FASDAY 2003 in Thunder Bay
Good morning everyone,
Everything went off as planned yesterday here in Thunder Bay. We followed the plan I sent in a few days ago about Thunder Bay (Sept. 4th). Had a turn out of around 120 I'd estimate at the theatre where the ceremony was held. Both newspaper and TV showed up and there is a front page story about one of our young adults in the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal, though it doesn't seem to be on-line yet this morning.....nothing is yet from that paper. I'll post the link though if someone is interested in seeing the story later - I'm fairly sure they will post it online. It's a fairly good article, but unfortunately some mistakes are there as usual and I'm trying to figure out how to undo the impression that most people with FASD will do fine ......
Our young adult was interviewed by herself and I think something wasn't quite clear. Ramona did a humdinger of a job on her speech at the ceremony, doing even better than I thought she would! We are blessed that she is able to recognize and voice her insights so well! She and I worked on her speech over a period of weeks, but it was her remarkable delivery that made it so powerful.....not nervous and she just plowed straight ahead with it, but not too fast. I think she had many in tears.
Maureen, the coordinator for the NorWest Health Center FASD Program - the one our group (F.A.S.I.N.) partners with did, an excellent job. She even handled the media afterwards, as I had asked to not be interviewed this year and felt she was more that capable - and she proved me right! (I have such a feeling of satisfaction today - like I have been passing the torch this last year and a half since the NorWest Program got started, and I feel that is nearly accomplished. Little by little I have been backing out of all the FASD responsibilities F.A.S.IN. has been handling since 1996 or '97 so that we can really just concentrate on the parents and families as we originally planned. It is such a thrill to feel like the torch is nearly out of my fingers with regard to those other responsibilities - sad in some ways, but very necessary if we are to continue to see this movement grow. It can not be just a family issue, it absolutely has to become a full community issue, IMHO. Now the trick will be to keep enough balance in representation to make sure the family/parent/individual component is not lost. But I digress!)
The ceremony at Mt McKay was said to be beautiful - I know they were expecting between 40-80 people, and I'm sure they had no trouble attracting that many. I wasn't able to attend as I had to help decorate the theatre with many, many butterflies, of all different descriptions, that young children had made for this occasion. The entrance hall to the theatre was covered with beautiful butterflies, and many children came to the ceremony.
I forgot to mention in my last e-mail (about Thunder Bay's planned activities) that we expected 8 or 9 churches to be ringing their steeple bells at 9:09 am. There were steeple bells ringing in the city and the Women's Drumming Group (with a name too long for me to even pronounce much less spell correctly!) at the reserve which is just on the edge of the city! It is always a joy for me to hear the bells, but I am heartily sorry to not have been able to get out to the reserve activities.
After the ceremony at Magnus Theatre, there were the TV and newspaper interviews for Maureen and Ramona, then Ramona and her dad and the rest of the parents went out for lunch. We do this every year after the ceremony together. (I'm going to see if I can talk Maureen into doing a breakfast ceremony next year - she may want my head on a platter for that idea, but I think it sounds like a great idea........was that Marion T. who was doing that in Regina?.....can't remember.)
I think that about sums it up for Thunder Bay's activities. Everyone here seems pooped and weary but happy, so it was a very good day.
My best to all,