Coffee hour will be held on Tuesday, July 12 from 10:00–11:00am. This month’s coffee break will be held at HMCS Queen Charlotte. Everyone is invited…hope to see you there!
Update From Our Virtual Program Coordinator
Last night, I had the privilege of escorting my 88-year-young mom to a volunteer recognition event. This event recognized the leaders in our community who continually choose to give their time and talents. I met some phenomenal volunteers who give back tenfold to enhance our communities and support our CAF families. I had the privilege of sitting with a family who, last year, won the family volunteer award as, together, they donated more than 1,500 volunteer hours to their community.
How does this relate to virtual outreach? Well, I have always said that anything is possible in the virtual classroom. This past month, I had a couple of requests from community members to volunteer delivering interactive virtual workshops. Wow—I had never thought of how to engage volunteers in my role as virtual program coordinator for the MFRC PEI!
So, with a few phone calls and some great brainstorming, we came up with many ways that volunteers can help the virtual outreach program to grow so that all of our CAF, VAC, and reservist families can access quality programs regardless of their posted location. From leading a group, parents connection, book club, mindfulness, employment skills (to name a few) to facilitating a workshop and perhaps even sharing your life’s journey and experience through deployments, transitions, grief, successes. And if you prefer administrative work, we have editing scripts, organizing files, and many other great volunteer opportunities to learn and add valuable skills to your resume and employment portfolio all while giving back to our Canadian Armed Forces Community.
As we move into our second year of virtual outreach at the MFRC PEI, we truly can see that anything is possible in the virtual classroom. If you are interested in learning more about the interactive virtual classroom and about volunteering in this unique venue, please email me, Margaret MacKenzie, at Virtual.mFRCPEI@gmail.com or give me a call at 204-918-1948 for a more personal touch. Together we can move mountains.
On another note, I want to share with you the recordings of the scholarship series that we hosted in May in the interactive virtual classroom. This was a two-part series—the first part was debunking the myths to accessing scholarship dollars for post-secondary education and the second part was an open forum discussion on particular scholarship opportunities specifically for CAF, VAC, reservists, RCMP, and first responder families. This virtual series in its sixth year has saved our families thousands in post-secondary education. You can find links to these recordings on our website: http://www.peimfrc.ca/virtual-recordings/
Looking ahead to the end of June we are going to be hosting an up close and personal open forum discussion all about one family’s journey in transition from Canadian Armed Forces to Veteran. Come to meet Col (ret) Russ Mann and Lucie Morel Mann both of whom have made significant and positive changes in the system that continue to benefit all CAF families regardless of their posted location. Register today to join in this interactive and informative virtual session all from the comfort of your personal computer. (Here's the link: http://www.peimfrc.ca/event/transitioning-from-military-to-civilian-life-virtual-session/)
Enjoy the connections! Cheers Margaret MacKenzie Virtual Program Coordinator MFRC PEI
Monthly Volunteer Meeting
Our monthly volunteer meetings will resume in September. All calls for volunteers will be made via email!
Family Care Plan
A Family Care Plan is a mandatory Department of National Defence form that helps prepare families of Canadian Armed Forces members in case of unforeseen events, emergency callouts, and planned deployment. By identifying primary and secondary caregivers who should be contacted in the event of an emergency or military tasking, your Family Care Plan supports your family in your absence.
All Canadian Armed Forces personnel must complete the Family Care Plan Form DAOD 5044-1A. It isn’t a legally binding document, but it is kept on the Canadian Armed Forces member’s file. Family Care Plans are protected under the Privacy Act.
Essentially, the Family Care Plan is a regularly updated exchange of information between your family and a Commanding Officer. A completed Family Care Plan is designed to support individual and unit operational readiness.
For more information about the Family Care Plan, visit familyforce.ca or contact the Family Information Line at 1-800-866-4546.
Recovering from Stress: an important skill for fathers
Let me tell you about my really bad day – as a dad, I mean.
It took place some years ago when we were on holiday in New Brunswick. Our boys were two, six, and nine at the time. That afternoon we’d stopped at Hopewell Cape to look at it’s beautiful flowerpot rock formations at low tide.
As soon as we got there, our rather impulsive nine-year-old took off and scrambled partway up one of the rock formations. Not a good idea! These steep rocks are underwater at high tide, so they are wet, and covered with various sea plants and shellfish. Very slippery and treacherous. Scrambling up there was one thing. Getting down? I didn’t see how he was going to do it without hurting himself.
He was too high to reach. So I couldn’t give him a hand to help him get down. I looked at my wife with my best “Now he’s really done it” expression and said, “How is he going to get down from there without breaking his leg!?”
“I can get down,” our son insisted. The he tried to scramble down. Disaster. He slipped, fell, really whacked his hand on a rock and started howling. It could have been worse, but I was still convinced he’d broken bones in his hand.
My thoughts and feelings came in a rush. “There goes the day! Here we are at one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and, before we even get to look around, we’re going to the hospital. Why did he have to do that?”
I can’t remember exactly what I said or did – nothing particularly bad. But I was “in a state,” as they say. So I was burning tons of emotional energy just trying to keep it together and cover up my feelings, in front of all the other tourists who saw what happened. That left me with zero energy to put into helping our injured son, which was what was really needed in that situation.
Luckily, my wife rose to the occasion. She took him off to a washroom to wash and assess his wound, which, luckily, was not a quarter as bad as I imagined. So, no hospital trip. I took our two younger guys down to the water’s edge to poke around a bit while I cooled down. Fairly soon, as boys (and their fathers) often do, we started throwing stones in the water. It was fun at first. I was feeling calmer. Just then, Aaron, who wasn’t that coordinated at throwing, managed to hit his older brother in the eye with a small stone. I couldn’t believe it. Another crisis, just as I was starting to pull myself together!
Again, I managed to control myself. I attend to my injured boy. (My wife was not there to bail me out!) Luckily, he wasn’t hurt that badly either. But I was going to pieces inside – frustrated, disappointed, embarrassed and angry (mostly at myself). And, worst of all, this was happening on a day when I really, really wanted to feel good. So now I felt bad about feeling bad. That’s just the worst, isn’t it? I fell into an awful downward spiral of negativity.
I pretty much sulked for the rest of the day. And I slept badly that night. I kept going over everything in my mind, kicking myself for how poorly I’d handled things. When I woke up in the morning I still had a churning feeling in my gut.
I recovered eventually, but it took way too long. And that’s my point. I could have done a number of things better that day. But my biggest failing was not being able to recover from the stress of the day’s mishaps.
Being able to recover from stress is really important. Stress is inevitable. It’s part of life. It’s certainly part of parenting. Crappy stuff happens, even on days when you really want things to go well. Although it is possible to avoid some stress with smart planning, we also have to be able to recover from the stress we can’t avoid. So, for me, the lesson from my story is that we should all think about what we can do to help ourselves recover from stress. Knowing how to recover from stress helps us be better fathers.
What helps you recover from stress? Going for a walk or run? Listening to music? Talking to your partner or your friend? Meditating? Playing your guitar? Talking to a buddy who will make you laugh? Doing something fun with your kids? Having a nap?
Think about it. Talk to your partner about how you can help each other.
Learning to recover from stress is a crucial life skill. It’s also a key parenting skill. I hope that, most of the time, you can do a better job than I did that day in New Brunswick.
We're looking for Veterans & Medically Released CAF Members!
We're putting together a list of veterans, medically releasing members, and their families for the PEI region. We're hoping to plan events and activities specifically for you! Some ideas include golf tournaments, special workshops, adapted fitness programs, and various other social and networking events. To get your name on the list to receive this info, visit our website and opt-in to the Veterans newsletter (it's over on the side with a note). We promise not to crowd your inbox ... you'll only hear from us when we have a special event to promote!
This satellite office is located in Slemon Park, in the Summerside Armouries. It is located at 10 Parkway Lane…after you pass the Slemon Park Plaza, take the first left!
Feel free to stop by for a visit. Our hours are subject to change, so please call ahead to make sure the program coordinator is there or to arrange an appointment … 902.314.9461 or email Lynn.Milligan@forces.gc.ca
Please note that the door to the building must remain locked, so ring the buzzer when you arrive. And this office is not wheelchair accessible but arrangements can be made to meet in another location.
As of right now, we'll be open 8:30am–4:00pm, M–F. Please note: July 1 and 12, the office will be closed.
Local Military Discounts
We've updated our list of local businesses offering discounts to CAF members and/or CAF families. Some new discounts include offers from Dynamic Fitness, Blue Ribbon Pet Supply, and Ultramar Charlottetown. You can check our Facebook Page for information or on our website: http://www.peimfrc.ca/local-discounts/
Men bond with their children right from birth. By watching how a man changes a diaper, wrestles with his four year old, listens to his teenage daughter’s school struggles, and watches his children negotiate possession of the same toy, it is clear that men care about their children. The context of the bond between a father and his children is activation. Fathers look for ways to activate and stimulate their children. They often do this in unpredictable ways that children love and tend to seek out. Here are some implications of a father’s style of bonding:
Development considerations. Men are often not socialized as boys to be nurturing of children. Boys are expected to play rough, get dirty, and be independent. These help a man learn to play, but he may not get experience in the “softer” skills of parenting.
Risk taking. Fathers encourage risk-taking behaviours that encourage children to stretch their abilities, learn about their limits, develop emotional regulation, and have the confidence to learn new things.
Safety. Fathers are often very aware of the safety of their children. Men tend to be involved in the risky play that may seem unsafe, but by being involved fathers are closer at hand to deal with potential harm.
Play. Play is the main context for bonding between fathers and children.
Wait and see. Men tend to wait when children show some signs of stress and see if they can work it out.
To the point. Men’s talk with children is often direct and to the point. They tend not to use emotion words and instead focus on details (who, what, when, etc.).
Experience. Men have the ability to engage children well. At the outset, this may seem like a struggle for a father, but most men learn through experience. Fathers benefit as much time with their children as possible, right from the start.
Interest. Men pay attention to their children’s needs and are looking for ways to help them along with their development.
(Taken directly from My Dad Matters; a toolkit for community service providers and produced by Dad Central Ontario, 30 Bennett St. Carleton Place, On K7C 4J9)
Do you have a family member who is also deployed somewhere in the world?
The PEI MFRC would like to know, so that we can send our warm best wishes in the form of a “morale” package. Morale packages celebrate our Canadian holidays: Spring/Easter, Canada Day, Thanksgiving/Halloween, and Winter/Christmas. The packages contain items donated by generous Island businesses and organizations and are assembled by our team of dedicated volunteers. It’s a fun and heartwarming project, one that is always well appreciated by our family and friends in uniform. Please contact our office so your loved one receives a parcel from a grateful Island community.
Our fellow Islanders have served in many countries throughout the world during their military careers. Aside from some intense situations that do occur, we know there are heartwarming and funny stories to be told…and perhaps, need to be told. Our Canadian Forces personnel have done wonderful work around the world and we’d love to hear and share your stories in our monthly newsletter. If you have a tale to tell, please contact us or send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org
June is Recreation Month!
All over the country, communities and organizations are celebrating Recreation Month. We know this is the July newsletter, but there are still a few days left in June!
Since 2009, the Canadian Armed Forces community has been celebrating June is Recreation Month (JRM), through the Personnel Support Programs Division, with the support of national and provincial Park and Recreation associations. The aim of JRM within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is “to increase awareness of the value that recreation/leisure facilities, programs, and services add to quality of life and operational support in the CAF community” (Recreation Programs, PSP).
Every year, there is a different theme to JRM, and this year, the JRM campaign focuses on the positive effects recreation has on mental health. Mental health resources can be found on the Canadian Armed Forces site.
So, lace up those sneakers and head out for a run. Or grab the family (or the dog) and head out for a walk. Or take up a new fitness class. Or put on a yoga video in the quiet of your own home. Or join a recreational sport league.
JRM would like to acknowledge Canadian Tire Corporation for its support of this year’s campaign.
Military families are invited to log on to www.cfmws.com/JRM to find out more information, read the ezine PLAY, and enter to win one of $1,000 gift cards from Canadian Tire. Note: You’ll need your CF1 card to enter the contest.
Summer Events in PEI
The summer months always bring lots of great, fun activities in our wonderful province. Just a few of them are noted below. For info on Island events, go to https://www.tourismpei.com
Summerside Lobster Festival: July 18 to July 24, Summerside (a family fun festival including a parade, beach volleyball, culinary events, GOLOBSTER.ca, a midway and music on the waterfront stage.)
PEI Potato Blossom Festival: July 18 to July 24, O'Leary. (Miss Potato Blossom pageant, parade, washer toss, arm wrestling, potato peeling, car show, and more!)
Georgetown Summer Days Festival: July 20 to July 24, Georgetown. (Free barbecue, talent show, tons of fun for everyone!)
Northumberland Fisheries Festival: July 28 to July 31, Murray River. (Parade, dory racing, local entertainment and more.)
Welcome Baby Program
Did you or another military family you know recently welcome a new addition to their family? Let the staff at the PEI MFRC know so we can offer our congratulations and a “Welcome baby” gift bag!
Water Safety Tips
Tis the season for trips to the beach and lounging around the pool—isn't summer wonderful? But with more time spent around the water comes a need for heightened awareness for safety. Here's an article we found from Kids Health on water safety (source: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/safety-drowning.html)
Water safety is important at any age, but is especially crucial if you have babies or toddlers in your home. Drowning can happen very quickly and in less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of water, so filled bathtubs, swimming pools, wading pools, hot tubs, and even buckets of water and sinks can be dangerous.
To reduce the risk of drowning:
Never leave a baby unattended in the bath. If you must answer the telephone or door, don't rely on an older sibling to watch the baby; wrap your baby in a towel and bring him or her with you.
Never leave a bathtub, bucket, or other container filled with any amount of water or other liquid unattended.
Never use a bathtub seat or supporting ring without constant adult supervision. The seat can overturn or a baby may slip out into the water.
Install a toilet-lid locking device and keep bathroom doors closed at all times. (Or you may want to install a doorknob cover.)
If you have a pool in your backyard, install fencing at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) high on all sides of the pool, as well as a self-closing and self-latching gate with a lock that's out of a child's reach.
Consider installing a pool alarm or cover, but realize these devices are not substitutes for fencing and adult supervision.
Remove toys from the pool when kids are finished swimming to prevent them from trying to recover them when unsupervised.
Inflatable flotation devices such as vests, water wings, rafts, and tubes can give a false sense of security in the pool and are not effective in protecting a child from drowning. Never use these as a substitute for constant adult supervision.
Dump out all water from a wading pool when you're finished using it.
Remove any ladders from an above-ground pool when not in use.
If you leave your child with a babysitter, make sure he or she knows your rules for the pool.
If you're expecting a baby or you already have a child, it's a good idea to:
Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich maneuver.
Keep the following numbers near the phone (for yourself and caregivers):
toll-free poison-control number: 1-800-222-1222
parents' work and cell phone numbers
neighbor's or nearby relative's number (if you need someone to watch other children in an emergency)
Make a first-aid kit and keep emergency instructions inside.
And the Red Cross has some great tips for water safety, too (source: http://www.redcross.ca/training-and-certification/swimming-and-water-safety-tips-and-resources/swimming--boating-and-water-safety-tips/summer-water-safety)
A Canadian Red Cross report examining these fatalities over 10 years revealed many common factors:
Young children ages 1 to 4 and men ages 15 to 44 are at the greatest risk of drowning.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Canadian children ages one to four.
A small child can disappear in seconds and can drown in only a few centimetres of water-enough to cover the mouth and nose. Typically these drownings occur in backyard pools, toddler pools, the bathtub, or at the beach.
Small children are also the most vulnerable group for near drownings. For every death, there are an estimated four to five additional near-drowning incidents, which require hospitalization and often result in varying degrees of brain damage.
Infants and toddlers drowned mainly in bathtubs and pools, whereas older children and youth drowned mainly in large bodies of water.
Other factors for adults in water-related fatalities included current and alcohol consumption.
Water Safety in Addition to Skills
Though important, swimming skills alone aren't always enough to save a life. Many drowning incidents involve other factors that swimming skills alone cannot prepare an individual for. Learning water safety-such as how to prepare for an emergency, and what to do if one should occur-is key to preventing an emergency in or on the water. It's swimming skills combined with safety knowledge and skills that saves lives.
The Red Cross Swim program teaches both swimming skills and water safety. The infant and preschool program, Red Cross Swim Preschool, teaches caregivers strategies on how to effectively supervise children around water and teaches preschoolers not to go near the water without an adult.
The absence of adult supervision is a factor in most child drownings.
Whether it's a pool, the bathtub, a water park, or the beach, always watch children actively around water-even if they can swim.
Consider requiring all non-swimmers to wear a lifejacket to keep them at the surface to assist you while supervising.
Backyard pools are especially dangerous for small children. Ensure adequate barriers are in place such as four-sided fencing along with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
Empty portable toddler pools after each use.
When bathing infants or toddlers, an adult should remain with the child at all times- children should never be relied upon to supervise other children in the bath.
When a child is in the bathtub, never leave to answer the phone or for any other momentary distraction.
Diving headfirst into water should be avoided unless the individual is properly trained and is sure that the water is deep enough.
Avoid diving in home pools and always enter the water feet-first.
Never underestimate the power of current. Swimmers or waders can be swept away in an instant, particularly if non-swimmers or weak swimmers get caught by current in rivers or out of their depth in abrupt drop-offs.
Be cautious about swimming in currents, and know what to do if caught in a current.
Ideas for Father's Day
Check out the following sites for cards and craft ideas…
Do you have an idea for a program that you would like to see offered at the PEI MFRC? We would love to hear from you! Do you have a special skill or talent that you would like to share with others? We’d love to hear from you as well! Simply send us an email at email@example.com.
Summer Fun for Military Families
We're working on a few fun events for the summer, and once we have more details, we'll post them to our Facebook site and on our events calendar on our website. A few things we are looking to organize:
Movie night at the Brackley Drive-In
Confederation Centre Charlottetown Festival tickets for military families
Community festival parades (Cardigan = July 1; Montague - July 2; Tignish = July 3)
Stay tuned for more!
Charlottetown Festival Tickets Available for Military Families
Thanks to the huge generosity of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, we have 10 vouchers (each voucher = 2 tickets) available for military families to see one of the shows playing at the Charlottetown Festival this summer!
To allow all military families the chance to see a show, we'll do a draw the end of June for all who have expressed interest.
To get your name on the list, give us a call (902.892.8999) or email Donna (Donna.Earl@forces.gc.ca).
Once again, we send a huge thank you to the Confederation Centre for this wonderful token!
Mamma Mia! hits The Charlottetown Festival
The Confederation Centre is a huge supporter of military families in PEI, and we want to draw attention to one of the shows currently playing on the mainstage.
In 2016, The Charlottetown Festival is throwing a party complete with dance music and glittery costumes. Over 60 million people have fallen in love with the characters, story, and undeniably catchy music that make Mamma Mia! the ultimate feel-good musical.
This sunny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise where, on the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to find her father brings three men from her mother's past back to the island. The magic of everlasting ABBA hits such as 'Dancing Queen' and 'Take a Chance on Me' propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter, and friendship into a trip down the aisle you'll never forget.