Sunday, February 14, 2010

There's gold in our hills

There’s gold in them there hills. Rarely, like “Texas tea” wealth will gusher forth from the ground or ooze out like Alberta oil-sands but mostly it remains hidden like gold and requires a studied eye to detect its occasional glitter. But it is all around us and you too can see and find it if you’ll look carefully. A photo of the group running Microsoft Corporation in 1978 illustrates this point. Who would have predicted their degree of success! (...continued)

You can find and view that photo by clicking on the question, “would you have invested” in a computer search engine. Take a look at it. That photo flashed in my mind recently as I gazed at another picture and read your story In a league of their own in The News. Here the local story was of six young boys from East Pictou Middle School who recently travelled to Acadia University where they competed and claimed top prize in the First Lego League Smart Move robot programming competition. Middle school students - Wow!

A few days before that story another article reported on MP Peter MacKay’s talk to 60 university students who were taking part in Atlantic Canada Student Summit held at St. Francis Xavier in Antigonish. The event was organized by an ACOA student steering committee and described by MacKay in part as, “an ideal venue for post-secondary students to share their ideas and discuss issues facing Atlantic Canada…” How true! But just perhaps we are missing the boat if we are waiting for our students to reach university or even high school before we take serious note of their talents and begin to support and involve them in our community building.

We must begin much younger. I’m serious - I believe at about age 12. Otherwise we will lose them from our communities

Then there was It’s a long road to the big screen, another story in The News this month that caught my eye about Layne Green, a student from Blue Mountain with aspirations to become a movie actor. Four years ago at age 13, he landed one of the principal roles in Summerhood, a movie set in the 1980s and filmed in Nova Scotia about what happens at summer camp. Green tells us that “It’s really good”, has already been seen at the Atlantic Film Festival and now he’s asking for community support to help bring the film to New Glasgow so we can all see it here. Why not!

I’ve said before on these pages that we must develop our community education sector. We must give students enough of a community education that they can see opportunities to survive and thrive in their home communities. But there is another part of that education too. We must allow and encourage our youth to dream local dreams but we must also teach the rest of the community how to help them in the building of those dreams for the good of everyone in the community.

The story goes that a few years back a young man was in a bar in Pictou trying to scratch out a living for his family by strumming his guitar and singing his songs. This chap had been at it for quite a while but looking over his audience of a mere 12 people he was very discouraged and thinking of “packing it in” and changing his career path.

About two months later, my wife and I were across the street from that same bar and perhaps 50 yards down the street. The same chap was back there again, strumming his guitar and singing his songs. I had heard his name and I knew his mother who also sang with her sister in the local area. I had come this far just to see what he looked like but I couldn’t get any closer in my wheelchair because the crowd was jam packed, standing shoulder to shoulder and had the entire street blocked.

So what was the difference? What had happened in those two months to create this difference? Same man, same guitar, same songs. The difference was what I call royal jelly or you could just call it the needed promotion and support. After he came second in a TV singing contest, someone recognized his talent and smeared him with royal jelly by paying for a few radio ads, tying ribbons around all the power poles in Pictou County and renting a bus for a day to drive him around. Fred Lays was gone and suddenly with the needed support, George Canyon the celebrity emerged.
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