The Society owns a 480 acre property, fondly called Coyote Lake Lodge, located 60 km west of the Edmonton International Airport. The lodge is modeled on William Watson Lodge in Kananaskis, and on other lodges in Europe and the USA. The property has a stream and forest corridor from Coyote Lake to the North Saskatchewan River and the property hosts special biological richness of mammal and bird species because it is located on a tongue of the Boreal Forest Natural Region that reaches southward between the Foothills Natural Region and the Parkland Natural Region. Wildlife is always nearby whether day or night.
Over the past year, volunteers have contributed hundreds of person-days to develop safety, security, and a welcoming atmosphere. The landscape will support therapy programs in gardening (several hectares), sports (three hectares of fields), and hiking/skiing trails (about five kilometres to date). There is a main lodge with a commercial kitchen, a dining room (40 persons), a library, four bedrooms, a meeting room, and a rebuilt deck that is twice the size of the dining room. Most of this building is accessible. Walkways from the main lodge lead to four family cabins and a wellness/recreation centre. A service centre with a steel farm shed, double garage, and several other equipment storage sheds complete the complex of buildings. The service centre will be used to repair/build equipment and maintain the buildings, gardens, trails, and sports fields.
In 2016, the Society will welcome day visitors and begin to offer overnight house-keeping accommodation where individuals and families will gain confidence, achieve better health, strengthen family relationships, and… have lots of fun! The lodge will also be used as a base to explore Alberta’s regional environmental and cultural legacies with the assistance of adapted outdoor equipment. In winter, visitors can enjoy a coffee while watching birds at feeders just outside the large dining room windows or enjoy the fresh air on the deck. Some will snowshoe or ski the trails. Exercise in the wellness centre is another option. In the summer add gardening, outdoor sports, canoeing, and the list goes on.
As would be expected, the Society has a wish list as they work toward becoming fully accessible and more environmentally sound and economically sustainable. If you wish to volunteer and support the Alberta Abilities Lodges Society, contact them at 780-436-0141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bingo Volunteers Needed. Do you have some spare time on your hands? How about helping ACCD by working a bingo? We will provide you with a meal, camaraderie and the knowledge that you will be helping ACCD work towards full participation in society by Albertans with disabilities. Call Annette at 780-488-9088 for more information.
Alberta Hate Crimes Committee
Did you know that an Alberta Hate Crimes Committee came into existence in 2002? Alberta-based representatives from the justice sector, government and community organizations formed to develop a province-wide framework that encourages and supports a collaborative, integrated approach to preventing, enforcing and responding to hate and bias motivated crimes in Alberta. The vision is to ensure that Albertans are living in an inclusive, safe, caring and respectful community where crimes and incidents of hate are not acceptable values of a democratic and pluralistic society.
The Committee has had several events to its credit. #StopHateAB Youth Forum which engaged young people in responding to hate in Alberta. The goal was to foster an understanding of hate, its impacts and the important role young people can play in being an active witness. Hate Crimes Awareness Day celebrated its sixth annual Hate Crime Awareness Day in 2015. Events took place in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. Events included speeches, awards, a youth forum, and reading of the Proclamation of Hate Crimes Awareness Day.
The Goals and Objectives of the AHCC are to promote awareness about issues related to hate crimes and incidents, address the needs of victims of hate crimes and incidents and enhance government and community responses to hate crimes and incidents. The Principles of the AHCC are Transparent, Results-Oriented, Responsive, Innovative, Inclusive and Collaborative.
The AHCC web site has a section called, Frequently Asked Questions. A few examples of the information given in this section are: who is most frequently targeted for hate crimes; who are the perpetrators of hate crimes; the impact of hate crimes on communities; and, what is the difference between a hate crime and hate speech? It also gives the following suggestions.
What can I do to stand up against hate?
Support targets of hate crime
Report hate crime and incidents
Talk to your local politicians about joining the Coalition of Canadian Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination
Talk to the Media – letter to editor, press conference, news release
Advocate for technical assistance and training for police and justice
Create Public Education & Awareness
Engage in Contingency Planning
Talk to youth
To learn more about AHCC go to www.albertahatecrimes.org.
What is a Hate Crime? AHCC defines a hate crime as, any criminal offence committed against a person or property, which is motivated in whole or in party by the suspects’ hate, prejudice, or bias against an individual or identifiable group based on real or perceived race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.
Happy New Year to You and Your Families and Best Wishes for a Healthy and Prosperous 2016