It was a rare opportunity for the YMCA to celebrate 50 years in Pictou County, present YMCA Peace Awards and host a renowned sports celebrity, Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean.
It all happened on Monday as those 50 years were marked on various levels during what was called a Birthday Breakfast Bash and awards went to three worthy recipients.
Jeana’s Girls received the Peace Medal in the youth category, recognizing their contribution to the Relay for Life in memory of Jeana English and the other extraordinary things these young women have achieved.
Terry and Carol Curley were feted in the individual category for their promotion of health, wellness and community spirit for all ages through the Johnny Miles Running Event Weekend in June, as well as and related events that include the Resolution Run on December 31, the Miss Miles Classic women’s fun run in May, the Run for the Lobster in early July and the Melmerby Triathlon later in the month.
The Shepherd’s Lunch Room received the award in the organization category for providing lunchtime meals twice a week in New Glasgow. They are served on Mondays and Thursdays, with few exceptions, at Trinity United Church.
The timing was appropriate in one of the most recent ways to connect with Mi’kmaq History Month in Nova Scotia with greetings from Chief Andrea Paul of Pictou Landing First Nation.
MacLean offered some welcome examples of sportsmanship from which all of us can take lessons. He talked about Mike Babcock’s arrival as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs during a career that has spanned the University of Lethbridge, the Detroit Red Wings and head coach of the Canadian teams that won Olympic gold medals in 2010 in Vancouver and 2014 in Russia.
Steve Yzerman, one of the all-time great members of the Red Wings and general manager of Canada’s team, was cited for how he prepared everyone involved in the mission — including the parents of those players, and how they were told not to let their expectations for their offspring to supersede the quest for gold.
MacLean’s mixture of wisdom, humour and total recall can be summed up in one thing he said: “The more we take care of each other, the more things look after themselves.”
The YMCA has been doing that for a long time — for more than 50 years in Pictou County when one considers the location of Big Cove Camp at the head of Merigomish Harbour. We happen to frequent the Y’s mission and example at the Wellness Centre, but the abiding opportunities for fitness and character building and the rewards people derive from them are reason for constant reflection and celebration