Childhood Memories and Weekend Retreats

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December, 2005

Ah, November. Leaves change colour and fall. They sit on the wet ground and rot. And just when they’re ready to become rich sources of nutrients for our lawns, we cart them off. “They’re going to a better place,” I was told as a child. (sigh) A cruel month.

But that’s why it’s just so necessary to fill November with spectacular weekend retreats! We began the month with the first Hopeful Highschool Hooligan (Triple-H!) Highly Intensive Training Weekend of the 2005-6 year – one down and 6 more weekends to go. We rocked out with technology-free slideshows, rousing rounds of Rikki-Tikki,* and, of course, a glass dish filled with organic, fair-trade, vegan chocolate delight (read: cake). The result? The Triple-H’ers at Applewood Heights in Mississauga, ON have put together an outstanding presentation. We can’t wait for the day when pictures from space will reveal how green Mississauga has become. (The social justice will be tougher to make out.)

The second retreat involved more mayhem than usual at the Hopeful Manor of Marvelous Mayhem here in Ottawa. 24 folks from the On Two Wheels program convened here to evaluate the four bike tours and to brainstorm future bike touring ideas. There was much to celebrate as well: 72 team members, biking 12,000 kms across 14 provinces (double-counting), giving 618 presentations and workshops to over 26,000 youth!

Otesha was honoured again this month. Joss, on behalf of Otesha, received one of the ten Cambio Scholarships from Environment Canada for taking action against climate change. The award ceremonies were held in Montreal against the backdrop of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, which is taking place there right now. (If you happen to be in the city, hit up the Guy Favreau Complex on Dec.8th at noon and again at 4pm to check out some Otesha presenting action)

Even more excitement came when we saw the trailer for CBC’s new documentary series on revolutionary youth projects atwww.makesomenoise.tv – Otesha has a ten minute segment on this show that will air in the new year. If you check out the trailer, keep an eye out for a ducking Jess, a laughing Joss, and for Jeff chilling on Parliament hill. (Oh c’mon, it’s so rare that we get excited about t.v. – let us have our fun!)

Finally, as the gift giving season rolls around, we thought we’d pass along a list brainstormed at the bike tour retreat about how to reduce the impacts of your gifts (ethically and ecologically). Check out our list of ideas here:http://www.otesha.ca/files/surviving the holidays otesha-style.doc . Or check out the Otesha Book, which has got a bunch of ideas at the end of the Media chapter (in the Action Addict section). And hey, you could just order the Otesha Book itself off the website as a present – does that count as advertising?

Happy December!

*Rikki-tikki: quite possibly the most fun, most intense, most high-energy game that has been created, exists currently or will ever be invented.

Postcard of the month: “I loved u guys. You guys were awesome. You guys really rocked! Let’s all be nice. Get along with each other. DON’T LITTER. Stop abuse in relationships. Take care of each other. Have tons of respect. Be happy 4 who we are and what we all have. Stop taking things 4 granted.” – Sara, 18, Saint John, NB