check out our blog with lovely posts from our youth ambassadors!
Here you will find stories from our youth about their kind deeds for the community and their adventures.
Hello kind krafters!!
It's been a while since I last wrote a blog as I have been away in Newfoundland for the last three weeks touring with the National Youth Choir! I had an amazing trip (minus the snow in Gander) and I am sad to leave all of the music and new friends on "The Rock".
Firstly, I want to say how thankful I am to be able to participate in the National Youth Choir. This was my third year representing Nova Scotia and I'm always amazed at how each year is as good as the last. I thoroughly enjoyed working with my fellow choristers from across Canada as well as Jeff Joudrey, Gabrielle Gaudreault, and Phil Roberts. It is such an honour to be able to work with these talented musicians and to tour beautiful provinces for the purpose of sharing music.
(The choir rehearsing before a concert)
The trip started in St. John's where we stayed at MUN for our rehearsal week. The conductor, Jeff Joudrey, jumped right into the music and everyone was so enthusiastic about our repertoire. One of my favourite things is having a first rehearsal with a new choir. Everyone learns their music at home and so you never know what to expect when the whole group finally comes together. After finishing the rehearsal, we all knew that this was going to be a fun year. Over the next week we polished all of the twenty pieces and then set out for our upcoming tour.
(Laycie, Olivia, Connor, and I)
The choir then travelled to Cornerbrook, Stephenville, Gander, Clarenville, Carbonear and finally St. John's. At each new location we met tons of new people and were able to explore the area. I'm so thankful for the enthusiastic audience in Cornerbrook, the INCREDIBLE dinner in Stephenville, my super awesome billets in Gander, being able to see my friend from Acadia in Clarenville, and the unreal hospitality shown to the choir in Carbonear. Our wonderful tour manager, Kristian, and her family gave us the true Newfoundland experience as all forty-five of us swarmed their home for dinner and a party. We also got screeched in, where community members watched us kiss the cod and dance a good Newfoundland jig. The choir couldn't be more grateful for what Kristian, Astro, and her family did for us during the tour – we LOVE you!!!
(Kristian and I – The choir at Kristian’s house)
(Nova Scotia gets screeched in)
Throughout the week, there were a few events involving community outreach which really stuck with me. In Cornerbrook, Gander, and Carbonear we were able to meet with the local choirs and work on one of our pieces with them. It was so much fun to watch how excited they were to be able to sing with us. It made me remember how inspiring it used to be for me to sing alongside my older peers when I was in junior choirs. I don't think we realize how influential small moments like that can be and so it was really awesome to be able to have that experience.
When we were in St. John's we had a mental health workshop with Dr. Jan Buley. At first the choir was barely awake and probably not in the best shape, but we quickly snapped out of it as Jan got to work. We did an emotional exercise which definitely brought the choir closer. It was so important for us to have this workshop and to have that time to be with each other in a non-musical setting. Later on that day, we met with the Stella's Circle Inclusion Choir and listened to them sing an original song for us. The Inclusion Choir is based in St. John's and most of the members have experienced homelessness or have gone through a period of struggle. Stella's Circle is a local organization that provide services to adults who face barriers that prevent them from fully participating in their community. These barriers include mental health challenges, addictions, trauma, poverty, homelessness, criminal justice involvement, low literacy, and long periods of unemployment. The organization has several ways for people to be involved including the choir. It was beautiful to hear the song they wrote and to have the opportunity to meet such lovely people. Visit http://stellascircle.ca/ to learn more about the organization and all of the ways they are helping their community.
(Me and Connor with our matching scarves)
Finally, we reached Podium (Canada's national choral conference and festival which is co-presented by Choral Canada and a provincial host every two years) and a snazzy new hotel in St. John's. On Sunday we had our final concert in the gorgeous basilica – the acoustics were out of this world!! It was bittersweet performing our final piece but we still had two workshops to go! The next day we were fortunate enough to be able to work with composer Ēriks Ešenvalds and sing two of his pieces, "Stars" and "Only in Sleep". What amazed me the most about this particular workshop, was how Ešenvalds got us to think. Instead of simply stating how he wanted us to sound (warmer tone, less vibrato, more open, etc.) he would make us discover it for ourselves by telling us to sound like "winter". It was so cool to see how effective that terminology was compared to telling us what he wanted more directly. He was a very lovely man and I'm so thankful to have been able to work with him.
I loved exploring the city and meeting so many locals who were always up for a chat. I got to catch up with a friend I hadn't seen in years and talking with him made me so happy – thanks Tristan! I am now obsessed with the city's Jellybean Row Houses and have decided I will have a brightly coloured house when I'm older. It's a beautiful place and I wish that I had been able to see more of it during my stay. Now that I've been to Newfoundland I can't wait to go back!
Hello kind krafters!!
I hope everyone has been having an awesome beginning of summer, if you are on vacation or working for the summer like myself!
This summer I have the privilege to be working with children all summer! Between my summer employment and teaching my own music lessons, I am so lucky to be working with the little ones all summer.
My summer job is working at “Family Services” as the “Kid Power Camp” Co-Coordinator and Instructor. “Family Services” provides assistance as well as counseling to families in need as well as children.
Family Services “Kid Power Camp”
As the “Kid Power” instructor, I get to do crafts, improv activities and many outdoor and nature trails, games and relays! During these camps we enforce no bullying, self esteem building, being kind to the environment as well as others with the kids. Being able to use craft and the outdoors to teach and enforce these ideas with the kids is incredibly inspiring. I love feeling like I am using skills that Kind Krafts promotes everyday! Being able to do this with kids is just so much fun!
“SPEC Nature Trail”
Along with keeping myself busy with with my awesome summer job, I am also teaching private music lessons! Being able to share my passion with young students who share this with me is my favorite thing I have been up to this summer. I am so lucky to have such great students to share music with. When I was younger, having lessons and being able to improve in music was such a big impact on the musician I am today as well as the person I am.
Student, Emma Barrett
Wanting to be a teacher is a long term goal and dream of mine and having the opportunities this summer to be able to work with kids is so special. I want to be able to give my students opportunities to use the voices they have to better themselves and the community in anyway they feel passionate about.
As much as I hope to inspire the kids I get the pleasure to work with, they inspire me as well! Children are full of bright thoughts and ideas and just really help to remind me to always spread kindness. Working with kids is the coolest.
Hope summer is awesome kind krafters!
Hello kind krafters!
While reading and keeping myself informed with all the amazing work that kind krafts does as well as talking with my fellow youth ambassador about volunteer ideas for the upcoming school year AND keeping up with summer work, teaching lessons as well as the busy life of friends, family and planning for the future, things can get busy!
I am someone who loves to be involved, positive and constantly on the go. With this being said, sometimes it’s important to take a step back and reflect on our own well being.
Self love is something we sometimes put on the back burner but in order to put our best foot forward in the community it all starts with ourselves.
What are the benefits of self care and self love?
How do I practice self care?
Self care comes in all shapes and sizes but here are some things I like to do to practice self care!
Acadia Wind Ensemble Concert
Just Us!, Wolfville NS
Sydney Maclennan Photography
Self love is different for everyone!
Don’t forget, self care and appreciation doesn’t happen overnight. Any little step toward taking care and appreciating yourself is something to be extremely proud of and everyone practices self care differently. It is okay not to be okay. Find something that works for you and makes you happy and pursue it! Self care is not selfish.
“If you don’t love yourself how the hell you gonna love somebody else” - RuPaul
Take some time for yourself and continue the awesome work here at Kind Krafts!
Until next time,
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one" - Mother Teresa
Hey kind krafters!
With our new cause for the season being Community Gardens, I have been thinking about ways that I can contribute to building sustainable local food systems when I head back to university in the fall. I volunteer regularly with the Wolfville Farmer's Market where I have access to fresh, healthy, and nutritious food and am wondering how I can use this to my advantage when helping others.
I decided to message a group of my AMAZING friends to ask if they would be willing to start a mini soup kitchen when we all return to Acadia in the fall, and it was so lovely to see how eager everyone was to get going. We then started brainstorming a bunch of other ways we could get involved with our community and help those in need throughout the year. I was so happy to see this response and it showed to me that all you need to do is ask and you will be flooded with support.
However, as we plan out the logistics, there is still plenty of work that can be done in our different provinces while we live at home for the summer. I took a look through different websites to find food banks and meal programs close to me. Here's what I found -
https://www.feednovascotia.ca/find-food - Feed Nova Scotia's website is probably one of the most up-to-date resources online. If you click on the link provided you will be able to find all the necessary information to find any program near you! Feed Nova Scotia is a charitable organization that collects and distributes food to more than 150 food banks and meal programs around the province.
http://adsumcourt.weebly.com/drop-in-centres-soup-kitchens--food-banks.html - The Adsum Court in Dartmouth is one of the locations for Adsum for Women & Children. This super helpful link provides a list of drop-in centres, food banks, and soup kitchens around HRM. The locations are also written on the website along with days and times that their services are in use!
I also asked the brilliant volunteer coordinator at the Wolfville Market if she knew of any programs in the Valley and here are some of the things she told me -
About our cause!
The Dartmouth North Community Food Centre is a project of the Dartmouth Family Centre. They believes in creating a welcoming space for people to come together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food! They pride themselves in providing people with access to high-quality food in a dignified setting that doesn't compromise their self-worth. Skills for cooking and gardening are taught and kids are encouraged to participate to expand their taste buds and help them to make healthier food choices. Community members find their voices on the issues that matter to them, and people find friends and support. CFCs offer multifaceted, integrated, responsive and prevention-focused programming in a shared space where food builds health, hope, skills and community.
I am so glad that we have chosen this cause for the season and can't wait to get involved with our kind kraft events and projects!! Keep checking for upcoming events because we'd love to see you there!
Well it’s June! University is over, grade school is coming to an end and everything is feeling much different than it has for the last eight months. Summer is a time for feeling refreshed and a time for change. For those moving back home they are starting long distance relationships and friendships from school and rekindling with all the friends and family they've missed for eight months. For those who have stayed home, its friends coming home and no longer living in the library rather than their own home.
Since we are free of the stresses and school that the year brings it is time to start that refreshed and summer feeling! While enjoying the sunshine, what's a better way to spend the summer than taking advantage of the community and environment around you?
Here are seven tips and ideas to kick off your summer taking in the outdoors and the pleasures of local establishments!
1. Eat Local.
Who doesn’t love a good lunch date? Eating local is such a great (and delicious) way to support local restaurants around you! By eating local you are supporting local economy, benefiting the environment and not to mention enjoying food full of flavor right in your community.
The Dancing Goat - Cape Breton
2) Get outside! Go for a Hike.
For myself, Cape Breton and Wolfville NS is full of the most beautiful hiking trails. Not only is hiking a great way to take advantage of the environment around you it's also a great workout!
3) Enjoy live entertainment.
If it be a band, a singer/songwriter or local theatre, getting out to watch local performers is my favorite way to spend my summer! Most of these performers practice and rehearse so hard to hard to bring you the happiness and entertainment that music and theatre brings! It's a great way to take in some talent this summer while you are supporting someone's passion.
4) Make the most of your summer job.
Working for the summer can sometime be a drag, as we all know. But keeping a positive attitude can make it a little less painful. Some advice I would give would be to try to find summer work you are passionate about! If you are working a job you love you won’t feel like you are working at all! So many local establishments are usually looking for students, don’t be afraid to reach out if your interested, more than not they would love to have you.
5) Shop local.
Summer is a great time for wandering around local shops. (also who doesn’t love a few nice new pick-me ups for summer?) If it's art, clothing, or craft, buying local is supportive and a great way to shop!
6) Get involved in local workshops
Learning something new is a great way to keep yourself involved and keep creative! Local photography, theatres, yoga studios and art centres often have camps and workshops! This is an awesome way to learn something new and also support a local business
Creatives Loft - Cape Breton
7) Reach out and get involved!
Summer is the perfect time to volunteer and find out some more information on charitable organizations around you that create a positive impact on your community! Volunteering is the best feeling (trust me) you wouldn’t want to spend your summer any other way.
Until next time, Amy Cameron.
Hey kind krafters!
This week marks my first six months as a member of the kind krafts team! I have learnt so much in my short time here and can’t wait for what is still to come for this organization. Because of this milestone in my kind krafts timeline, I thought that I might write about why I think it is important to volunteer and be a part of an organization.
Throughout my years in junior high, high school, and university, I have volunteered in numerous ways and places. From Sunday Suppers at St. Andrew’s United Church, to random sporting and musical events, to Saturday mornings at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. Here are some of the main reasons for why I like to volunteer:
(Great pals Baylee and Ryan volunteering outside the Farmers’ Market)
3. Creating connections within your community – I think this is the BEST reason to volunteer. Why keep within your small group of friends and work colleagues/fellow students, when you could meet so many new and inspiring people?! I have found friendships with people I would have never expected through going out and working with other folks in my community. I can’t stress enough how lucky we all are to be able to do this!!
(Volunteering at the Spatz theatre for “Tales of A Charlie Brown Christmas”)
Why join an organization?
I have been a part of several organizations over the past eight years ranging from school councils and committees, to non-profits such as kind krafts! Being involved with all of these groups has taught me lots and helped me in lots of ways. Here are some of my favourite reasons for joining an organization:
2. Learn how to work with others – Playing a part in an organization means working with others no matter what the role and how big or small it may be. This gives you awesome life experience for how you collaborate with your other team members and allows you to figure out what works and what doesn’t in a safe setting – Score!!
3. Experiences – Through your time in an organization you will be exposed to countless new experience like workshops, AGMs, new courses, etc. This is an incredible opportunity for students as these chances may not come up too often through schooling depending on class sizes and course material. Take advantage of attending as many as you possibly can, or use your position to ask to create your own events for the company’s development.
So, have fun volunteering kind krafters!! I really encourage all of you to reach out and seek volunteering opportunities within your communities. These experiences are irreplaceable and so essential to your growth! It’s also incredibly humbling to use your talents and time to help others.
Hello kind krafters! My name is Amy Cameron and I am so excited to get started with this amazing organization! I figured for my initial post I would start telling you a little about myself.
I am twenty years old studying my Bachelor of Music Education at Acadia University as a saxophone major. I play both Tenor and Alto Saxophone along with learning many more instruments. I love music and being able to teach others my passion is most definitely my dream career. I am from Cape Breton Nova Scotia where I spend my summers and during the school year I reside in cute little Wolfville Nova Scotia.
Besides moving back and forth across the province throughout the year and keeping busy trying to become a better musician and educator, there are many other things I enjoy so much!
I also have a great love for fashion, all types of music (especially rock music). I love musical theatre and performing, some of my (many) favorite musicals include:
I love to dance (although I am not very good at it), trying out local restaurants and spending time with my amazing family and friends.
I am a huge lover of travelling and hope someday to have the opportunity to teach and help communities all over the world. Some of the places I have travelled to include:
I want to learn how I can educate myself and others about the world around us. I am always trying to stay busy and involved!
Staying involved and busy with the community and the people within my own life is a priority I try to obtain by, supporting local businesses and get involved with organizations just like kind krafts!
I hope to use my passion of educating and learning to help others ignite the same passions they might hold in them, I want to give my future students the opportunities to be creative and make a difference.
Now that you know a little about me, I am so excited to keep writing about my experiences and learn so much more about these wonderful projects that kind krafts supports.
Talk soon everyone, Amy Cameron
Hello lovely kind krafters!!! As you may know, our current cause is Monarch Protection and we are focusing on the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute’s current work in this area. The Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute is a non-profit co-operative that is working hard to protect butterflies through their project the “Butterfly Club”. This club was founded by biologists from MTRI and Parks Canada and over the coming summer, they are hoping to be able to plant 1000 swamp milkweed plants across Nova Scotia. In this blog, I’m going to write about the importance of Monarch conservation and how you can help these beautiful butterflies in the smallest of ways!
Monarch butterflies are known scientifically as Danaus plexippus and are perhaps the most common butterfly in North America. Its wings are easily recognizable with a bright orange, black and white pattern covering them. They are classed as milkweed butterflies as they lay their eggs on milkweed plants for their larvae to feed from. Monarchs can lay hundreds of eggs which is a hopeful sign to many researches as they believe that with enough time spent on conservation, their populations will begin to increase and reach non-critical levels.
Between August and Mid-October, Monarchs begin their multi-generational journey south over the span of several months. These butterflies head towards the high mountains of central Mexico for the winter months and then will begin migrating back north in March and arrive around July. At least four generations are involved in the annual cycle as most Monarch butterflies live only for a few weeks. During these migrations, Monarchs depend on nectar from wildflowers for their energy and fat, and milkweeds to lay their eggs on.
What’s the problem?
As of 2014, researchers found that over the past twenty years, the number of Monarchs in North America had dropped to less than 10% of what they once were. There are several reasons as to why this might be, but it is believed that the main one is loss of habitat. Due to the rise in development and agriculture, many of the Monarchs homes have been damaged or ruined. Predators also play a factor in the depletion as larger animals, as well as other insects, will ingest the larvae as it feeds on the milkweed plants. Another issue for these butterflies is that many milkweed plants are being sprayed with herbicides which kill the larvae as they try to thrive whilst creating a huge loss of breeding grounds for them.
Female Monarch (left) and Male Monarch (right)
So, what can we do?
Many people are interested in Monarch Protection just like kind krafts and there are simple ways for all of us to help them flourish! Here are a few ideas:
I have also found some great articles and videos to help you with even more ways to help the butterflies. These actions may seem small, but as Nicole Hamilton said in the following video,
“I might just plant my one Monarch waystation, which is just a raindrop, but then if my neighbour sees it, and then another neighbour sees it, and then we start to grow them, then it becomes something significant”.
http://www.merseytobeatic.ca/butterfly-club.php (more links on this page!!)
https://www.almanac.com/blog/gardening/garden-journal/monarch-butterflies-chrysalis-watch (awesome related articles!)
Thank you for reading everyone! Have fun planting in the sunshine and seeing these wonderful butterflies in your garden!
“We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.”
Hello kind krafters!! For any students reading this, happy summer vacation! If you’re anything like me, long breaks may not be your favourite thing. I am a lover of routines and so in the summer I can often find myself at a loss of things to do with all of my newly found time. To help myself, and any of you that might feel the same, I have written about a few ways I keep busy in the summer!
1. Create a weekly schedule!
Have a copy of your daily routines to make it easier to add other activities into your week. Write in specific times for exercise, work, volunteering, etc. You can always attend upcoming krafting sessions, so keep checking for future events!
2. Try one new thing each week!
This new thing doesn’t have to be big, but it’s awesome at keeping life interesting! Whether it’s a new food, event, or route home it will be cool to try. Some things I want to try this summer are: Paint Nite, Seven Bays Bouldering, and new exhibits at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia!
3. Plan out your social time!
Instead of waiting around for people to make plans with you, message your friends and ask if they want to hang out in advance! There’s always time for fun walks with friends around the Commons, trips for ice cream at Dee Dee’s, or taking a trip to the nearest lake/beach for a nice swim! Take advantage of the nicer weather and soak in that vitamin D!!
4. Keep learning!
I understand that most of us are done with school for a few months and really don’t want to pick up another textbook until classes start again in September, but the that doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! Listen to podcasts on topics that interest you, watch documentaries on Netflix, rent new books from the library and continue to research and become knowledgeable about things you might be unable to learn about at school. Attend museums, lectures, and other informational sessions that you are too busy to go to during the school year – you never know what you might find out!
5. Go to local events!
There are SO many things happening that are so easy to find out about and attend! Check out thecoast.ca for a super list of events for every day of the summer. Personally, I’m excited to see Jeremy Dutcher in May, Mamma Mia! through Neptune Theatre, Argyle St. Kitchen Party in July, Shakespeare by the Sea, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, as well as going to coffee houses and open mics around HRM.
Have fun finding cool things to do this summer everyone! But don’t forget to take the time to rest up before school starts again too!!
CW: Mental Health
As the end of the school year quickly approaches, I am finding myself constantly in concert black. For many of my music school friends and I, the end of a semester is usually a very busy time full of concerts. I have been thinking a lot about one of my most recent concerts (mentioned in a previous blog) and how impactful music can be. The concert was called “People Help The People” and it was a benefit concert for a non-profit organization called The Tribe Projects. We were able to raise a lot of money and educate many audience members, as well as ourselves, about the cause. With this concert coinciding with course selections for my next year at university, I have been thinking long and hard about where I want my music to take me in my future and how I would like to continue to use it in my everyday life.
So far my favourite form of creating music has been through choir. The Nova Scotia Choral Federation has had a huge influence on my life and I honestly think that without participating in their programs, I would not only have chosen music as my career, but I would also not be the person I am today. Since I moved to Canada I have been involved in their choral opportunities and have managed to work my way through their different groups as I aged. When I was in a choir called Soundtrax, I was told by the conductor to audition for the Nova Scotia Youth Choir. This was the provincial choir for singers around my age and I really hoped to be successful in my audition. A few weeks later I found out that I had got in and was over the moon. That summer I went to a camp in Berwick (my favourite place) to rehearse with the choir. We were given a new piece to learn composed by Kim Andre Arnesen called “Even When He is Silent”. This soon became the most special choral piece for me as it was the first time I was truly captivated by the music I was making and the people I was making it with. This experience influenced me to continue pursuing choral music as more than a hobby.
Throughout junior high and into to my university days, I have been fortunate enough to be involved in Xara Choral Theatre. I think that Xara has had the biggest effect on shaping the woman I have become. This choir is an all-female ensemble ranging from 18-30 who “gives life to sung stories that are a feast or the senses and heart-felt explorations of identity, community, and culture”. I have performed in a number of shows with these beautifully courageous women ranging from sharing knowledge of stories from midwives who worked during the disastrous Halifax Explosion, to mythological shows involving the elements. Despite the variety of topics, each show focuses on humanitarian/environmental/social issues in Canada and abroad. In the fall I was honoured to perform Xara’s show “Fatty Legs” based on Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s true story of her experiences as an indigenous girl in a residential school. This tour changed my life and really made me re-evaluate how I had been choosing to use my voice in music. Since being a part of this show, I have changed my degree to focus not solely on music and to make sure that I can use my instrument to help create change where it is needed.
March was Music Therapy month, and at Acadia there were a lot of opportunities to better understand what music therapy is. According the Canadian Association of Music Therapists, music therapy is
“a discipline in which credentialed professionals use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social, and spiritual domains”.
In our weekly concert series at the School of Music, the music therapy students were able to showcase what a session might look like from start to finish. They displayed different situations and how music can be used in a number of ways to target certain aspects/needs for the patient. I found this extremely interesting because for a long time I had thought that music therapy could only be used in one way.
When I was younger, I struggled a lot with my mental health and in junior high, I was hospitalized. During my stay, I had my first experience with music therapy. It was a huge jam session where most of the patients got involved by picking an instrument to play and getting to it. Though everyone participated to varying degrees, we all left the session feeling better. I have always remembered this moment as it was the first time I felt hopeful in months. Up until my first year of university, I thought that music therapy was only used to help emotionally, but I have come to realize that a lot of it is very physical. I also didn’t realize the amount of health care categories that it is used in -from people with physical and mental disabilities, to neonatal and geriatric care.
In my opinion, all music is therapy. Singing in the shower, playing in an orchestra, performing in a gig in a bar, listening to a playlist that you made for when you’re in a certain mood, and messing around with friends are all different forms of using music as an outlet for your emotions. I am so thankful that I get to take advantage of this every single day and that I have found a creative way to share my thoughts and feelings. Music is so powerful, and as the common saying goes “when words fail, music speaks”. So with that in mind, have a great week kind krafters and I hope that music helps you through your stressful exam seasons or busy work schedules.
Love Rhian xoxox