Tag Archives: halifax

Insta-Etiquette: Don’t want my daughter a #WCW on Instagram

Let’s teach our boys and girls some Insta-Etiquette. 

I fought Instagram with my daughter.  She was one of the last in her class (so I’m told).  I always say it takes a village. So I chatted with parents, with my daughter and did some research. When I felt comfortable, we signed her up.

The legal age to get an Instagram account is 13-years-old, despite many of her friends younger siblings snapping and sharing.

She’s in Grade 7 and 13-years-old and along with all her other classmates, she’s cautiously delving into a world of selfie-narcisism, the search for self-validation and image rating, armed with our family house rules for online interaction.

Don't care to a #WCW on Instagram. Don't care to be objectified.
Don’t care to a #WCW on Instagram. Don’t care to be objectified.

Instagram Defined in the Tween & Teen World: A social media app letting users

  • snap, edit, and share photos or 15-second videos
  • both publicly or with their private followers
  • You post the photo and your followers comment, share and converse about it – usually reassuring how lovely you look.

I’ve limited time, but I’m learning the #HashTags, dangers and scanning accounts. Ensuring her stuff is private and secure.  But, last night a new #HashTag appeared with my daughter’s photo — not on her wall:

A boy in her grade had posted an image of her on his Instagram Wall stating she is his #WCW.

photoinsta#WCW refers to ‘Woman Crush Wednesday’ (note the ‘Woman‘) and has been around for a few years.  This is where men share images of celebrities or woman they’re crushing on, they ‘like’, they adore, etc.  There’s also images of coffees, pets and children, but for the most part, it’s men crushing on women.

For the record, there are #MCM ‘Man Crush Mondays’ too and this advice goes both ways.

Take a peak on your own Instagram or child’s account and search #WCW and see what images appear.  Welcome 50 Shades of Selfies.

Needless to say, my daughter’s  mildly embarrassed. She doesn’t like the guy and didn’t ask to be part of a public forum about the merits of crushing on her.  However, she’s on Instagram,  they ‘follow’ each other (along with the rest of the school), so I tell her she’s fair game. But, she has choices as to how she deals with it:

How a #WCW works in a Junior High:

  1. Boy posts image and labels it as his #WCW.
  2. Other boys then comment: “onto the next girl?”, “way to go”, “lucky you,” … or it could be worse like, “why you like her?”
  3. What unfolds is an easy forum for hurt feelings, embarrassment, discomfort.

I’m all for crushes – but is there a healthier forum?

Let’s teach our KIDS some Insta-Ettiquette:

  1. Parents: Are your 13-year-old kids on Instagram?  Take a look now and then and make sure they’re not socializing themselves into murky online territory.  Navigating crushes, likes and social interactions is tricky enough to get right in person. Let’s help our kids along online and save them the embarrassment or worse…
    • I happened to come across a post of my daughter and a few girls from her swim team, in their team change room, in a group photo… in their bathing suits. I immediately flagged this for removal from the online world and my daughter asked her teammate to remove it from her Instagram wall.  She did – no harm, no foul. Her friend hadn’t realized taking images in a change-room is a huge ‘No No’ – and my daughter, caught up in the moment, obviously forgot.  Remind your kids of the Rules: rules are easily forgotten in innocence at this age and it’s our job to help keep them on track.
  2. Boys: Ask before we post: DON’T use a girls image, photo, name online unless there is mutual consent. Maybe she doesn’t want to be labelled as your crush for others to comment about?  Let’s stop objectifying girls online. Same applies for girls.
  3. Boys & Girls: #PTD: Please Take Down: If you don’t like an image out there, it’s your right to ask it be removed.  But, you have to accept this may not happen  — so be careful what image you project, what you snap and allow to be snapped.
  4. Boys: So you have a crush. Great on you!  Now man-up and talk to her in person, have a REAL conversation.  If the feelings are mutual – terrific. If they’re not, you’ve given it a brave shot, shown her your mature enough to connect in person and it’s time to move on – offline.
  5. Girls: BE careful what image you project.  You’re posting to your future and it will be out there and most certainly shared.  Don’t project an image online that isn’t reflective of you. You’re more than the sum of your body parts!

If the Dalhousie Dentistry School FaceBook posting teaches us anything, it’s that teaching boys limits and respect, both online and offline, must begin at an early age.

CommonSenseMedia offers a fab app for parents with ‘need to know info’ on apps, movies, books, games and music. Here’s their ‘Need To Know’ for Instagram, like:

“Public photos are the default … unless privacy settings are adjusted. Hashtags and location information can make photos even more visible to communities beyond a teen’s followers if his or her account is public.”

Some info on recently added Instagram features affecting your teens safety check out uknowkids.com.

Stay safe. Stay informed.

Community Herald: Mother seeks community support for son

Noah and his friends having a giggle fest in CP Allen Learning Centre with Tristan Dunn (clockwise from top), Tara Weston, Noah Isenor, Noah’s best buddy Brady Gerrior and CP Allen High School student and services department head Lauren Emanuel. (Cyndi Sweeney)

‘It takes a village.’ A phrase often describing support by the greater community in helping a child. Local mom Tara Weston is reaching out to her community: a last effort to keep her son’s wheelchair lift van and pay his remaining medical bills.

Her goal is to crowdfund $5 from 5,000 people, to raise a total of $25,000 in support of Noah’s journey.

“I’m just trying to put myself in a positive mindset. If 5,000 people gave $5, we’d have Noah’s van,” says Weston, who recently had to sell their family home to keep Noah’s fundamental transportation.

“If we can’t raise the money … and we lose this van, Noah basically has no access within the community anymore,” she says.

Noah has stage five spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy, he is legally blind and is speech impaired. Soon he will undergo his 38th surgery at the IWK.

Despite Noah’s many surgeries and daily seizures, his smile is full of joy and “he has chocolate eyes that melt your heart,” says Lauren Emanuel, student and services department head at CP Allen High School.

“They’re having a giggle-fest today,” says Jenny-Kate Hadley, vice principal at CP Allen. Noah and his friends sit laughing around their classroom table. “Noah is so engaged with the students,” says Emanuel.

Weston says the family has spent close to $220,000 over the past 15 years and his ongoing nursing and attendant needs have been assessed in excess of $7,600 per month. “We’ve great health care coverage here in Canada, but between insurance and provincial health coverage, it doesn’t cover all his medical expenses,” says Weston, leaving $3,800 each month not covered.

The family recently moved to an apartment in Bedford, from their family home specially designed for people with special needs.

“We couldn’t afford a house and a van, so we had to choose what Noah needed. We thought, it doesn’t matter where we live, if Noah had a good quality of life and can get around in the community … he’ll be happy.”

Having exhausted every avenue of financial help, from non-profit, government, friends and family, Weston says $5 from 5,000 is literally their last resort. With more than 400,000 people living in HRM, it’s a goal she says she hopes is attainable for Noah.

Read more on Noah’s Journey  in the Community Herald.

*Note: Since last week the family has raised $1,256 in donations and are now hoping to raise $23,000.

To donate, go to www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/noah-s-journey/201524 or find the link by visiting Noah’s Journey on Facebook.

Halifax Citizen: Boosting badminton

The competitive club now focuses on skill-level rather than age-level and is broken into three groups: Junior Development, Junior Competitive and High Performance, who were recently in Montreal competing.

The Sackville Junior Badminton Club rallies hard to give Nova Scotia competitive badminton a national presence.

“Badminton is a small community,” says Karen Stadnyk, SBC club founder. “It started in Sackville, but we’re an HRM-wide program with members coming from Halifax, Hammonds Plains, Bedford, Dartmouth, Tantallon … and even Truro,” she says.

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SBC formed about seven years ago in Sackville, but today only one of it’s 45 members comes from Sackville and practices are held at CP Allen, Citadel High School and Waverley Memorial.

Read the full story.

Sackville Junior Open, an open-to-anyone tournament for 8-to-22-year-olds, takes place Mar. 14 and 15 at CP Allen. Register at: www.badmintonns.ca.

Information is available about after-school lessons at Canada Games Centre at https://badmintonns.ca/after-school-badminton-programs/ and Dalplex summer camps at http://athletics.dal.ca/children_youth/camps.html.

Community Herald: Portraits of the old and faithful

There’s a photo tribute being snapped in several provinces across Canada by a photographer who discovered it’s not about trying to teach an old dog new tricks, but rather, looking them in the eyes and revealing soulful evidence of long lives lived, just beyond a decade.

A portrait of George.
A portrait of George.

A graduate of NSCAD, Toronto-based photographer Pete Thorne returned to Halifax in early January to photograph portraitures of elderly dogs from all over Nova Scotia for his Old Faithful Project, a collection of images and stories being published by HarperCollins later this year.

“They say Boston terriers are often referred to as ‘American gentlemen’ and that’s George, an American gentleman,” says Sheila O’Hara, who spent much of her life living in Halifax. “Now that George is a senior, I know our time together is limited and Pete’s project is a perfect memory for us both,” says O’Hara.
“They say Boston terriers are often referred to as ‘American gentlemen’ and that’s George, an American gentleman,” says Sheila O’Hara, who spent much of her life living in Halifax. “Now that George is a senior, I know our time together is limited and Pete’s project is a perfect memory for us both,” says O’Hara.

Thorne says he became inspired after photographing his grandmother on her 100th birthday and decided elderly subjects had much to reveal. Thorne began focusing on elderly dogs, initially unclear where the journey would lead him.

“I noticed how distinct older dog’s faces were compared to more youthful ones, and I realized that older dogs are often passed over in favour of younger, cuter puppies,” says Thorne. “It became clear they were the ones that needed more attention, not less.”

Click Bedford Observer for the complete story.  To see poetry in motion watch Thorne and O’Hara as George shows who is the boss:

Dakai Maritimes: Eva & Me

Winter2014 Poignant imagery and honest observations reveal the story of a young orphan from China, a father from rural Nova Scotia and their journey building a life together in Lunenburg, impacting both their destinies.

From the opening quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “Where there is love there is life,”  Eva Purcell-MacIntyre and John MacIntyre’s book, EVA and ME weaves a powerful combination of recollections and images to tell the story of Eva Marie.  MacIntyre’s prose compliment Eva’s transition from a once stoic and cautious 14-month-old baby, to a vibrant and glowing 12-year-old.

MacIntyre says the book was inspired by Douglas Coupland’s ability to tell anew a popular story about Terry Fox in his pictorial biography, Terry.  “With that book in mind, I wanted to explore a father daughter relationship in a meaningful way that might be photographically driven and have the text to support,” recalls MacIntyre.

When the idea first hatched, his daughter wasn’t so keen.  “I kept pestering her and she wasn’t having any part of it … we all have good stories and I think hers is pretty good,” MacIntyre laughs.

“Sharing my story with my community, I felt very proud,” says Eva MacIntyre.  “We had a launch for the book and a lot of people showed up. They asked me to sign their book, and it felt like, wow, this is cool.”

Click here for the story and winter issue of Dakai Maritimes magazine.

Halifax Citizen: Sweets from Santa’s helpers

newleafFor a small kitchen, the crew of 20 bakers at New Leaf Enterprises are mixing up thousands of shortbread, rocky road and Santa’s whiskers cookies.

“We’re like little elves pounding out all this baking,” says Veronica Dale, Executive Director. As of Dec. 1st, Dale says they’ve produced 4,785 shortbreads and more than 2,000 cherry balls. Their popular chocolate covered peanut butter balls have rolled across the 4,000 mark.

But orders close on Fri. Dec. 12 and Easter Seals Nova Scotia president and CEO Henk van Leeuwen says order soon and invest in a good cause. “We do rely on sales from our social enterprises to be invested back into Easter Seals Nova Scotia … like our barrier-free camp and our wheelchair provision programs … but the food is excellent,” says van Leeuwen.

Jolly bakers at New Leaf Enterprises whipping and mixing a nostalgic array of holiday baking like hermit cookies, Santa’s whiskers and shortbreads. Nicole Lenson, Sonya Demone (front row) with Michelle Wilson, Christine Riley and Joe Hickling (back row).
Jolly bakers at New Leaf Enterprises whipping and mixing a nostalgic array of holiday baking like hermit cookies, Santa’s whiskers and shortbreads. Nicole Lenson, Sonya Demone (front row) with Michelle Wilson, Christine Riley and Joe Hickling (back row).

“They’re all made by hand, from scratch,” says Dale. “In our world, we use baking as a teaching tool.” And this time of year, Easter Seals Nova Scotia whips holiday nostalgia into their menu selection, offering a variety of baking representing what Christmas means to them. The hermit cookies are new to the menu this year and Dale says the recipe was her great grandmas.

“Our crew has a wide range of ability; some have physical disabilities; some have intellectual disabilities; and some would say they have both,” says van Leeuwen. The holiday campaign is in its 10th year and like all programs run through New Leaf, van Leeuwen says they are designed with skills training and inclusion in mind. “Our kitchen is the best kept culinary secret in Halifax,” he laughs while references the extra few pounds he’s added from sampling the goods. “We do high production and high volume and they freeze well.”

“We have people who put their order in with us and then they come back because they ate it!,” laughs Dale.

Christine Riley (24) has been with New Leaf Enterprises for two years and says she loves learning about baking. “Last week we went to NSCC Akerley Campus bakery and learned a lot visiting all the kitchens,” says Riley. She says they were taught how to work with chocolate and the varying temperatures. “My favorite item to make is the chocolate covered peanut butter balls … They’re sort of hard to make because we have to make sure the temperature of the chocolate we’re dipping them in is the same as the peanut butter,” she says.

“If you let them set too long, it’ll be too hard and goopy,” says Sonya Demone.

Last year the program raised $6,500 from Christmas baking. This year, they say they hope to raise more. Van Leeuwen says the Christmas baking engages their clients in a seasonal aspect of what’s happening in their community. “They acquire skills such as personal and professional development, reading and following a recipe, teamwork, friendship and skills around production including baking, wrapping and everyday kitchen operations,” he says.

“It’s a crazy, rushed time of year … You’ve a work party or a cookie exchange, let us do it for you,” says van Leeuwen.

The catering kitchen operates all year, but limited orders for holiday baking are extended until Fri. Dec. 12 for pick-up on Wed. Dec. 17.

Items cost $4.95 per dozen or loaf and can be collected at Easter Seals Nova Scotia, 3670 Kempt Rd. To order call 902-453-6000 or email i.grundt@easterseals.ns.ca. Here’s the baking form: www.easterseals.ns.ca

Also online in the Halifax Citizen.

Indulge yourself with New Leaf homebaking: Santa`s whiskers, shortbread, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, cherry balls and rocky roads.
Indulge yourself with New Leaf homebaking: Santa`s whiskers, shortbread, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, cherry balls and rocky roads.

The holiday menu at New Leaf Enterprises:

  • Shortbread
  • Cherry Balls
  • Peanut Butter Balls
  • Hermit Cookies
  • Santa’s Whiskers Cookies
  • Rocky Road Squares
  • Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake
  • Cranberry Orange Loaf

Dartmouth Tribune: A family’s journey to gluten-free

Gluten-free and dairy-free baker Iain Downey prepares icing for one of his pumpkin-spice bundt cakes.
Gluten-free and dairy-free baker Iain Downey prepares icing for one of his pumpkin-spice bundt cakes.

A gluten-free diet is yielding more than a fresh batch of health for a local family from Dartmouth, inspired to share their story following a recent Community Herald column, “The real truth behind gluten,” written by Michelle MacLean.

Heather Downey and her family made the shift to gluten-free 17 years ago, long before supermarkets designated entire sections to gluten-free products; a time when variety was limited to loaves of tasteless, cardboard-like bread. The shift began an inspiring journey for their nine-year-old son Iain, who has Asperger Syndrome and high functioning autism.

“When he was nine there was a lot of back and forth on the internet about whether a gluten-free diet made a difference in our children. There were claims that children became more sociable and interacted more with others after going gluten-free,” recalls Downey. “We were always looking for interventions, anything that might help Iain, so we figured it’s not going to hurt to try it.”

Read Downey’s story here.

“For a nine-year-old whose tummy always hurt, to a six-foot young man who is rarely ill, a gluten-free diet has been worth the journey … We are all healthier because of it. ” says Downey.

Until the website is launched, inquiries to purchase Downey’s baked goods can made at www.facebook.com/IainsIncredibleEdibles.