Monday, June 27, 2011

Pardon Me, But Could You Spare Some Air?

When I was in Junior High, I participated in a student exchange program with my class to Quebec city.

Although I lived in Northern New Brunswick, and wouldn’t be seeing anything ‘new’ in all the SNOW and COLD that Quebec had to offer, it was an absolutely AWESOME week, and one that I still fondly remember, 25yrs later.

Of course, that may be because I was one of the lucky ones, who got to stay in a freakin’ mansion! And had a whole wing to myself as a bedroom!

Unlike one of my classmates, who was made to sleep on a cot in the hallway, and had his toast thrown at him in the morning!

Five or six months later, in June, the students that we boarded with while in Quebec, came to spend a week with us, at OUR houses.

The whole point of the program/trip was to give each of us the opportunity to experience another part of the country.

Learn how similar yet different lives can be in another location, surrounded by a different culture.

These types of exchange programs are still happening today.

But not only as part of the classroom experience.

Did you know, there are children ‘out there’ who have never cooked over an open campfire?

Never rode a bike down a dirt lane.

Never had a game of baseball, on a REAL ball diamond.

Never swam in a lake.

Never laid on a blanket of grass, under a huge full moon, trying to figure out the constellations … and if that’s REALLY a bat flying overhead …

My kids are lucky. They get to enjoy these experiences EVERY day of the spring/summer months.

They get to do all these things that they just think are ‘natural’ and I’m sure simply take for granted.

Other kids don’t have these opportunities.

At all.

For many kids, the closest they’ll come to swimming in a lake, is running through the nearest open fire hydrant.

The closest they’ll come to playing on a ball field, is playing in the vacant lot next to their apartment complex.

And the only time some will ever lie in an open field, staring at the stars, and drinking in the fresh night air, is ... in their dreams.

The Fresh Air Fund is an organization hoping to change all that!

Established in 1877, the goal of this organization is to take kids from New York’s inner-cities, and match them up with HOST FAMILIES who are willing to have a child stay with them for 1-2 weeks, and experience all the things they may not have access to in their own environment.

It's only for up to two weeks, but it's an experience that can change their lives forever.

This summer, (yes, I know summer is already here, but really … we still have TWO MONTHS left of it!),
The Fresh Air Fund is in need of 1200 Host Families.

Yes, that’s 1200 across the United States and Canada.

And they do this EVERY year!

“In 2010, The Fresh Air Fund's Volunteer Host Family program, called Friendly Town, gave close to 5,000 New York City boys and girls, ages six to 18, free summer experiences in the country and the suburbs. Volunteer host families shared their friendship and homes up to two weeks or more in 13 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

Thanks to host families who open up their homes for a few weeks each summer, children growing up in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods have experienced the joys of Fresh Air experiences.”

Taken from The Fresh Air Fund website.

Did you know … “The majority of Fresh Air children are from low-income communities. These are often families without the resources to send their children on summer vacations. Most inner-city youngsters grow up in towering apartment buildings without large, open, outdoor play spaces. Concrete playgrounds cannot replace the freedom of running barefoot through the grass or riding bikes down country lanes.”

Also taken from The Fresh Air Fund website.

Learn how two weeks can change a child's life forever.

Pardon me, but could you spare some air?

Cause I know of some kids who could REALLY use it!

The Fresh Air Fund

Check it out. And maybe change a kid’s life.

It’s THAT easy.

Click HERE to learn more about donating, or becoming a host or call (800) 367-0003!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Telus Critter Challenge 2011 - Otter Takes 2nd! Thanks To YOU!

Last month TELUS launched it's new campaign, along with it's Critter Challenge and YOU heard about it HERE.

And you voted.

And for that, I thank you!

After the preliminary round, 'my' critter, Otter, went into the finals with 31% of the votes.

Your votes.

In the end, it was the Saw Whet Owl that took the early lead, and the win.

However, in the Telus Critter Challenge 2011 - Otter Takes 2nd! Thanks To YOU!

Otter may not have taken 1st place, but that's OK.

Now he's free to sign with whoever he wants, and won't be limited to strictly commercials!

You know, like those American Idols, who end up doing better than those who took home first place and signed the contract.

We won't name names ...

And *I* was a winner too!

Because YOU voted Otter into 2nd place, after I hounded you all on Facebook and at work ;-p, I won second place in the Telus Critter Blogger Challenge.

This means, a new Motorola Defy Smartphone and a Motorola XOOM Tablet are being sent to me this week!


Perhaps I'm shooting myself in the foot, (with respect to future blogging invitations) but there was one aspect of the contest I would have changed.

TELUS did a great job of promoting the contest on Facebook, and publicly thanking all the Facebook voters.

I know, I was there checking out Otters votes every night.

But not once, that I saw (and yes, I googled), did they mention or acknowledge the bloggers they had working behind the scenes.

The Critter Campaign Managers

Driving traffic to that Facebook page, to vote for their Critter.

As I said in my first post, it wasn't the lure of the prizes that got me on-board, it was the fact they considered me one of Canada's top bloggers, and asked me in the first place.

And don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful they DID ask me to participate.

It just would have been nice to have been acknowledged, in some way, for doing so.

But ya know what? I had fun with it.

You read, you voted, and hopefully entered their contest too!

So thank you.

Thank you for taking the time to vote, to help raise money for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and for helping me win some great prizes.

I still think Otters are pretty damn cute.

And he really Otter WON!