5 Questions with NGC Online Presence Sub-Committee Chair, Christina Rontynen

My first Calgary Stampede blog post of the year. Enjoy everyone!

5 Questions with NGC Online Presence Sub-Committee Chair,
Christina Rontynen

You can call it Stampede love – or just plain old Calgary love. I couldn’t resist interviewing Christina Rontynen for this blog. We recently got engaged. We didn’t meet through the Stampede but we are on the same Stampede Committee and we have many fun Stampede memories.

When we met we clicked because our passions were the same – including getting people engaged with their communities. That’s why the Next Generation Committee (NGC) was such a great fit for us. The NGC is all about engaging Calgarians with the Stampede!

The NGC is made up of two sub-committees: Project Execution and Online Presence. Christina is the chair of the Online Presence sub-committee.

Here is my interview:                                      

1. What is the Next Generation Committee all about?

The NGC is all about engaging new audiences with the Calgary Stampede. It isn’t just about engaging young Calgarians but all Calgarians. In the past we have targeted 18-30 year olds, brand new Canadians, young families from Calgary’s suburbs, and this year we are targeting Calgarians in 100 years through our very cool Time Capsule project. If you have Twitter you can follow along with Time Capsule project through our #CSTimeCapsule hashtag.

2. What one item would you put in the NGC Time Capsule if you could stand to part with it?

I have this amazing belt buckle from my Dad. He used to wear it when he was a little boy playing cowboys with his friends. It has a bunch of little guns on it and is completely vintage and awesome. It is the perfect Stamepde accessory and it, to me, speaks to the fact that the Stampede is generational. It’s a family affair.

People can propose their own Time Capsule ideas by emailing the NGC. If you have something you’d like included in the Time Capsule and it has a neat story behind it please email us at: calgarystampede.ngc@gmail.com

3. What is your ideal Stampede day?

Best Stampede day is always Parade Day! Wake up early, find the perfect spot and watch the energy and excitement of Stampede come alive. After that it’s about finding a pancake breakfast – and putting lots and lots of syrup on the pancakes (of course)! Then a trip down to Stampede Grounds – I love making sure I’m there for the Rodeo and of course a greasy, yummy dinner at a kiosk afterwards. Then it is playing some Midway Games, enjoying the Coke Stage, and waiting until the fireworks show.

4. Who are you most looking forward to Stampeding with this year?

Well you of course Peter!! Our first Stampede being engaged! Very fun.

But I’m also looking forward to hopefully bringing your niece and nephew! Seeing the Stampede through the eyes of kids is the best!

5. What is your favorite Stampede treat?

Gosh – this is a hard one. I love the classic mini donuts but this year I will not leave without trying all the new food for 2012; including deep fried wagon wheels, sausage on a stick and those deep fried veggies.

Thanks for playing along Christina!

Happy Almost Stampede Everyone!
PP

Originally Posted on the Calgary Stampede Blog on May 23, 2012 – found here.

Next Generation Committee Wants to Tell Your Story … in 100 Years

I just posted on the Calgary Stampede blog about an awesome project that Peter and I are taken part in this Stampede. The Stampede Time Capsule (#CSTimeCapsule) will be telling the Stampede’s story from the last 100 years to Calgarians 100 years from now. It’s pretty exciting stuff … and there are plenty of opportunities for all Calgarians to leave their mark on the time capsule.

Here’s my post ….

Last weekend I had that pleasure of attending the Stampede 4 Corner Event in southeast Calgary. I was there with my fellow Next Generation Committee team members not only promoting our latest project but as a Calgarian getting excited for Stampede.

The smell of pancake breakfast, the western garb, the smiling faces, the country music … I had tingles on the back of my neck as soon as the event started. It really marked the start of Stampede season for me.

The 4 Corners events are the perfect blend of Stampede and community. The community crowd was gathering not only for the free Stampede breakfast but also to support local community organizations and cheer on community entertainment.

It really is the perfect event to tell Calgary about the Next Generation Committee’s time capsule. You haven’t heard of the time capsule? Check out the news release for more information, but in a sentence the time capsule is the Next Generation Committee’s way to captured the first 100 years of the Stampede and share it with the Calgary 100 years from now. Pretty exciting actually!

How exciting? Well I watched a child no more than 6 drop in her favorite Stampede memento into our time capsule at the 4 Corners event. Her eyes were wide as she exclaimed, “off to the future!!” Now that’s exciting!

Click to read more.

– CR xo

A riddle for our readers – “Who am I?”

We came across this riddle today and wanted to share it with our readers.

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.

I will push you on to success or drag you down to failure.

I am completely at your command.

Half the things I do you might just as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.

Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great individuals and, alas, of all failures, as well.

Those who are great, I have made great.  Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine; though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a human.  You may run me for profit or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will placed the world at your feet.  Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?  Let us know what you think and stay tuned for the answer in a couple of days!

PP and CR

It’s Coffee Time: Doug Griffiths arrives in Living Rooms across Alberta

Okay – I admit it. I had never been to a coffee party before May 5, 2011. It seems to me that the era of the coffee party was a bit before my time. I’ve heard the days of the coffee party praised by board members from both Calgary Shaw and Calgary Foothills. Many claiming that that was the way Premier Lougheed won – that was how they met him – and that is how they knew he was a great leader.

There is something about coming into someone’s home, being on their turf, and embracing their friends, their neighbours and their community. It’s the principle of breaking bread together but in this case it’s sipping coffee. I laughed when I saw some comments on a Facebook photo Chris Harper posted of a coffee party he hosted this past week – his friends were amazed that a PC leadership candidate would come over to his house just to talk to his friends. It really is the simple things that amaze people the most.

And a coffee party is a very simple thing.

There is nothing to know about a coffee party before you have one. Nothing to learn. No membership to buy. No prerequisites. No expectations.

A coffee party is whatever you want it to be. It’s a passionate Albertan coming to talk to, get to know and share their vision with other passionate Albertans. A coffee party is what comes to my mind when I think of the term grassroots engagement. It’s literally invite your friends – gather them in your living room – listen to a visionary – ask questions – mingle.

My favourite part? The questions! That’s when you see people truly engaging. The questions are when you find out what makes your neighbours tick and what has been on their mind. It’s when you find out that many of us are passionate about the same things and want the same things for Alberta’s future. The questions are what get a room excited. And the answers to those questions are what keeps the room excited and triggers a desire to purchase a PC membership and get involved in the process – at least that’s what is happening at coffee parties featuring Griff.

I may be biased but Doug Griffiths’ strength is certainly in the coffee party. It’s no secret that he is passionate about people and communities. Without strong communities we cannot build a better Alberta together. In a room full of new friends his excitement about Alberta’s future is clear. He is personable, thoughtful and enthusiastic. You can tell he feels right at home in the living rooms of his volunteers and supporters – why? Because that is the kind of man he is. When he has the day off work he is hanging out in the living rooms of his family and friends. That’s where he watches his boys grow up, that’s where he invites his friends to watch the game and that’s where he hammers out his vision for Alberta.

Doug wants to get to as many Albertan living rooms in the next several months as possible. He wants to come to you … not make you come to him. He wants to build a better province … and he knows he can’t do that alone. Every community is different, every group of people gathered will be different but we are all passionate about Alberta and passionate about making it the best it can be today and for future generations.

So why don’t you have a coffee party? The latest people to sign up for coffee parties in Calgary? My parents! Lisa Mackintosh’s friends. A new supporter who DM’ed us on Twitter. And an incredible 70-something women I met at Chris Harper’s coffee party for Griff. She is so excited. She told me that it isn’t time for change in this province … it’s time for the next generation to step up and take their place in Alberta … and that place is in leadership roles. She told me that the last time she was this excited is when she attend a similar gathering for Premier Lougheed decades ago.

Everything old is new again. Why? Because Alberta has realized the importance of the community, of personal connections and that the only way we can advance this province is if we advance it together.

If you want to have a coffee party email the campaign or even just reply to this blog post. We will get you in touch with the right people and do our best to get Doug into your living room.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to have a coffee party. Political engagement is personal – it’s flexible – it’s simple. Doug Griffiths’ coffee parties are political engagement.

Can’t wait to have a coffee with you in your living room and watch your neighbours get excited about our next PC Leader, Doug Griffiths.

CR xo

PCinYYC Representin’ the Calgary Stampede Online

PCinYYC are always looking for ways to get involved in the community. After all we are advocates for community engagement and passionate about Calgary.

We’ve recently been given the opportunity to sit on the Calgary Stampede‘s Next Generation Commitee (NGC). This committee works to attract and engage the next generation of audiences as patrons, supporters and volunteers of the Calgary Stampede. The NGC is mandated to assist the Calgary Stampede in leveraging emerging and non-traditional promotions, marketing, social media, and online tools to promote the Calgary Stampede brand and events.

We are so excited to be a part of this team … and lend some of our time and blog space to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Here is @ppilarski‘s first blog for the Calgary Stampede blog – it’s focused on the Calgary Stampede Lotteries … did you know you can already be buying your tickets and avoiding line-ups at the grounds in July?

Hope you’ll follow along as we dive into another #yyc adventure.

CR and PP

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Do you feel lucky, punk?  Well …. Do ya? (May 13th, 2011 by Peter Pilarski)

Because the 2011 Calgary Stampede Lotteries advanced ticket campaign is on now!  And this year the Lotteries feature more than $1.4 million in prizes, including trucks, boats, a fifth-wheel trailer, luxury vacations, a dream home and more than $310,000 in cash! 

What is fantastic about the Calgary Stampede Lotteries is that by giving yourself a chance to win by purchasing tickets, someone else can feel lucky too. 

Read More … on the Calgary Stampede blog

CBE and the Provincial Budget – I Expect Better

I spent much of the day conversing with people on twitter regarding the provincial budget and response from the Calgary Board of Education, which seems dishonest and is disappointing.  I am frustrated that the CBE chooses to manipulate facts and deceive Calgarians with respect to what the government’s budget actually means for education.  I feel sorry for teachers who seem to be used as pawns for negotiation instead of the valued professionals they are.  It frustrates me to no end to listen to the CBE threaten teacher layoffs when that is not what the province intended with their budget and not the best scenario for Alberta’s students.

Below is a snippet from an e-mail that was sent to me by an anonymous Calgarian who shares my frustrations with the conversation:

The province’s budget wasn’t actually that bad. I’m surprised they even kept half of AISI actually, but I’ve heard good things about it in other jurisdictions. I was a little disappointed by the elimination of the enhanced ESL (only for new immigrants who basically have never been to school and don’t speak English), and that they only put such a measly little bit into pilot programs for special needs. That special needs freeze is going on 4 years now and is getting ridiculous.

The release by the CBE was very misleading however. The province didn’t cut as much as they are making it appear. A 60 million dollar deficit… Sigh. I can’t say I’m surprised. You noticed that they will be getting 28 million for teacher increases (although they say that won’t cover it – it’s probably 29 million), and doesn’t mention teachers retiring from the top of the grid when they talk about grid increases. The $25 million in grants that were cut should therefore be cut from the programs that they were designed to be cut from (eg. AISI should go down in half because the grant was cut in half).

The CBE shouldn’t go into a deficit in order to continue things that are no longer being funded (and AISI was considered a huge waste of dollars in Calgary anyways) unless there is a clear benefit (eg. they should probably continue enhanced ESL, but should offer it in less schools and the students who really need it should go to those schools). And despite what they said, the province did increase ESL funding by 11% in response to the greater population of ESL students. It was also the CBE’s suggestion to the province that they cut class size funding at all levels except K-3 in order to save money last year, so I don’t know why they are criticizing the province for cutting Grades 4-6 class size funding when it was their idea. So, I can understand a small deficit due to this budget, but it shouldn’t be anywhere near 60 million. The CBE is trying to use the province as a scapegoat for their own mismanagement.

I find the comments by the CBE disappointing.  The world is just starting to see the light at the end of the recession and times have been tough;  we can’t just keep giving more and more.  In my opinion, the CBE needs to tighten its belt just like everybody else.  It can do this by reducing targeted programs and finding better and more efficient ways of doing business.  It shouldn’t, however, hold teachers, parents and students hostage by threatening to cut teachers.  And the CBE should engage with Calgarians honestly.  I expect better!

PP

Community Assistant vs. Hands-on Alderman

In recent days twitter has been buzzing with the news that Craig Chandler will become newly elected alderman, Peter Demong’s community assistant. Demong beat out incumbent Linda Fox-Mellway in Ward 14. Community association members have been contacting their ward’s political community with questions about this role. @ShawnKao, who also ran for the Ward 14 chair, tweeted that he has been contacted by 3 highly involved individuals – all expressing concerns about Chandler’s involvement.

In no way, shape, or form is this an attempt to slam Chandler. Frankly I would be concerned if anyone was named as a community assistant this close out of the gate.

This story has got me thinking about the expectations one has on an alderman. Aside from the written job description, I believe that Calgarians expect a lot from their elected officials that are above and beyond what they may have signed up for.

I think it is expected that an alderman be aware of the happenings in their community but I truly believe that they must be entrenched in those happenings. Community meetings, gatherings and events are where relationships are built and issues are understood. I don’t want my alderman to be sitting in an ivory tower – I want them right next door. I want to borrow a cup of sugar from them and know that when I have a legitimate problem they will be there to listen. I want to know that when my community association is passionate about an issue (from garbage and recycling collection to snow removal to traffic standards) my alderman not only knows about that issue but can understand the history and emotion behind it. How on earth can you understand the passion behind particular community issues if you have sent someone else to attend a community meeting instead of being there in the flesh? Or if you have assigned someone to call and follow up with community leaders instead of forging personal relationships with them yourself?

Passion that is contained in each and every community in #yyc needs to be experienced in person to be appreciated and understood. Some aldermen do a fabulous job of this – they make their constituents feel valuable and understood. My fear is that this community assistant position will set a precedent for alderman to stay an arm’s length away from real community issues … when they should be on the front lines.

If an alderman is on the frontline of their community issues they will be able to properly represent their needs in #yyccc – and perhaps get away from playing party politics in a place where they don’t belong. Perhaps this attitude will help avoid split votes and start getting the things important to Calgarians done efficiently and effectively.

That’s my opinion. I’m a firm believer that my city representative must understand the needs of the community … not second hand … not from a friend … or from an employee. A city representative needs to be a part of the community to understand the community. I sincerely hope that Alderman Demong will still be an active part of Ward 14’s vibrant community associations. Growing up in Ward 14 (and now living in Ward 13) I know that these groups of people are passionate about the community and expect to be taking seriously. They deserve direct attention from their elected official and not his campaign manager. The message hiring Chandler sends is one that communicates a lack of respect for their dedication to the ward.

Calgary Aldermen – I want to hear from you. What makes you a good representative of your community? How do you ensure you are a part of the community? Respected by the community? And up to date on the needs of your neighbours? Let’s sit down and have a coffee (or beer) and chat. PCinYYC is itching to publish a piece on you and your community.

Keep being passionate Calgary! Keep engaging and keep calling, writing, tweeting and emailing your alderman if you have a question, concern or suggestion. We are the stewards of this city – and keeping it great starts with us … not them.

CR xo