Bookmark and Share    Dec. 2, 2009    Week 49 Issue 22

THREE HONORED AS LIFE MEMBERS OF AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY

STORY BY MELODY FALCONER-POUNDER

What do Ted Vander Wouden, John Fisher and Grant Stirling have in common?

John Fisher (left) and Ted Vander Wouden (right) were recently presented with Life Memberships to the Bayfield Agricultural Society. President Don Brodie made the presentation. (Melody Falconer-Pounde photo)
John Fisher (left) and Ted Vander Wouden (right) were recently presented with Life Memberships to the Bayfield Agricultural Society. President Don Brodie made the presentation. (Melody Falconer-Pounder photo)

They were all recently inducted as Life Members of the Bayfield Agricultural Society (BAS).

Don Brodie, president of the BAS announced the recipients at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on Nov. 20. The evening, which commenced with a potluck supper, was held at St. Andrew’s United Church.

Ted Vander Wouden became a member of the BAS in 1993. He took on the role of president in 1997. During his six years at the helm, he remained neutral on all aspects of the fair and was known for his fairness, respect, and dignity.

Over the years, he has taken on the set up and tear down of the indoor displays, providing his staff and equipment from Te-Em Farm, with help of other society members. His garden centre’s handy carts are used by exhibitors to make their loads of display material easier to bring in and out of the arena.

For the last decade, Te-Em Farm has been the site of the Bayfield Agricultural Society wreath making bee. The sale of handmade wreaths is the society’s major fundraiser. The greenhouses are a wonderful place to put greens together. The beautiful products created dot the landscape around Bayfield and area and have even been taken to places as far away as Vancouver and Ottawa for display.

“I knew nothing about it, and I certainly never expected it.”

Vander Wouden accepted his award with both shock and astonishment.

“I knew nothing about it,” he said. “And I certainly never expected it.”

John Fisher has been a member of the BAS since 1965.

He has served as president of the BAS and at one time or another has been very active in all aspects of the Society. He was known to go where the need proved greatest. A great deal of his time was spent supporting his wife, Ina, in her longtime role as president of the Handcraft section of the fair.

For over four decades, Fisher ran the Games and Events portion of the weekend. These special events were organized for the youth at the fair. His ability to do the rope climb, until about seven years ago, is a legendary part of fair history.

“One of the events I organized was a rope climbing competition for both boys and girls and, of course, I had to show them how to do it first,” he recalled. “I could probably still climb it too, but Ina would get after me.”

Grant Stirling was a recent recipient of an honorary Life Membership to the Bayfield Agricultural Society. In his absence the award was accepted by his wife Anna Stirling. The presentation was made by Don Brodie, society president. (Submitted photo)
Grant Stirling was a recent recipient of an honorary Life Membership to the Bayfield Agricultural Society. In his absence the award was accepted by his wife Anna Stirling. The presentation was made by Don Brodie, society president. (Submitted photo)

In Grant Stirling's absence, his wife, Anna, accepted an honorary life membership in the BAS on his behalf.

Stirling was involved with the Bayfield Fall Fair as a young boy. His father, James, was a member of the Fair Board. Stirling served as president for a number of years in the 1970s and has been on the Fair Board for more than 15 years. His two brothers, Robert and Fraser, also served as Fair Board President. Father and sons always entered their fruit for the annual competition.

Stirling remembers negotiating to extend the fairgrounds by buying extra lots adjacent to the existing land. He also remembers looking after the cattle barns. His life membership recognizes all the work he did on behalf of the Bayfield Agricultural Society.

According to BAS President, Don Brodie, “The Society feels that it is important to honor people who are still helping with the organization or have done so for some time.”

SANTA COMING TO BREAKFAST 

The jolly old elf himself will be in attendance when the Bayfield Optimist Club hosts their annual Breakfast with Santa at the Bayfield Village Inn from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 13.

Those people who wish to attend can count themselves a part of the fun by calling the Village Inn at 519 565-2443. The cost is 12 years and up, $5; five to 11 years, $3; five and under free.

There will also be an opportunity for guests to have their picture taken with Santa. The profits from the photos purchased go back to the club to support youth projects.

At the conclusion of the breakfast Santa will draw the winning ticket for the club’s toy chest raffle. The winner will receive a handmade chest filled to overflowing with toys for all ages.

Toy chest tickets are $2 each or three for $5. If you would like to see the chest it is currently on display at the Bayfield Village Inn. Tickets are available from Optimist Members, Brandon’s Hardware and at the Village Inn.

PHARMACIST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Congratulations to Michael Ibrahim, pharmacist and owner of Pharmasave Michael’s Pharmacy in Bayfield, for earning the title Rookie of the Year for the 2009 Commitment to Care and Service Awards.

This award recognizes a new pharmacy owner, in the role for two years or less, who has shown evidence of successfully building the pharmacy business.

Awards were presented on Nov. 30 at the Commitment to Care and Service Gala Awards Dinner at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

Ibrahim knew that when opening a pharmacy in a small community he would have to elicit his share of repeat customers. To do this he solicited customer input on what products and services people wanted. This approach has netted him not only far more clients than he expected but the award as well.

REMEMBER THAT EXTRA PRESENT WHEN CHRISTMAS SHOPPING 

When doing your Christmas shopping this year don’t forget to add an extra gift for the Huron County Christmas Bureau.
 
The Bureau is a county-wide volunteer group that organizes five gift centres for disadvantaged families. Toys, clothes, food and food vouchers are donated or purchased with cash donations (for which donors will be issued a tax receipt). Hundreds of volunteers and donors participate each year and play Santa for up to a thousand children and their families.

An independent organization, the bureau could not function without the support of the Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society. They provide the bureau with office space, phone lines and administrative assistance.

Community churches and caring residents also make the program possible.

This year the gift centres can be found in: Clinton, Clinton United Church; Exeter, Christian Reformed Church; Goderich, North Street United Church; Seaforth, St. James Roman Catholic Church, at the Agriplex; and Wingham, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.

The Bureau is encouraging Bayfield and area residents to volunteer at the Clinton United Church gift centre during sorting week from Dec. 7 to 11. To volunteer your time please call Polly at 519 482-9080

In Bayfield, the Optimist Club organizes the distribution of gift tags to remind people to purchase an item for the bureau when doing their Christmas shopping. Printed on the tag is a request for a toy or clothing item for a boy or girl of a certain age and size. These tags were available over the Christmas in Bayfield weekend and can now be picked up off the “giving tree” on display at Brandon’s Hardware.

Gifts can be delivered to any one of the churches listed above or left in drop boxes placed in local stores between Dec. 7 and 11.

One local business is encouraging everyone in the community to give the gift of reading to a child this Christmas.

The reality in these tough economic times is the fact that the Huron County Christmas Bureau may have former donors who will be recipients this year.

The Village Bookshop, on Catherine Street (just off Main Street), would like to fill the wish lists of less fortunate children who would like a new book this Christmas but they need help to do so.

When an individual buys a children’s book at the store and places it in the donation box The Village Bookshop will match the donation with another book. All of these books will be delivered to the Huron County Christmas Bureau for distribution.

If a person is unable to drop into the book shop but would still like to participate they may call or email the amount they would like to spend on a book donation; email mwolfe@tcc.on.ca or call 519 565-5600.

The reality in these tough economic times is the fact that the Huron County Christmas Bureau may have former donors who will be recipients this year.

For those who find themselves in need of help to make Christmas a bright one for their families, they are asked to call Christmas Central at 519 524-7356 Ext. 3271 from now until Dec. 11. Callers should be ready with the ages and sizes of their children. They will be given an appointment for the week of Dec. 14 to 18 at their closest Bureau. Then they will be able to visit and privately choose suitable gifts for their family at that time.

BRICK AN UNIQUE HOLIDAY GIFT

It has been 20 years since a committee was formed to save the Bayfield Town Hall from demolition. Since that time a number of fundraising efforts have been held in an effort to preserve it and make it a vital part of the community social scene.

Now The Bayfield Town Hall Heritage Society is looking to improve the entrance to the building to make it more visibly appealing for weddings, festivals, concerts and business meetings.

The latest fundraiser will be the sale of commemorative bricks to be installed in the front walk, at the hall entrance and a new walk leading to the property’s “great lawn”.

The paving stones can be engraved to showcase a family name, honor loved ones or celebrate a special occasion such as a wedding or an anniversary. They could even make a unique family Christmas gift.

These stones will be placed along the walkway so that generations to come will enjoy this wonderful legacy left in honor of the revitalization of the town hall.

According to the fundraising brochure, “These stones will be placed along the walkway so that generations to come will enjoy this wonderful legacy left in honor of the revitalization of the town hall.”

There are three stone styles to purchase: a large stone, 8X12, with one line of engraving up to 12 characters, $250; a medium stone, 8X8, with one line of engraving up to 12 characters, $100; and a place holder, 4X8, no engraving, $50.  Tax receipts will be provided. Cheques can be made payable to The Bayfield Town Hall and mailed to PO Box 2078, Bayfield ON, N0M 1G0. Further information can be obtained by contacting Margo Robeson at 519 565-2827.

Organizations, school classes, businesses and corporations are encouraged to be part of this worthwhile community project.

The society hopes to have the brickwork installed in the spring of next year.
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REMEMBER ME?

There are countless photographs of people in the Bayfield Historical Society’s Archives collection, but sadly their names were never recorded. In this section we will showcase an image with the hopes that one of our subscribers might be able to identify the individual(s) in the photo. Please email your information to the Editor’s attention at the address listed near the bottom of the page in “Submissions”.

This week we are featuring a photo of the plaque unveiling in Pioneer Park. We would like to know who the three gentlemen in the photo are and also when the picture was taken.

Does anyone know the three men in this photo taken at the Pioneer Park plaque unveiling and in what year was it held?
Does anyone know the three men in this photo taken at the Pioneer Park plaque unveiling and in what year was it held?

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In Issue 21’s “REMEMBER ME?” we shared a photo taken in 1985. Several subscribers identified the two people in the photograph who joined Elva Metcalf in displaying the winning quilt from that year’s quilt show, but it was Ainslie Willock who responded first. The other two individuals in the photo have been identified as Dr. Grove Shepherd and Kay Reid. Thanks to those who contributed.  

LIONS’ CLUB

A sure sign that Christmas is just around the corner is the always popular Bayfield Lions’ Club’s Turkey Bingo.

This year sixteen turkeys will be available to be won along with draws and door prizes. There will also be several share-the-wealth games played as well.

The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the Bingo calling begins at 7 p.m.

TRAIL ASSOCIATION

The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association's (BRVTA) “Woodland Trail” will be closed to hikers from now until Dec. 8 because the “Deer Hunt” with guns is held.
 
Other area trails such as, the Sawmill Trail and Heritage Trail in Bayfield, don’t allow hunting and will remain open.

Members of the BRVTA would like to remind would-be hikers that this is a particularly dangerous time in wooded areas and everyone who is in or near a forest should wear orange colored clothing to avoid any misidentification.
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FLU CLINICS

The Bluewater and Area Family Health Team are looking to provide residents with a good shot in the arm on Dec. 10.

On this date a Seasonal and H1N1 Influenza Immunization Clinic will be held in Bayfield at Trinity Anglican Church.

The church is located at 10 Keith Crescent and the clinic will be held from 4-6 p.m.

The vaccine is available to everyone; those people receiving the shot are reminded to bring their health card.

The H1N1 Clinic held at Trinity on Nov. 24 saw 198 people receive their shot and this large turn-out has prompted this second clinic, offering in addition the Seasonal Influenza vaccination.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

The Bayfield and Area Volunteer Fire Department will be holding their annual Christmas Food Drive at Bayfield Foodland on Dec. 5.

Be on the look out for the fire fighters wielding grocery carts in the parking lot; they need the community’s help to once again fill these carts to over flowing for the local food bank.

The drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

ANGLICAN CHURCH

Lighten the Load for a Loonie-a-day is an initiative of Trinity Anglican Church’s Fundraising Committee. The congregation is encouraged to pick up a little paper bag from the basket in the parish hall and place a loonie in it each day until the return date of Dec. 6. This project was run successfully last year and it is hoped that this season’s venture will be just as lucrative in assisting with the parish finances.

Trinity will be open for an Advent Reflection Time on the first four Wednesdays in December. People of all denominations are welcome to visit the church from 10 a.m. to noon; 1-3 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. for a quiet time of prayer and meditation. It will also serve as an opportunity to remember those for whom Christmas may not be a time of joy and hope.

One of the projects of the Outreach Committee at Trinity is the “Feed My Sheep” program. Their Christmas delivery of food and goodies will be made on Dec. 17. There are 28 people on the receiving list. The committee is now looking for donations of hot chocolate, marshmallows, candy canes, small containers of body gel, soap, tooth paste and combs and brushes to brighten the recipients’ holiday. These small gifts will be packed for distribution on Dec. 13.

As denotes the season several special services are scheduled at Trinity. They are as follows: Dec. 20, 9:30 a.m. - Carols and Hanging of the Greens Service; Dec. 24, 10 p.m. - Christmas Eve Candlelight Eucharist; Dec. 25, 10:30 a.m. - Christmas Day Holy Communion; Dec. 27, 9:30 a.m. - Service of Lessons and Carols.

 UNITED CHURCH

St. Andrew’s United Church will host their annual Hanging of the Greens party on Dec. 5 starting at 4:30 p.m. At this event the 3Ms Group presides over the decorating of the church for the Christmas season. A potluck supper and sing-a-long of Christmas carols follows the decking of the halls.

White Gift Sunday will be held on Dec. 6 at St. Andrew’s. Financial gifts will be shared with the Bluewater Centre for Youth and the Huron County Christmas Bureau. Gifts may be brought in suitable bags but should be unwrapped.
 
St. Andrew’s will host their Christmas Carol Service on Dec. 13. This special candlelight performance will begin at 7:30 p.m.

GLEE SISTERS

The Glee Sisters will be hosting an informal Christmas Sing-along on Dec. 18 from 3-4:30 p.m. and would like to invite the public to join them to unite their voices in celebration of the season.

The sing-along will be held at St. Andrew’s United Church in Bayfield.

If singing brings you joy and you are of the female persuasion, the Glee Sisters may be just the choral group for you to join. New members are welcome to join the group when rehearsals resume on Jan. 8.

The group rehearses on Friday afternoons from 3-4:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s United Church in Bayfield. Afterwards they enjoy a social time. The Glee Sisters’ Musical Director is Leslie Bella and their Associate Musical Director is Sue Scott.

Email Leslie Bella at lbella@tcc.on.ca for more information.
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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

The Dudes are coming to play in the village.

Their playground: the stage at the Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro. The date: Dec. 4.

The Dudes are a Calgary-based band who recently headlined the Grey Cup Street Festival in their home town.
They are now set to play dates in such larger centres as Sudbury, Windsor, Hamilton and Thunder Bay but their first stop in Ontario is Bayfield.

Fast Forward Weekly, an alternative news and entertainment newspaper serving the Calgary area, said of the band, “The Dudes - now strikingly tight showmen with a full arsenal of future-classic rock songs up their sleeves - have set their eyes on moving beyond the local stage...a rock band capable of taking on the world at large.”

Readers of Fast Forward Weekly have also voted them their favorite band for 2006, 2007 and 2008. Their music has landed prominent spots in the film “Freezer Burn” and on television shows “Heartland” and “House Party”.

The Dudes released a new album in the summer of 2009 entitled, “Blood Guts Bruises Cuts”, which was described in a recent press release as the perfect emotional blend of Al Green and Flaming Lips; soul music and early 1990s distortion.

GIRL GUIDES

Need a gift for the mail delivery person, babysitter, or dog walker? Chocolatey Mint Girl Guide Cookies or a Centenary Celebration Calendar would make the perfect gift.

There are a limited number of boxes left from Bayfield Guiding’s stock of Chocolatey Mint Girl Guide Cookies These few cartons are selling for $4 a box from members of Bayfield Guiding or the Bayfield Village Inn.

The Centenary Celebration Calendar 1910-2010, created by members of Bayfield and Clinton Guiding, and for sale in Mid-western Ontario, is also available.  The calendars are selling for $10 each.

Locally, calendars are available for sale from members of Bayfield and Clinton Guiding as well as The Village Book Shop, Bayfield Village Inn, Interior Trends and Drs. Haney and Van Maanen’s Dental Office in Clinton.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The Bayfield Fall Fair has been an integral part of village life for over 150 years. The Bayfield Archives is currently attempting to compile a full set of the Bayfield Fall Fair Prize List books and are asking for the community’s help in collecting them.

They are in need of books prior to 1985 as well as for the years 1986 to 1988.

“We could either arrange purchase, accept a donation or photocopy,” said Archivist Ralph Laviolette, with regards to the books.

The Archives is also seeking a copy of the History of Zurich and the History of Hensall.

“We have many Hay Township and Stanley Township records but not in any detail for these two villages. Again, purchase, donation or photocopy would be appreciated,” said Laviolette.

The Huron County Historical Society has produced an annual edition of the Huron Historical Notes for its members since 1965. And their most recent edition features the Village of Bayfield.

It is a 54-page history and contains lots of information gleaned from the Village of Bayfield text produced in the 1980s but with some notable updates. This previous work is now out-of-print.

The Bayfield Historical Society has bought 100 copies of “Huron Historical Notes – Village of Bayfield” for distribution.

Anyone wishing to purchase a copy can find the books for sale at The Bayfield Archives on Main Street or call 519 565-2454. They are selling for $8.00 to cover production and printing costs.

  HURON HOSPICE

The Huron Hospice Volunteer Service provides palliative and respite care, as well as bereavement programs, for individuals in the Bayfield area as well as Wingham, Goderich, Seaforth and Clinton.

A member agency of the United Way of Perth-Huron, the Huron Hospice will be hosting a dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 13.

This seventh annual fundraiser will be held at Northside United Church in Seaforth at 2:30 p.m. Special guest readers will include, Jim Swan, a well-known broadcaster, from London. There will be wonderful seasonal music under the direction of Deborah Lambert, in addition to a children’s choir.

Tickets are $10 each and the proceeds assist Huron Hospice in continuing to provide much needed services. For more information please call the Hospice office 519 527-0655 or email infohospice@tcc.on.ca 

BRIDGE CLUB

A husband and wife shared the honor of being high scorers when the Wednesday Evening Bridge Club met at the Bayfield Lions’ Community building on Nov. 25.

Jan and John Kuntz took the titles of first and second highest respectively.

The club will meet next on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. Please note the earlier meeting time. In addition to playing cards, the club’s Christmas Party will also be held. 
  

FILM SOCIETY

The final theatrical offering for the season by The Bayfield Film Society will be Stone of Destiny. It will be shown at the Bayfield Town Hall on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

Individual show tickets may be purchased at the door for $10 each.

For ticket inquiries please contact Lynne Gillians at 519 565-5884 or email lynnegillians@hotmail.com

CHRISTMAS CONTINUES

Christmas in Bayfield may be history for 2009 but the holiday season continues on Main Street with The 12 Days of Christmas. Special shopping events will be held on Dec. 5 when The Bayfield General Store hosts “Eight Maids a Milking. And then on Dec. 6, Bare Bum Studio will highlight “Nine Ladies Dancing”.

Bookmark and Share  PHOTO STORY
BAYFIELD CLUB CELEBRATES OPTIMISTIC ANNIVERSARY

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The Bayfield Optimist Club held their first Breakfast with Santa in December of 2005. Posing with Santa after the multitudes had been fed were Amber and Dale Brandon, Terri Brintnell, Nora and Gray West, Kyrstie Pounder, Genelle Reid, Sandy Wallace, Paul Mulligan, John Pounder and Leighanne Van Aaken.

 In July of 1996, members of the Optimist Club and several community youth worked together to build a basketball court in Agriculture Park. This cement pad now also functions as a very popular skateboard park.(Brian Long photo)
In July of 1996, members of the Optimist Club and several community youth worked together to build a basketball court in Agriculture Park. This cement pad now also functions as a very popular skateboard park.(Brian Long photo)

The Optimists first sponsored playground in Clan Gregor Square was officicially opened in July of 1989. On hand for the ceremony were Optimists Matt Smith, Bud Sturgeon, Ray Scott, Bill Stauttener and Brian Brandon. Village Reeve Brian Johnston, second from left, cut the ribbon. Several children anxiously awaited for the ceremonies to be over so they could try out the new equipment.
The Optimists first sponsored playground in Clan Gregor Square was officicially opened in July of 1989. On hand for the ceremony were Optimists Matt Smith, Bud Sturgeon, Ray Scott, Bill Stauttener and Brian Brandon. Village Reeve Brian Johnston, second from left, cut the ribbon. Several children anxiously waited for the ceremonies to be over so they could try out the new equipment.

Play Day in the Park was a very popular Optimist run event in the 1980s. Here, Optimist Dennis LeBlanc encourages the youngsters in the sack race held in July of 1988. (Submitted photo)
Children's Sports Day was a very popular Optimist run event in the 1980s. Here, Optimist Dennis LeBlanc encourages the youngsters in the sack race held in July of 1988. (Submitted photo)

The club held its first formal meeting on May 29, 1984. The executive and board of directors posed for a picture: FR (l-r) Kelso Fitzsimons, assistant secretary treasurer; Ray Scott, president; John Verbeek, District Governor; Tim West, vice-president and Larry Schilbe, secretary. BR: Board of Directors, Doug Telford, Eric Schilbe, John Stanley, Harry Hessel and Brian Brandon. Absent: Jerry Johnston, vice-president. (Bruce Johnston photo)
The club held its first formal meeting on May 29, 1984. The executive and board of directors posed for a picture: FR (l-r) Kelso Fitzsimons, assistant secretary treasurer; Ray Scott, president; John Verbeek, District Governor; Tim West, vice-president and Larry Schilbe, secretary. BR: Board of Directors, Doug Telford, Eric Schilbe, John Stanley, Harry Hessel and Brian Brandon. Absent: Jerry Johnston, vice-president. (Bruce Johnston photo)

The Lake Huron Power Boat Poker Run was held in the summer of 1994. The Optimists, garbed in their bright yellow vests, were called upon to help.
The Lake Huron Power Boat Poker Run was held in the summer of 1994. The Optimists, garbed in their bright yellow vests, were called upon to help.

Being an Optimist is not all volunteering and fundraising, there is time for some socializing as well. A bowling meeting was held in the winter of 1994. Preparing the electronic scorecards were Mike Dixon, Tim West and Cathy Fisher. Patiently waiting their turns were John Pounder, Pat Dixon, Kim Muszynski and Nora West.
Being an Optimist is not all volunteering and fundraising, there is time for some socializing as well. A bowling meeting was held in the winter of 1994. Preparing the electronic scorecards were Mike Dixon, Tim West and Cathy Fisher. Patiently waiting their turns were John Pounder, Pat Dixon, Kim Muszynski and Nora West.

The Bayfield Optimist Club's Wood Auction is a major fundraiser for the club. At the sixth auction held in 1999 Optimist Jay Fisher (left) and his father, John Fisher, displayed an item for auction. This one-of-kind rocking horse, was carved by Ed Hoekstra.
The Bayfield Optimist Club's Wood Auction is a major fundraiser for the club. At the sixth auction held in 1999 Optimist Jay Fisher (left) and his father, John Fisher, displayed an item for auction. This one-of-kind rocking horse, was carved by Ed Hoekstra.

A popular happening in the 1990s was the Optimist Club's Sleigh Ride and Carol Sing. The 1999 event was held by candlelight and the Bayfield Guides and Brownies joined in the adventure to celebrate the Christmas season.
A popular happening in the 1990s was the Optimist Club's Sleigh Ride and Carol Sing. The 1999 event was held by candlelight and the Bayfield Guides and Brownies joined in the adventure to celebrate the Christmas season.

The Optimists help the Easter Bunny no matter the weather. A generous blanket of melting snow covered the ground in Clan Gregor Square on Easter afternoon 2008 but that didn't deter little ones from hunting.
The Optimists help the Easter Bunny no matter the weather. A generous blanket of melting snow covered the ground in Clan Gregor Square on Easter afternoon 2008 but that didn't deter little ones from hunting.

 

Over the course of those two and a half decades the Optimist Creed has come into play time and time again. The club itself resembles a chameleon, members come and go, events evolve with the times but one thing never changes the commitment to serving youth.

PHOTOS AND STORY BY MELODY FALCONER-POUNDER

Twenty-five years ago, 44 men in our community promised themselves to be a friend to the youth of this village and area. The Optimist Club of Bayfield was born.

Over the course of those two and a half decades the Optimist Creed has come into play time and time again. The club itself resembles a chameleon, members come and go, events evolve with the times but one thing never changes the commitment to serving youth.

The club’s Charter Presentation was held on Sept. 21, 1984 at the Bayfield Community Centre. The club was sponsored by The Optimist Club of Bluewater from Sarnia, ON. The first formal meeting under President Ray Scott was on May 29, 1984.

The club first embraced youth sports in the community sponsoring both baseball and hockey teams. In more recent years they have assisted with figure skating and soccer. An annual Bike Rodeo was also very popular in the village, an event the club is now trying to reignite interest in.

A highlight on the Optimist calendar was the Canada Day celebrations in the village. Not only did they organize a tremendous Children’s Sports Day in Clan Gregor Square they also put on a Firework’s Display. Working together with the Bayfield and Area Volunteer Fire Department, the pyrotechnics show would draw large and enthusiastic crowds. It was an evening that entertained the kid in all of us.

In 1989, the club realized a goal of providing new playground equipment in Clan Gregor Square. This equipment served the community well until 2005 when it was replaced during the park revitalization project. The revitalization project was a true community effort but in keeping with their youth mandate the Optimists’ focus remained the playground.

Never one to shy away from heights, fire figher Joe Koene always volunteered to climb the ladder during the setting up of the fireworks.
Bayfield's Canada Day Fireworks were organized by the Optimist Club and the local fire department. In 1994,  Optimists and fire fighters alike helped give Joe Koene a boost to set up on the pier for the grand finale of fireworks -the Monterency Falls.

In 2004, the Children’s Sports Day was replaced by Play Day in the Park as the format changed from competition to exploring creativity and child’s play.

The construction of a cement pad in 1996 in Agriculture Park was also a goal realized for the club. The youth of the community pitched in to see this facility created and it continues to be used as both a basketball court and skateboard park. The project proved to be the perfect vehicle for these friends of youth to work with their own young people. Even today teens take the initiative to hold ongoing fundraisers to help the club supply new equipment for the site.

These wonderful projects and organizations are so capably aided by the Optimist Club because of the ongoing support of the local community in the club’s fundraising efforts. Without the two working in tandem the club would cease to exist.

In the 1980s, selling raffle tickets on alcohol proved popular and so did events like Halloween and New Year’s Eve dances.

In 1993, the club came upon a winning formula that has adapted and grown through time: The Wood Auction. Local craftsmen and artisans were called upon to fashion items out of wood that could be auctioned off. The Wood Auction became the not to be missed social event of the season for many in the community. Since its start 16 years ago the auction has been expanded to include a variety of donations – but items created out of wood remain an integral component. In its infancy the auction was held at the Albion Hotel and then moved to larger venues such as the Bayfield Community Centre and Stanley Complex. 

Since 1997, a portion of the funds raised from these auctions is given to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a membership favorite to support. One magical night in 2003, the auction was held with the sole purpose of raising funds for the Southwestern Ontario Chapter of the organization and an astounding $23,000 was generated.

The club’s latest fundraising efforts include: A Restaurant Walk, Ladies’ Night and a Christmas House Tour.

In 1992, it was decided to open the membership up to women and three Optimist spouses answered the call but many other women have followed since. In 2009, the club boasts 35 members with four charter members still on the roster.

Perhaps the most rewarding thing the club can celebrate in this their 25th year is the new members they have that were once the youth of the community who benefited from their efforts. It is wonderful to see the next generation of Optimism at work.

Never one to shy away from heights, fire figher Joe Koene always volunteered to climb the ladder during the setting up of the fireworks.
Never one to shy away from heights, fire figher Joe Koene always volunteered to climb the ladder during the setting up of the fireworks.

Genelle Reid volunteered to help with the bubbles station at the Optimist's Play Day in the Park held in the summer of 2004.
Genelle Reid volunteered to help with the bubbles station at the Optimist's Play Day in the Park held in the summer of 2004.

The Bayfield Optimist's Play Day has evolved over the years. In the 1980s and 90s, it was a competition filled day of foot races and sack races with children earning prizes for their age group. Today a series of stations are offered from face painting to bubbles. At the 2004 event, Jimbo the Clown was kept busy making balloon creations.
The Bayfield Optimist's Play Day has evolved over the years. In the 1980s and 90s, it was a competition filled day of foot races and sack races with children earning prizes for their age group. Today a series of stations are offered from face painting to bubbles. At the 2004 event, Jimbo the Clown was kept busy making balloon creations.

When the club was formed in 1984 it was for men only but in 1992 women were invited to join. One of the events created since the women's arrival has been a Ladies' Night Out. The last event held in the Spring of 2008 had a belly dancing group provide entertainment.
When the club was formed in 1984 it was for men only but in 1992 women were invited to join. One of the events created since the women's arrival has been a Ladies' Night Out. The last event held in the Spring of 2008 had a belly dancing group provide entertainment.

The Bayfield Optimist Club's annual Breakfast with Santa will be held at the Bayfield Village Inn on Dec. 13. At the very first breakfast in 2005, Jordan Berard gave Santa a welcoming hug.
The Bayfield Optimist Club's annual Breakfast with Santa will be held at the Bayfield Village Inn on Dec. 13. At the very first breakfast in 2005, Jordan Berard gave Santa a welcoming hug.

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble

SUBMISSIONS 

 Happy 25th birthday Bayfield Optimist Club! They are a humble bunch of men and women who were quite willing to let this milestone pass without much fanfare but I couldn’t sit idly by and not offer kudos for a continued job well done.

My article only touches on all of the good work they do every year and doesn’t even begin to mention the amazing folk who have worn the bright yellow vest over the years.  I have had the good fortune to work alongside many of them for the last 17 years.  I was one of those “intrepid” three women who first signed up when the club was opened to the female persuasion in 1992.

We are a group that at times hides our light under a bushel. And maybe that is how it should be.  We don’t volunteer for accolades or awards; we volunteer to support the youth of the community and to watch them shine.

 Ideas and contributions to the Bayfield Breeze are always welcome. Deadlines for submissions are Sundays at 4 p.m. Please email me at bayfield.breeze@villageofbayfield.com or call 519-565-2443. Hope to see you online soon at www.villageofbayfield.com - Melody


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Credits:

Writer, editor, photographer: Melody Falconer-Pounder

Web publisher/Graphic Designer: Dennis Pal

Advertising Sales: Mike Dixon

Logo Design: Kyle Vanderburgh, Goderich Print Shop

Special thanks to the Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce

Breeze Committee: Ian Matthew, Roger Lewington, Mike Dixon, John Pounder, Dennis Pal, Melody Falconer-Pounder