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Nothing like a hard fought soccer game under the open Vancouver sky. This weekend, I got to experience it first hand as the Vancouver Whitecaps took on DC United in their third game of the season. Coming off a two game winning streak, first at home against the Montreal Impact and then (miracles!) on the road against Chivas USA, there were big expectations and a heady sense of optimism about a winning streak that’d last to three games in a row. In the end, we got a tie (certainly better than a loss) – but that’s not all that we witnessed that night.

Equally powerful was the sense of community (particularly in the first part of the second half) when the Whitecaps really turned the electricity on!

It started outside the stadium. Unlike BC Lions games or even Canucks games, the community built by the Whitecaps tends to be young, diverse and the total opposite of “rough around the edges” turkeys that were made famous last summer during the Vancouver’s most disgraceful night.

Milling around the outside of the stadium, thousands of fans clad in blue and white meandered towards the gates. Few were ridiculously intoxicated or surely. Hundreds had goofy grins on their faces.There was a young family vibe to it all.

Once in the stadium, we set up close to the Whitecaps goal next to three dozen fanatical fans equipped with jerseys and dozens of multi-color flags. The super fans included a big burly Scots as well as French, Koreans, Filipinos and even a group of guys who appeared to hail from the Middle East. It’s part of what I love so much about soccer – the multiculturalism of it all. Together we sang a dozen uniquely Vancouver chants inspired by the great European clubs.

On the field, our team mirrored the diversity of its fan base. Players hailed from Brazil, Spain, China, Korea, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, the US and Canada. When Long Tan ran on from the sidelines in the late stages of the game, a group of Chinese fans a few seats away gave a mighty cheer.

Talk about a terrific community building event.

January 19, 2016

Whitecaps Build Community with Flags and Families

Nothing like a hard fought soccer game under the open Vancouver sky. This weekend, I got to experience it first hand as the Vancouver Whitecaps took on DC United in their third game of the season. Coming off a two game winning streak, first at home against the Montreal Impact and then (miracles!) on the road against Chivas USA, there were big expectations and a heady sense of optimism about a winning streak that’d last to three games in a row. In the end, we got a tie (certainly better than a loss) – but that’s not all that we witnessed that night.

Equally powerful was the sense of community (particularly in the first part of the second half) when the Whitecaps really turned the electricity on!

It started outside the stadium. Unlike BC Lions games or even Canucks games, the community built by the Whitecaps tends to be young, diverse and the total opposite of “rough around the edges” turkeys that were made famous last summer during the Vancouver’s most disgraceful night.

Milling around the outside of the stadium, thousands of fans clad in blue and white meandered towards the gates. Few were ridiculously intoxicated or surely. Hundreds had goofy grins on their faces.There was a young family vibe to it all.

Once in the stadium, we set up close to the Whitecaps goal next to three dozen fanatical fans equipped with jerseys and dozens of multi-color flags. The super fans included a big burly Scots as well as French, Koreans, Filipinos and even a group of guys who appeared to hail from the Middle East. It’s part of what I love so much about soccer – the multiculturalism of it all. Together we sang a dozen uniquely Vancouver chants inspired by the great European clubs.

On the field, our team mirrored the diversity of its fan base. Players hailed from Brazil, Spain, China, Korea, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, the US and Canada. When Long Tan ran on from the sidelines in the late stages of the game, a group of Chinese fans a few seats away gave a mighty cheer.

Talk about a terrific community building event.…

January 18, 2016

Jim Bright – Chaotically Edutaining!

Who are you?

I’m a man whose older brothers when growing up emigrated to live in Australia, and who found himself many years later doing the same thing. Part of the deal in the move was to teach Vocational Psychology, and that is where I got my career development mojo.
I am a person who loves humour and likes to perform, to make career development entertaining but with a deadly serious message inside – so I am like a reverse Christmas Cracker – pull apart the glitz and bang, and inside is a serious message wrapped up in a corny joke!

What do you do for fun?

Well according to the probation agreement I have undertaken not to do THAT for fun anymore!!!! I was watching a program tonight on politics, wine and cooking combined – and that covers a lot of my interests. My pleasure is cooking a feast for a table full of friends, playing some great music (very often Canada’s Oscar Peterson or other jazz), great Australian wine and a discussion about music, politics, philosophy, cricket or all of them combined. I also enjoy sailing and racing socially on the beautiful Pittwater north of Sydney where I live. Often time on the boat ends up with food, drinks, music and conversation.

I also have a passion for comedy, comics and comic films, and will watch Laurel & Hardy, Marx Brothers, Peter Ustinov, Woody Allen and many many others for hours.

Currently one of my favourite things is sitting on my deck under the stars listening to Cannonball Adderly with the Possums (the native Aussie animal not a backing group!!!), with something good from the Barossa Valley (Shiraz) or a good unwooded Chardonnay.
Going sailing with my kids and friends either social racing, or overnighting with picnics etc
Watching good quality cricket. Cooking for dinner parties with good friends

Technology is also a passion. I had a personal computer in my early teens in the early 1980s and have been brought up with them. I got an early agreement with Virgin games to write a computer game, got an “O” level in electronics and since then have been hooked. My dining table often has 3 MacBook pros on it, and I’ve etherneted most rooms in my home and have set up a wireless music system that allows me to play different music in four different parts of the house simultaneously, something I can set up from anywhere in the world!! I am never far from my iPad, MacBook Pro or iPhone. Indeed recently my friend Jennifer in the USA mailed me on LinkedIn asking me about my iPad that I was using just after they were released at the NCDA conference a few years back!

What is your favourite community? Why?

The local and international community of careers practitioners because they are devoting themselves to bettering the lives of people within their communities in very tangible ways and often for little reward or recognition. More personally, my family are beyond immensely important to me.

What is your superpower?

I am told I can be both entertaining and informative when I talk, I think talking and presenting is my strongest suit. I hope to convey my passion for Career Development and convey complex ideas in simple and/or amusing ways. I have a wicked sense of humor that I occasionally let loose on twitter or on stage, but I have to be careful as it can be quite screwball and runs the risks of being misunderstood.

How do you use it to build community?

I try to spread the message about the importance and the possibilities of Career Development and to develop innovative ideas to take our field forward. I do this by speaking to professional groups and communities and through my journalism, blogging, podcasts and radio work.

My Three Favourite Things About Jim Are…

1. Edutainment. The man is a role model of mine when it comes to the combination of learning, humour and media. Jim’s shift happens moniker and his hilarious tweets are the stuff of learners’ delight. I’m lucky to have seen Jim present a few times and certainly enjoy engaging with him throughout the Twitterverse. I mean, it’s hard to not be edutained by a gentleman who speaks of public houses as one of the best places to explore and discuss career possibilities.

2. Visionary. Check out The Factory Pod and learn more about Jim’s collaboration with Robert Pryor on the visionary concept called The Chaos Theory of Careers. I apply the idea to my work with students and their career curiosity each and every day. Let’s face it, the chaotic and ever-changing world of work affects my approach to life, the universe and everything, too.

3. Connectively Engaging. Whether it’s a LinkedIn discussion group or …

January 16, 2016

Octopi Falls 4-3 in Bronze Medal Match

On a crisp, clear Wednesday night at Thunderbird Stadium, a substitute-sparse Octopi Vancouver squad went down 4-3 against a very chippy The Scoring Machine “team” – other accepted synonyms for “team” in this description might include “gang” or “hooligans” or “Postmodern Peles” (the last one is my personal favourite).

The Octopi squad began the game with vigour and urgency, hitting goal posts, crossbars and narrowly missing the corners of the Scoring Machine’s net. About 10 minutes into the first half, John Horn, making a great run down the left side in the third-person, crossed the ball squarely on to the foot of dashing right-winger, Jessica Pautsch, who expertly looped it into the top corner, away from the sprawling – and quite talented as well as handsome – keeper.

1-0 Octopi.

The first half wrapped up with Pautsch on a break-away – if there were actual referees (perhaps Kinesiology students from SFU or UBC, you know, to tackle youth unemployment and student debt in BC while simultaneously providing meaningful experiential learning opportunities for the future leaders of our healthy and happy community) I’m sure that the play would have been allowed to carry on – but the non-game-specific whistle blew and Jessica wasn’t allowed to snipe her second goal of the match.

Still 1-0 Octopi.

The second half saw Octopi drop into a 3-2-1 defensive formation, which was a dumb idea, as The Scoring Machine earned a quick tally following a strong run down the left-side by one of their nicer players. In between their first and second goal, The Scoring Machine’s centre defender, Long Sleeved Black Shirt, absolutely throttled Octopi’s star striker, Erin Loxam – again, if UrbanRec employed referees the gentleman might’ve been asked to leave the game at this point.

1-1 draw.

After a blazing goal kick by The Scoring Machine’s handsome goalkeeper, All-Urban-Rec defender, Matt Kieltyka, whiffed on the ball and one of the opposing team’s players sprinted in for an unopposed goal.

2-1 The Scoring Machine.

Following some intense pressure by Sustainable Stewart Burgess and Prautsch, a The Scoring Machine pass, deflected by Prautsch, found its way to Horn’s foot – the striker made no mistake, burying the shot in the back corner. As Horn said to Kieltyka later, “karma was on our side, man – they caught a break, and so did we, because the universe wants us to win.”

2-2 Octopi (yes, we were winning).

On the heels of their second goal, some great passing between Kurt Heinrich, Kieltyka and Roger Hosking finally got the ball to under-appreciated/utilized star striker, Loxam, who promptly netted her 27th goal of the season with impressive aplomb.

3-2 Octopi.

This is where things got weird.

First, there were the antics from a bald and bearded talker from The Scoring Machine side – in no more than three minutes he took an illegal shot on goal from the post-score-kickoff, attempted to throw the ball into the net (it was a legit throw-in, but still weird), yelled at the Octopi team for diving and whining, proceeded to dive and whine himself, knocked down Burgess and Hosking at least twice, and started a goal-mouth scrambled that resulted in The Scoring Machine’s third goal. Following this experience John Horn, talking in the third-person, loudly referred to the gentleman as “The Postmodern Pele” – #amazing.

3-3 The Scoring Machine (they had the momentum and, thanks to their ample substitutes, the legs).

Only moments later, Heinrich made a stomping run down the right side and sent a perfect cross to Horn, who was waiting at the far post. Horn, in the third-person, chested the ball down and sent a cracking half-volley at the goal, which was expertly stopped by The Scoring Machine’s keeper.

The chippy play continued with Long Sleeved Black Shirt sweep-kicking the ankles of star striker Loxam – again, if there were referees in the game this player/goon would (a) not have even been in the game at this time and (b) would have been put in his place by an official, instead of an Octopi player, making a call – when Loxam said “you fouled me” the player/goon responded “no I didn’t, you slipped; now stop whining and get up.” #notaclassact #payforrefs

With little time left, Postmodern Pele got involved in another goal-mouth scramble and, somehow, the ball crossed the touch line in spite of a great effort from League MVP David Willinsky.

4-3 The Scoring Machine.

The Octopi Vancouver squad wrapped up the season with an impressive 5-4-2 record and a fourth place finish in their first season together. Other teams in the Urban Rec league best keep on the lookout for this up-and-coming soccer football powerhouse. And the Urban Rec organizers/management best be on the lookout for a strongly worded letter and pending petition that addresses their knowing …

January 13, 2016

O.U.R. Eco Village

Ben, my husband, is spending the summer working at an intentional community on Vancouver Island, called O.U.R. Ecovillage. We visited O.U.R. for the first time in September, during one of their regular open houses.  We joined the residents for a public event about food security and by the time we left that day, we were hooked.  The way those kind and interesting people are defining community is where it’s at.

I grew up in the country and am ever grateful to my parents for deciding to move our family to Vancouver when I was 13.  I remember listening to the adults talk at the time about our big move to Lotus Land.  I had no idea what that meant but was scared and sad.  I was nervous about starting high school in a big city and scared about doing it with no friends.  I was totally intimidated by the huge school, the rich kids, and the diversity.  I had no idea what the hell was happening on the first day of school and I felt supremely uncool, but man, was I happy to be there.

All this to say that I never ever thought I would move back to the country.  Since visiting O.U.R., and then reflecting upon my experience of “the country”, I’ve realized that my memories are a long way from the kind of rural community I long for now.  Last summer, as I was pulling a carton of eggs from the fridge at Costco, I told my young daughter: this is where eggs come from.  As I listened to my own words, I had to stop for a minute.  An industrial fridge in a sterile warehouse is where eggs come from? Ouch.  When we visited O.U.R. shortly after my Costco moment, I pointed out a Jersey cow to Sydney and realized that it was the first time she was seeing a cow that wasn’t in a book.  And that Jersey cow was so beautiful, I wondered about the last time I’d seen a real live happy cow. Too long.

I’ve been thinking about the absurdity of the way we live for about five years.  Rushing to and from work, living in nuclear families in big expensive spaces, seeing friends and family when schedules permit and eating alone most of the time.  Since I’ve become a mother, the stakes of our decisions are higher.  I want my daughter to grow up amongst our loved ones.  I want her to understand where her food comes from and for her to care about her role in our environment.  And I want her to know our friends and extended family as well as she will know her immediate family.  In the same way, I want to know my friends and their children more than occasional visits permit.  I want all of our children to feel that they are surrounded by love, care and security.

That’s not our experience at present.  We have lived in our current home for six years and sure, we know our neighbours but we don’t hang out.  I would for sure knock on their doors if I needed to borrow something or if I was in danger, but that’s pretty much the depth of our relationships.  So over the last year, Ben and I have moved our philosophical chats about our reality and into practical conversations about our future. We know that we want to live differently than we are now.  Now we need to figure out how to make that happen.

Ben is in construction and is doing such cool work around green building, off-grid housing, and alternative energy that his path naturally leads to O.U.R. Ecovillage.  He’s managing a team of interns this summer and they’re all in for four months of building, learning and sharing.  We’re excited and incredibly grateful to the folks at O.U.R. for creating a space for this kind of community-building.  It’s a magical place, so be sure to check it out if you’re headed for the Cowichan Valley

Speaking of Lotus Land, I’ve just seen the Wanderlust trailer and it looks like my kind of film.  If you’ve seen it, please leave a comment and let me know what I’m in for.  Thanks!…