundays who are coming back for the very first time in two-and-a-half years.  

This is a time of restarting, of renewal, of re-building our trust and belief in each other, in Unitarianism, and in this place we call home to our hearts and souls. Many of us are craving deep connections, meaning, and reassurance that we matter and that we belong here together. This year we are leaning into Covenant, into trust, and into building community anew.  

Olivia and I, your Lifespan Faith staff, have worked hard this summer to plan programs and opportunities for people of many ages, life stages, needs, and interests. My hope is for small groups, classes, and circles to thrive and nurture the deep connections gained in intimate spaces. 

To support and strengthen connections and to find your place in the sea of possibilities you can do the following: 

Join, Create, or Register a Small Group 

Do you want to connect with 6-12 people around a theme, interest, creative endeavor, or spiritual question?  

Do you already organize, facilitate or participate in a Small Group, Book Discussion, Circle, or regular small gathering in-person at UCV or through UCV Zoom?  Tell us about it with this form: www.ucv.im/small-groups-form 

Join one of our 2022 UU Wellspring groups: spiritual deepening for the UU Soul 

UU Wellspring is a unique 10-month small group program offered in a multi-platform setting. The twice a month, 2-hour sessions offer participants an opportunity for spiritual deepening that leads to more joyful living, increased confidence in Unitarian identity, and faithful justice making in their lives and in their communities.  

Read more about, and register for, Wellspring Sources and our shorter courses, Sacred Earth Reads and UU Wellspring for Young Adults on our website here. 

Stay tuned to our weekly and monthly newsletters  

We have plans for a Unitarian Elders Circle, a discussion circle on Tolerance and our First Principle, ongoing Death Café discussions, Community Dinners, Family Potlucks, and Vespers Circle Worship.  If you can help lift any of these endeavors off the ground, please be in touch with Kiersten and Derrick. 

Children and Youth Program Registration 

For all new and returning families, all children must be registered so that we have vital information about parent/guardians, children’s needs, photo permissions or restrictions, and so we can maintain appropriate child/adult ratios in the classroom. 

Register your child/ren for the 2022-23 Program Year at www.ucv.im/REfamily  

Read on to know what you are registering them for! 

Sunday Morning Programs 

Everyone starts in the service together and Kids leave to do their program after the story. Programs run a little longer than service so parents can enjoy coffee hour. 

 

Pray ground (Sanctuary friendly – floor zone)

small child and teen work on a puzzle together. Sitting on a gold carpet in the sunlight with pillows.

The pray ground allows parents to be present in worship with their children, it is up front because that is the best place for kids to see what is going on, be engaged as they are able, and teaches them that they belong here. They are safe in a loving community. It is designed for those who need to be near their parents for any reason. 

Our pray ground is the area at the very front of the sanctuary on the right side, with our teen volunteers ready to quietly play during worship or outside if needed. It has carpets and pillows, colouring and stuffies, board books and fidget toys! This zone is designed for those who are too wriggly to sit in a chair for an hour and not ready or willing to join a program. Children who are going to go to a program can hang out here until they are sung out, and those who are not able or don’t want to leave their parents can stay all service comfortably near their parents. 

Superhero Academy 

silhouette of muscled superhero with a cape on a primary color blocked background with sound effect words "wow" and "pow!" Title reads "Superhero Academy coming soon"

Focus: play-based learning about justice, covenant, and community 

Age: 5-9 (grades K-4) 

Time and place: 11:15-12:15 in person at UCV 

Are you a fan of the Teen Titans or Black Panther? Or are you more interested in learning about your values through playing games with new friends? Superhero Academy is our children’s group for this year, and you’re all invited!  

 

Crossing Paths   

Focus: understanding the religious and spiritual practices of our neighbours and ourselves 

Age: 10-12 (grades 5-7) 

Time and place: 11:15-12:15 in-person at UCV; also includes fieldtrips once a month to other houses of worship in our community (carpool/transit buddies can be arranged) 

Crossing Paths is a core program for UU children. We invite kids beginning to question life-death-and-the-beyond to join with us in exploring many faith traditions and how they relate to our own. We start with Unitarian Universalism and aim to cover many other traditions practiced in our area, from Buddhism to Islam to Paganism to Coast Salish spirituality. This year’s program is a continuation of last spring’s program, which already spent time on Judaism and Christianity. However, there is no need to have attended last year to attend this year.  

 

Special Program Registration 

Special programs take place at different times outside of Sunday morning. They are often specific to a peer cohort of similar age. They aim to build community within UCV, work on justice in the community at large, and build deep connection to values and identity. Youth may join on their own regardless of parent involvement or membership.  The Our Whole Lives program does have a required parent orientation. 

 

Coming of Age  

Focus: UU identity and our community 

Age: 12-13 

Register here: www.ucv.im/CoA  

Time and place: twice a month for two hours each, exact time tbd; in person at UCV 

Coming of Age is a core program for UU kids as they become youth. A group of bridging-in youth become a close-knit community as they ask themselves “what is Unitarian Universalism and why does it matter to us?” UCV elders and our facilitators work with participants to learn what they receive from community, what they give back, and how communities practice their values.  

 

Youth Group  

Focus: covenant, worship, games, exploration, justice – everything chosen by youth! 

Age: 13-18 or currently in high school 

Contact Olivia Hall: youth@vancouverunitarians.ca 

Time and place: 1-3 pm Sunday afternoons in person at UCV; also sometimes includes sleepovers on Saturday nights, fieldtrips, and discord game times 

How to possibly describe youth group? Youth group is fun because teens hanging out is fun! Youth group dives deep because teens dive deep! Youth group is led by teens alongside adult advisors in a safe and supported space to be themselves, be weird, find purpose, and give back. This group is open to all teens connected (however loosely) to UCV. You’re always welcome here. 

 

Bridger’s Program  

Focus: preparing our oldest youth for the transitions in their lives 

Age: 16-19, or gr 11, 12, and first year post high school 

Contact Olivia Hall: youth@vancouverunitarians.ca 

Time and place: two Mondays a month 7-9 pm in person at UCV; also some sleepovers 

Unitarians call the process of moving from youth to young adulthood “Bridging”, the symbol of moving into a new life stage. We create a metaphorical bridge to existing in the world and as a Unitarian with more autonomy and shared responsibility. 

Bridger’s Program is a small group for our oldest youth who have been part of UCV or a neighbouring congregation for a while. Two Wednesdays a month, and some sleepovers, we will gather to be with each other in this time of transition. Our leaders help youth to plan post-secondary endeavors (What’s a bursary? What’s a course requirement? How do I fill out my application? Do I even want to keep going to school?), read through Wellspring Youth Sources (What are our UU sources? What spiritual practices keep me grounded? How do I take care of myself and others?), and lead our OWL program (What’s a healthy sexual relationship? How do I make space for my own gender and sexual identity?). And it’s fun.  

 

OWL for Senior High (gr 11-12)  

Focus: trans and queer affirming sexuality education 

Age: gr 11 and 12 

Register Here: www.ucv.im/OWLregister  

Time and place: one Monday a month 7-9 in person at UCV; some Saturday evenings as well 

Cost: pay-what-you-can sliding scale, $25-$125; no one will be denied due to lack of funds, no payment is required 

Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education is a program used by UUs and other denominations all over the place to support us at all stages of our lives. The grade 11-12 program focusses on sexual health, lifespan sexuality, building healthy sexual relationships, and sexuality and social issues. Our three leaders (two of whom are queer adults themselves) are trained through the program. Our group this year is a majority queer group of amazing teens. Though OWL is offered through UCV, it’s a secular program. Gr 11-12 OWL is part of our Bridger’s Program for older youth, but youth are able to do this part separately without joining the Bridger’s Program. Please join us! 

 

UCV Small Groups: Fall Start-up and Refresh

Join, Create, or Register a Small Group

collection of books on a table, titles related to spirituality, justice, and Unitarian Universalism.

Do you want to connect with 6-12 people around a theme, interest, creative endeavor, or spiritual question?

Do you already organize, facilitate or participate in a Small Group, Book Discussion, Circle, or regular small gathering in-person at UCV or through UCV Zoom? Tell us about it! www.ucv.im/small-groups-form

Vancouver Unitarians vision is for a more compassionate world. At UCV we deepen our spiritual and religious lives, grow and enrich our congregation, and advocate for love and justice.

To connect folks, new and old members alike, to deep meaningful community, Kiersten and Derrick need to know what is already going on, what you are looking for, what possibilities you imagine, and what you want to create.

To re-vitalize our directory of small groups, join an existing group, or create a new one, please use this form: www.ucv.im/small-groups-form

Register for Children and Youth Program Year

For all new and returning families, all children must be registered so that we have vital information about parent/guardians, children’s needs, photo permissions or restrictions, and so we can maintain appropriate child/adult ratios in the classroom.

Register your child/ren for the 2022-23 Program Year at www.ucv.im/REfamily

Read on to know what you are registering them for!

Sunday Morning Programs

Everyone starts in the service together and children leave to do their program after the story. Programs run a little longer than service so parents can enjoy coffee hour. All Sunday morning programs are included in the Family Registration at www.ucv.im/REfamily

Pray ground (Sanctuary friendly floor zone)

small child and teen work on a puzzle together. Sitting on a gold carpet in the sunlight with pillows.

The pray ground allows parents to be present in worship with their children, it is up front because that is the best place for kids to see what is going on, be engaged as they are able, and teaches them that they belong here. They are safe in a loving community. It is designed for those who need to be near their parents for any reason.

Our pray ground is the area at the very front of the sanctuary on the right side, with our teen volunteers ready to quietly play during worship or outside if needed. It has carpets and pillows, colouring and stuffies, board books and fidget toys! This zone is designed for those who are too wriggly to sit in a chair for an hour and not ready or willing to join a program. Children who are going to a program can hang out here until they are sung out, and those who are not able or don’t want to leave their parents can stay as long as they want to.

 

Superhero Academy

silhouette of muscled superhero with a cape on a primary color blocked background with sound effect words "wow" and "pow!" Title reads "Superhero Academy coming soon"
written by Meredith Plummer; Director of Lifespan Faith Development at First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati, 2022.

Focus: play-based learning about justice, covenant, and community with an anti-racist lens.

Age: 5-9 (grades K-4)

Time and place: 11:15-12:15 in person at UCV

Are you a fan of the Teen Titans or Black Panther? Or are you more interested in learning about your values through playing games with new friends? Superhero Academy is our children’s group for this year, and you’re all invited!

Family Registration: www.ucv.im/REfamily

Crossing Paths

circular wood table with religious symbols arranged, chalice, menorah, singing bowl, jump rope, binoculars, and pencil crayons

Focus: understanding the religious and spiritual practices of our neighbours and ourselves

Age: 10-12 (grades 5-7)

Time and place: 11:15-12:15 in-person at UCV; also includes fieldtrips once a month to other houses of worship in our community (carpool/transit buddies can be arranged)

Crossing Paths is a core program for UU children. We invite kids beginning to question life-death-and-the-beyond to join with us in exploring many faith traditions and how they relate to Unitarian Universalism. We start with Unitarian Universalism and aim to cover many other traditions practiced in our area, from Buddhism to Islam to Paganism to Coast Salish spirituality. This year’s program is a continuation of last spring’s program, which already spent time on Judaism and Christianity. However, there is no need to have attended last year to attend this year.

Family Registration: www.ucv.im/REfamily

Special Program Registration

Special programs take place at different times outside of Sunday morning. They are often specific to a peer cohort of similar age. They aim to build community within UCV, work on justice in the community at large, and build deep connection to values and identity. Youth may join on their own regardless of parent involvement or membership.  The Our Whole Lives program does have a required parent orientation.

Coming of Age

group of five young teenagers posing together with homemade masks

Focus: UU identity and our community

Age: 12-13

Register here: www.ucv.im/CoA

Time and place: twice a month for two hours each, exact time tbd; in person at UCV

Coming of Age is a core program for UU kids as they become youth. A group of bridging-in youth become a close-knit community as they ask themselves “what is Unitarian Universalism and why does it matter to us?” UCV elders and our facilitators work with participants to learn what they receive from community, what they give back, and how communities practice their values.

Youth Group

meeting room with youth and adults seated in a circle of chairs and couches

Focus: covenant, worship, games, exploration, justice – everything chosen by youth!

Age: 13-18 or currently in high school

Contact Olivia Hall: youth@vancouverunitarians.ca

Time and place: 1-3 pm Sunday afternoons in person at UCV; also sometimes includes sleepovers on Saturday nights, fieldtrips, and discord game times

How to possibly describe youth group? Youth group is fun because teens hanging out is fun! Youth group dives deep because teens dive deep! Youth group is led by teens alongside adult advisors in a safe and supported space to be themselves, be weird, find purpose, and give back. This group is open to all teens connected (however loosely) to UCV. You’re always welcome here.

Bridger’s Program

3-d swirl of rainbow colors

Focus: preparing our oldest youth for the transitions in their lives

Age: 16-19, or gr 11, 12, and first year post high school

Contact Olivia Hall: youth@vancouverunitarians.ca

Time and place: two Mondays a month 7-9 pm in person at UCV; also some sleepovers

Unitarians call the process of moving from youth to young adulthood “Bridging”, they symbol of moving into a new life stage. We create a metaphorical bridge to existing in the world and as a Unitarian with more autonomy and shared responsibility.

Bridger’s Program is a small group for our oldest youth who have been part of UCV or a neighbouring congregation for a while. Two Wednesdays a month, and some sleepovers, we will gather to be with each other in this time of transition. Our leaders help youth to plan post-secondary endeavors (What’s a bursary? What’s a course requirement? How do I fill out my application? Do I even want to keep going to school?), read through Wellspring Youth Sources (What are our UU sources? What spiritual practices keep me grounded? How do I take care of myself and others?), and lead our OWL program (What’s a healthy sexual relationship? How do I make space for my own gender and sexual identity?). And it’s fun.

OWL for Senior High (gr 11-12)

word cloud of sexuality and relationship topics covered in Our Whole Lives sexuality education

Focus: trans and queer affirming sexuality education

Age: gr 11 and 12

Register Here: www.ucv.im/OWLregister

Time and place: one Monday a month 7-9 pm in person at UCV; some Saturday evenings as well

Cost: pay-what-you-can sliding scale, $25-$125; no one will be denied due to lack of funds

Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education is a program used by UUs and other denominations all over the place to support us at all stages of our lives. The grade 11-12 program focusses on sexual health, lifespan sexuality, building healthy sexual relationships, and sexuality and social issues. Our three leaders (two of whom are queer adults themselves) are trained through the program. Our group this year is a majority queer group of amazing teens. Though OWL is offered through UCV, it’s a secular program. Gr 11-12 OWL is a stand-alone part of our Bridger’s Program for older youth, any youth currently age 16 or 17 may join this program.

OWL is Back!

We are excited to announce a new offering of the Our Whole Lives sexuality education for grades 8 &9 (ages 12-14). Because this class can only be held in person and students come from many different areas of metro Vancouver, we are requiring that all students be age 12 or older and fully vaccinated by the start of class (October 3rd). We will require masks indoors until they are no longer recommended by BC public health.

This is a comprehensive, school-year long program led by trained volunteers and staff. You can read more about this award winning curriculum on our website, check out the dates for this year’s class, and REGISTER HERE.

Mystery Pals 2021 Save the date: Saturday, September 18

These kids are moving away, but Paula is enthusiastic about keeping in contact with her pal.

Covid restrictions at UCV and elsewhere are lifting and more and more of us are fully vaccinated, so summertime is a great time to connect with your mystery pal (or coming of age partner). If you need help with contact information, let us know.

There’s a lot of enthusiasm for an early fall Pal meetup at UCV so SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, September 18 from 4 to 5:30 pm.  All pals are invited to an autumn “Pal Party”. We’ll harvest, munch, play and walk and run or even dance on the labyrinth. Possibly this will be the first annual fall Pal Party. Unitarian traditions come easily.

With the needed covid adaptations, we went ahead with our Mystery Pal program this year to connect up people from different generations. Indeed we had the largest group ever: Fourteen pairs participated. Most were kids matched with an adult, but we had a couple of younger adults matched with older and two kids under 14 matched together!

Most chose snail mail which came to UCV and then was forwarded. Hence, the usual four-week program became eight to allow for postal forwarding. Other pairs chose to send email through a volunteer.

To offer assistance, we included artist trading card (“ATC”) materials for those who wanted to create art to share–and many did!

If you were a pal or parent of a pal and haven’t yet completed our feedback form, we’d really appreciate it: https://forms.gle/pG2aJoJ4c3yZoaf57 You can RSVP for September 18th there as well.

As time went on, our hopes for a big spring reveal party were dashed by covid restrictions, so individual pairs and small groups have been meeting up in parks or at UCV. Here’s a poem and some photos.

This pair have started a vegetable garden and are meeting weekly to garden together. Cynthia applauded us for making a “perfect match” with her new pal. On July 25, they read the “story for all ages” together, adding in their own stories as well.

 

Mystery Pal Revealed so much

by Vivian Davidson

Being a mystery pal was as fun as it was exciting,

To exchange letters had me antsy to keep writing.

I loved learning more and more about my mystery friend

I could hardly wait for my fresh letter to send.

I am grateful to have had this opportunity

To engage so intimately with someone in my UCV community.

To feel the paper, read the words sent to me by my pal

Mairy Beam got to visit the Imagine: Van Gogh exhibit with her mystery pal, Maddie, and sister Emma and mom, Sheri.

Was something so wonderful forever treasure I shall.

I hope others in the future engage in this wonderful treat

For it’s rare to get the chance to learn about others at UCV you meet.

It was exciting to think about and plan what to say and write

Oh my watch my grammar, serendipitous did I spell it right?

I learned letter by letter about my special pal and their likes

That included leaves and stickers, dolphins and hikes.

I can now certainly attest to how great it is to have a mystery pal

It was my first time and certainly a boost to my morale.

I will be back and ready to write, draw, paint and send

What a great way for a lonely day or weary heart to mend.

For this mystery pal exchange is a real treat for the young and young at heart

And made me feel special and that to UCV’s community I really am a part.

Artist to Artist Mystery Pals

We try to match up pals with something in common: Paula is an artist and loved her exchanges with her artist pal.

Here’s what she says:

Who couldn’t use an emergency packet of confetti?

My last package included a great picture of a unicorn with very long legs and a long neck and a little horn, a thin long multi-coloured banner announcing I LOVE PURPLE,  a bracelet made of beads and pipe cleaners and (best of all) a custom packet of homemade confetti. On the outside it said  I LOVE MAKING THINGS.  IN FACT I AM AN ARTIST.
Who couldn’t use an emergency packet of confetti? They are little bundles of  joy coming coming through the post and  it just makes my day when I receive one  🙂
-Paula

Their pair had the codename “Wolfgang Gerson” and it accidentally led Paula to exploring the theme of home/buildings and a connection with a student and friend of Wolfgang Gerson’s, the architect of our buildings.

 

Charlotte and Eva and Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee’s Adventures

I really enjoyed reading the story complete with an illustration of two birds named: Mr. & Mrs. Chickadee who are discussing where to build their nest to start their family made by Eva who is trying to encourage Mr. & Mrs. Chickadee to not peck holes in the house wooden siding for their nest.
It was lots of fun receiving Eva’s letters AND meeting her in person!
Charlotte

Panda in the Sun by Charlotte

 

Kid Art Wanted

Hey there! Creative kids and families,

This is the story for August 22, 2021 for the worship service which will reflect on our experience of the pandemic.

I got the book from the library and as usual, it has ONE illustrator only and I thought about some of you and the stories I know about what you did during the past 18 months (and what you didn’t do) and I thought: I’d like us to share this poem/story with YOUR artwork.

Please send me art (drawing, painting, photograph) in horizontal format in jpeg or png by August 15th and I’ll include it when Way Kent is reading the story on August 22nd.

Here’s a youtube video of the poem:

 

Here’s the text:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

Here’s the sung version.

I hope you’ll sign your piece so we can credit you.

You could also drop off or mail to UCV marked with “Pandemic art for Mary Bennett.”

 

 

Remember the Children – June 5 Event

Thirty people helped to create an orange installation on our corner and magically (with hard work) transform a labyrinth full of buttercup weeds into a bright orange spectacle.

Throughout June, Indigenous Peoples Month, we expect to host more gatherings to make sure both sites remain beautiful and invite our neighbours and our own community to come and participate.

49th and Oak Corner

With the terrible news about the  abused and murdered children buried in a mass grave at the Kamloops residential school, I wanted to do something at UCV to  acknowledge the pain and reflect our growing awareness and demands for change. The UCV community  had already agreed to donate money to the IRSSS (Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society), but I wanted to also put on a public face to  remind others not in our community that we ALL need to care and remember.

What started  out as an idea to put a few children’s toys by the trees, grew into an act of community solidarity and art.
On Saturday June 5, while volunteers planted 215 marigolds into the labyrinth, about a dozen adults and children braved the traffic noise at the corner of Oak and 49th to cover the UCV sign and nearby trees with  orange ribbons, flowers, tshirt cutouts and signs. A project to attach 215 strands of wool to a clothes line was started as a visceral example of how large a number 215 is!
The rains came at night and the ribbons and signs are soggy.  We will need to refresh the signs, add more wool strands (because 215 is only the start) and straighten the ribbons next week.
Perhaps this is the first time we’ve decorated our corner?! Let it not be the last.
-Tamiko Suzuki

Labyrinth

215 orange flowers on the labyrinth

This vision just popped into my head as I, like many, started thinking: but what can *I* do? There’s so much that can be done and I’m very proud to be part of UCV as we’ve made a statement and donated money.
I so appreciate the number of people who brought flowers, worked long and hard to prep the labyrinth (it was badly in need of weeding) and then planted the orange blooms. Plus there are 48 nasturtiums not yet in bloom. It will “orange-up” over the next while.
What moved me most was the number of side conversations I witnessed as we worked – and connected with each other over the time.
Thank you to our minister, Rev. Lara Cowtan, for beautiful and moving words and an ongoing pastoral presence.
(There are still a few buttercups and lots of grass where it shouldn’t be, so if you’re ever inclined to spend a couple of hours there, do please contact me and we can set something up.)
– Mary Bennett

UCV Actions

UCV President has made a statement and our Outreach Opportunities Fund have donated $3000 with more to come to Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).

Message from the Outreach Opportunities Fund Committee.

A $3000 donation from the balance of the OOF account has been made by UCV, effective immediately, to support the work of the Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).

In order to support the increased demand for their services, the IRSSS will also be the recipient of the OOF effective July 1.
As we all know, the impact of residential schools on the Indigenous population has been profound. The IRSSS was established with the mission to provide physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual growth, development, and healing through culturally-based values and guiding principles to residential school survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas.
– OOF Committee, June 2021

 

 

Esmé’s Credo Comic

Hi everyone!

As part of the Coming of Age program at UCV, our bridging youth have crafted credos to share with the congregation. Their credo is a statement about their beliefs about the world right now.

Esmé decided to share her credo in the form of a comic. She’ll talk about it in the service tomorrow, and we’re posting it here for you to peruse in full. There’s a link at the bottom of this post that will allow you to download the pdf if you wish.

This is my credo comic that I was talking about at Sunday’s service! I’m really, really excited for you to read it!

The 1st Principle inspired it, but now I see all of the principles all over it.
Enjoy! And hug a snail!

— Esmé

 

 

Esmé credo final

Time to Spill the Beans

It’s time for the Mystery Pals to reveal their true identity.

We had hoped to be able to have an event at UCV and considered zoom, but…  have decided to just invite you all to do one last letter or email “spilling the beans” – sharing your true identity and expressing (we hope) an intention to meet on zoom or in person at some point in future.

Indeed some congregations consider the mystery pal program a year-long event. We know that some of you have found some things in common and we’d love to think it’s just the start of something rather than the end.

We’d like to share some of the stories. From “eavesdropping” on emails or hearing things, we know there’s some fun connections that have been made. Could you send us 150-200 words – or pictures even better – about how the program went for you?

Mystery Pal Update May 2021

We’re all a little tired of hearing “This year will be different…”

It certainly applies to our Mystery Pal program.

This  program matches up two individuals from different “generations”–which could mean a 40-year old with an 80-year-old or a 5-year-old with a 22-year old (or 13-year-old since “generations” are a bit different for the very young!)

In previous years, each  Sunday for a month, both partners brought mail and left in their “mail slot” (paper bag) in Hewett Centre.

This year, most of the 14 pairs are sending mail by Canada Post. To keep identity secret, they mail to UCV and Kiersten mails out anonymously just using the “codename” for the pair. Now we realize of course, that the postal service lag means that the exchanges will likely be every two weeks, so a partner can receive mail and then respond.

This necessarily slows down the process, but the good news is we believe everyone has received at least one letter in the mail by now (and the email pals are already emailing up a storm–they go to Mary Bennett and then are forwarded).

More good news (we hope) is that the current public health regulations will be changed after the May long weekend. We (Kiersten and Mary) are hoping that on the last weekend in May or early June, we might be able to have a modified in-person “Reveal Party” such as arranging people in smaller groups of 10-15 to meet or even staggering pairs to meet. Masked and outdoors, we hope will be possible for at least 10 at a time.

Mary will be setting up an ATC (Artist Trading Card) sharing/trading station and we’ll do some other outdoor games and activities.

As one family put it, we’re *really* hoping for “anything but zoom!!”  But we’ll have to see!