Swimability Ottawa a great cause

Support a Cause this New Year

Day Two 2017 - Support a Cause

The dawn of a new year. We give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. There is a multitude of opportunity to support causes in our society. On this second day of the new year, we are stepping up to support a cause in our nation's capital. There is no shortage of cause, charity or not for profit to choose from in Canada. In fact, there are over 170,000 charities and not for profit organizations in this country. This suggests that every Canadian could likely find "a cause" that aligns with their values or interests.

I have had the honour and pleasure of being engaged with many different causes over the years. In my role at Molson Coors, I had chaired the Molson Coors Donations Fund. I was exposed to tens of thousands of charities that had benefited from over two centuries of giving, led by the oldest brewer in the Americas.

My interests have taken me to involvement with Variety Village, Raising the Roof, several Food Banks, Queen's University, Coney Island Music Festival, United Way, Bladder Cancer Canada and Swimability (formerly Making Waves). I have also had the honour and pleasure of serving on several not for profit boards. It is of great satisfaction for me to see the difference that we can make in our community. That difference comes from our decision to take action as individuals. We can truly make a difference, by choosing to support a cause.

This Year's Cause

This year, the Devins Network will continue to call upon members of our greater community to get involved and support a cause. Through your actions, we can truly make a difference for those in need. Whether through financial support, or volunteerism, we can make a meaningful impact.

I am delighted to announce that the Devins Network is renewing our support of Swimability Ottawa . The team of student volunteers truly make a difference in the lives of ability challenged youth in Ottawa. My daughter Helena was personally involved as an instructor, while she was attending the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College. Given that Helena is no longer a student, her duties as an active volunteer have come to an end. The Devins Network is proud to continue our association and support of Swimability Ottawa. We are proud of the difference that they make in the lives of youth and their families in Ottawa. Keep up the great work!

The Mission of Swimability is clear

SwimAbility Ottawa is a not-for-profit student initiative founded as a registered chapter of SwimAbility Canada in 2009. Our mission is to provide affordable and accessible one-on-one swimming instruction to children with disabilities. For more information about our parent organization, as well as about the history of the SwimAbility movement, please visit www.SwimAbility.org.

Wishing you well in 2017

We thank the many student volunteers that help to make Swimability a success in the Ottawa community. We are proud to support their efforts in 2017. We are hopeful that you will join us and support a cause this new year in your community.

Have a great 2017. Working together to support a cause, we can make it even better.

FERG DEVINS @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Obstacle Course Racing World Championships - Make A Wish Canada

The team at 365 Sports are continuing to build support for our community as they partner with Make A Wish Canada and the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in October. Hats off to everyone for helping to make a difference for the lives of youth in Canada. Well done!

365Sports and OCRWC Make a Wish

365 Sports, Inc. and Adventurey, LLC., organizers of the 2016 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC), the premier independent championships serving the burgeoning sport of Obstacle Course Racing, have announced a new partnership with Make-A-Wish® Canada in support of their efforts to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. “There is no better fit for our organisation than Make-A-Wish,” said OCRWC Founder & CEO Adrian Bijanada. “For me and many others on the OCRWC team, this partnership is a dream come true, both professionally and personally.” As part of the partnership, OCRWC organisers and partners 365 Sports, Inc. will introduce and Open Division on Sunday of World Championship weekend, for which Make-A-Wish® will serve as a beneficiary. Additionally, 365 Sports and OCRWC will also be working with Crowdrise to drive interest, awareness and fundraising efforts on behalf of the wish-granting organisation.

How it Will Happen

“During the open run day on Sunday, October 16, a portion of each registration will be donated directly to Make-A-Wish,” said Tony Smith CEO of 365 Sports Inc. “As participants take to the obstacle course, they will be proud to know that they are making a difference for countless youth who face their unique challenges. With our participants’ generous support, our goal is to raise $25,000.00.”

More about OCRWC

The Obstacle Course Race World Championships is a single event created to unify, promote and increase participation in the sport of OCR, while celebrating its amazing athletes and community. This year’s competition, held October 14-16, will draw more than 2,000 athletes from over 30 countries to Blue Mountain Resort located outside Collingwood, Ontario.

This is the first time that the world championships have been held in Canada. With the splendour of fall colours in the Blue Mountains, the team at 365Sports are certain to be pleasing the world as they compete at this event.

@365Sports @OCRChampionship  @ BlueMountainResort @MakeAWishCA @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Disclosure - 365Sports is a client of Devins Network Inc. I am proud of the work that they do in our greater community and their model for getting Canadians coast to coast to coast more active. FD

Tis the Season

Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la...

At this time of year it is always inspiring to hear of the many works of goodwill and giving that go on in our community. The Salvation Army "bell ringers" raising funds in malls and on street corners. The Food Bank drives to help bring a meal to a table top for those under privileged. The countless efforts of "hamper drives" to pull together a Christmas hamper for a family in need. Galas and Socials of the season, with an intent of making a charitable or not for profit gift to the needy.  It tis the season for sure. A season of thanksgiving, a season of joy, a season of family gathering, friends re-connecting, neighbours carolling or getting together.

Beyond the christian meaning of the holidays and Christmas is a broader meaning and spirit of peace and joy. It is a time to celebrate all that we have, and to spread a bit of what we have to those who are in need. It's that time of year, on a cold winter's night, where I like to remind people of that extra change in their pocket perhaps making a real difference for that person on the street with their hand out. Tis the season of giving. Tis the season of sharing. Tis the season of being thankful for all that we have in our communities, but being mindful of lending a helping hand or gift to those that might still have a need. Tis the season to re-charge, refresh, re-energize for the year that lays ahead.

If you might be looking for a way to help someone in their time of need I've included a few links to help you reach out and make a difference. Thanks for all that you do for your community. Tis the season to extend goodwill to our fellow citizens. Tis the season ! @FergDevins  @DevinsNetwork

A few thoughts of agencies who can assist with your giving:

Daily Bread Food Bank

Second Harvest

Ho Ho T.O.

Waterloo House of Friendship

Convenant House - Volunteer

Salvation Army

Food Banks Canada

Holiday Helpers

Hope for Children

Sponsor a Family

Red Door Shelter

Feel free to comment and add your favourite not for profit in our community. Tis the season !










we are our community

Have you ever thought about what your community is ? My provocation is that, "we are our community". We can sit back in our armchairs (vs. summer lawn chairs) and throw snowballs at "them", those folks, the entities, leaders or thought leaders that just aren't living up to our expectations. Or,  we can embrace the opportunity of affirming and taking action on the premise and platform that "we are our community".

I suggest that this thought is grounded in my small town upbringing. Some might find that smaller communities drive them to seeking greater privacy. That's fine and that is respected.  For this guy,  it was an open and whole community experience. I chose to be involved and to be active, as did so many of my friends. I am blessed to have had that upbringing.

Whether it was politics (because you intimately knew your Member of Parliament, Member of Provincial Parliament, the Mayor and several councillors, and school board leaders),

Education - (there were just two high schools in town and you either knew your peers in school or the rivals across town),

the Business Community (they were truly the thought leaders in business and the shopping environment and local economy and were truly the engine of "Main Street"),

Neighbours, (in small towns you actually knew everyone on your street and many folks in other pockets of town),

Family, (given that you would know people through your family, others would know you back through their families)

Social Events, (this is what brought people together socially at various points throughout the year),

Church, (given that for me, in the 60's,  that was just part of what it was like growing up, off to church school, youth groups, cubs, scouts, music festivals, Christmas concerts, Christmas eve ceremony),

Sports,(depending on the sport, the team, the competition in the community and across the region, whether an organized team or slo-pitch tournies on weekends),

Charity, based on interests or challenges in the community or even - in my case - the Terry Fox marathon that rallied our community in anticipation of Terry's arrival (unfortunately he ended his marathon 5 hours to the east of Kenora in Thunder Bay...but a long lasting world class inspiration, to this day, none the less!)

As I look back on the small town upbringing, in some ways I have "clicked and dragged" all of that forward; to embrace the reality that we are our community. In a larger centre, such as Toronto, we really are living in a collection of small communities. Our neighbourhoods and social aspects of our community mirror that of a smaller centres - just amidst a larger entity.

We are our community, by just making a decision to get involved. We are our community, by deciding to be active on issues, in political action, in decisions in our community small - medium or large. We are our community, by deciding what charity or not for profit has "meaning" for each of us...offering an opportunity to reach out and make a difference - by volunteering time or making a donation.

We are our community, by truly embracing that stepping forward is how we can impact our community, rather than sitting back and "hoping" that someone else will make that difference for us. Isn't "hoping" such an action lacking verb ? It reminds me of "try"...smiles. Thanks to Robert at Legacy Transformational Consulting many years ago for distinguishing for me "try from do".

So, given that we are our community, how might you decide to take action ? Some thoughts would be to join a political party, get involved with a local councillor's advisory group, attend a community meeting, assist with the school Christmas or Holiday seasonal fair, ask a senior if they need a "ride"...and don't accept when they say "no we're ok" that it is there final response...smiles, volunteer to make a few calls for your local charity, volunteer for your kids' sports team, ask your friends if they need help in any way at all, pledge to someone who is already involved in a cause, put the "bag" out for that cause that calls for used clothing or household items, put some loose change in the hand of a homeless person reaching out for comfort on a cold winter's day, speak up - step up - make a difference.

We are our community and one way to make a difference is by getting involved and taking action, in whatever small or large way you see fit. What might seem trivial to you/us...could make a world of difference to someone else in their time of need.

I'd love to hear how you're involved, and whether this has just given you that little nudge to help convince and engage you in believing that we are our community. Cheers !

@FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Fundraising for Bladder Cancer BeCause...

...in early 2014 I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. I am very fortunate that I caught it very early. Two tumours were removed in March, classified as "non invasive" yet "high grade cancer". 6 "BCG" treatments completed in the spring, maintenance treatments to follow in August and hopefully i've got this thing in check and ready to beat cancer...like so many others have. But the wake up call has certainly prompted me to think about causes. BeCause of this personal situation that I'm facing I can pour my energy and efforts into helping to make a difference in raising awareness about Bladder Cancer, so that others might benefit from early detection or from science that can help fight this disease.

I'm also choosing to be open about my journey. I respect that many may wish to keep silent, keep it personal, not share. My purpose is to be open, share and be on a journey of raising awareness to help others who may be facing a similar challenge, and to lead fund raising and research to help battle this particular cancer.

With love and support from family and friends, and a world class team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences in Toronto I feel confident looking forward on this new "path", but I want to also help to make a difference for others who face similar battles, or for those who are still not even aware of this cancer. I must say that I was not aware of Bladder Cancer and how rampant it is, until it become a personal battle for me.

To help this cause I have started a Bladder Cancer Awareness Walk in Kenora to coincide with the National Bladder Cancer Awareness walk weekend in Canada. I have been overwhelmed by the generous support of so many thus far. I had set an initial target of $5000. Overnight we landed more than $8000 in pledges. Thus...I have continued to "raise the bar" on the target goal for my fundraising and for the event.

Bladder Cancer is the fifth most prevalent cancer in Canada, but funding is not at par. We need to continue to raise awareness to get the research and remedies to fight this cancer. I am hoping that in reading this post you might also join us by participating in supporting me or others in the Kenora community on our walk on September 21st, or check out the national site and see where you might be able to walk or donate closer to your own community.

Or...perhaps this post is simply stimulus for you to think of where you might take the challenge to help make a difference in your community, for a cause that is near and dear to your heart, or loved one or friend...just BeCause.  Thanks and Cheers !  @FergDevins