“Hope Through Hockey” Returns from Weagamow

“Hope through Hockey” team returns from Weagamow!

The 10-person team arrived home safely from Weagamow via Thunder Bay on Sunday, excited about what transpired during their unique week spent in -50 degree weather! The objective of the mission, involving a number of USS Tigers hockey
players, was to bring hope to this remote First Nations community that has suffered deeply from poverty, addiction and suicide.

Weagamow, Oji-Cree for Round Lake (also known as North Caribou Lake First Nation), has about 750 residents (and 900 total in their band) and is part of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation comprising some 45 communities. Their treaty area makes up about 1/3 of the province of Ontario. With a newly built arena the team took equipment generously donated by the Uxbridge community to outfit some 45 aspiring hockey players, with the idea of hosting daily hockey clinics ending with a community tournament


The team worked extremely well together, including:

• Tim Bierema, playing for the Uxbridge Bruins
• Adam Cranley, University of Waterloo
• Ryan Lavrench, Guelph University, playing for Fergus Devils
• Josh Lubbock, Dalhousie University
• Ryan Noakes, Laurentian University
• Tavis Smith, Western University
• Jeff Wilson, USS playing for Clarington Toros and Uxbridge Tigers
• Mary Lue Mahaffey, from Hamilton and former sports director, Alberta Aboriginal community
• Jennifer Wilson, who has been in Weagamow before
• Coach Simmonds, USS Tigers


Some amazing things happened over the course of the week.

The team helped open their brand new arena, a modern facility that had not been publicly used until we arrived. The ice was natural and there was no zamboni, meaning that it had to be flooded and scraped by hand.

We planned for 45 children but over 120 young people registered. As a result we added a clinic for first time skaters (given that we had taken some 80 pairs of skates, and some had their own). The schedule each day was:

• 12:30 Learn to skate (with 65)
• 2:30 Learn to play (with 40)
• 4:00 Advanced Hockey skills (with 15)

Many children who had never skated were, in just a few short hours, skating on their own. The week culminated in a 6 game tournament with the kids who we surprised with new team sweaters (that we left at the arena) and new socks. Our team members were the coaches and we had a wonderful time with families watching their children play hockey for the very first time. 50 children participated and we held an awards ceremony, with their Chief in attendance. Each participant received a medal, a team photo and a hockey bible, and 8 players were chosen for most sportsmanlike
and most improved trophies. Chief Jowan was presented with a signed USS Tigers jersey.


With over 120 kids skating, and on average 2 caregivers coming to the arena at some point during the week, we were able to engage some 350 people or half the community! It was a great success.

We had taken a skate sharpener for the arena (which they did not have) and Jeff Wilson trained 3 men to operate this new capability. Prior to that skates had to be taken out of the community to Sioux Lookout or Thunder Bay for sharpening.

3-7We were wonderfully accepted, given full access to the arena, and the Band Council facilities. We also had the opportunity to meet a 114 year old native lady who lives out in the woods. Our team was very moved by this…we gave her a shawl as a gift, but she was even more impressed with the Uxbridge Tigers puck! We are all thinking of eating beaver and muskrat meat too, since this has been her diet her whole life!

On Monday we heard of the loss of one of the young men in our own Uxbridge community in a traffic accident (a friend to several of our team members) even while Weagamow lost a member who was in another community at the time, but had been drinking and was found frozen to death.

We also learned some other interesting things about this community:

• With some 38 untimely deaths over the last few years, some 300 members had turned to prescription drugs (alcohol in Weagamow is illegal)
• 140 have enrolled in a new rehabilitation program started 18 months ago
• Normally, 70% in such programs relapse, they have only experienced 3.5%! They attribute this to the fact that they use no program, other than studying the bible to assist in this recovery
• Several years ago one of their goalies committed suicide. Mr. and Mrs. French had packed Dylan’s goalie pads in bag #29. We offered them for use by a young person who would not be able to afford their own equipment.

3-8The freezing temperatures did not affect the warm response, and in a community dinner Friday night we were invited back by Chief Jowan. One of their coaches said “tomorrow is not goodbye, its we’ll see you again.” We should be deeply proud of our young men of Uxbridge, seeing them sacrifice their time and use their hockey talent; seeing them lead such and ambitious program, and tenderly helping the eager young people with such care and concern.

We will now decide if we make this an annual event, and we may try and obtain more equipment to send in a shipment for those who we were not able to outfit.

All of you were part of this too and we are grateful to everyone who made “Hope for Hockey” such a success. In closing, this letter from Tiannah, to her coach, Ryan Lavrench, says it best….

3-9We are still in need of some funding for air transport costs, so if you haven’t participated and would like to help you can make a cheque payable to Uxbridge Baptist Church and place it in an envelope marked “Hope Through Hockey”(donations over $25 will be receipted for tax purposes):

Uxbridge Baptist Church “Hope Through Hockey” 231 Brock St. W, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1N1

Have a question? Call Courtney, Tigers manager at 905-852-2333

Don Simmonds – “Deeply Rooted” Speech for Kids Fest Sunday

Deeply rooted
Kids Fest Sunday: October 2, 2016
Don Simmonds, Speaker

Thanks very much for including me in Kids fest everyone.
Did you have a good time?

Kids, If I said you could go crazy doing this, would you like to thank your mentors and leaders this morning for giving you a great time at Kidsfest?

Update on Fay–

We live just outside of Uxbridge and have some very interesting trees in our forest. We call our trails “April’s trails”, because when she was just 4 years old we asked April to point to where she thought the trails should go. Then Craig and Brett and I used our chainsaws to cut through the forest. When we are walking on the trails we always stop at two trees that must have grown up together since their trunks are now joined. The interesting thing is they are two different types of trees. One is a beech tree and one is a maple. A bit further along, there is this perfectly straight pine tree, about 18” across, but at the bottom it has grown out of the ground so crooked that it has made a seat. We call it the picture tree since we almost always take a picture of any guests that are walking with us along the trails.

One day we were enjoying a walk when we realized that a very large, very beautiful, and what we thought was a very healthy Oak tree had come crashing down across the trail.

1 We ended up having Mr. Bacon come with his sawmill to cut it into lumber. We were amazed with what we saw. This big beautiful tree that had fallen actually had very shallow roots. It fooled us. Here we thought this was such a sturdy tree, but a lot of rain in the spring made the weight of this tree too much for its shallow roots. A strong storm came, and down it went.

Regrdless of your season in life, Here is what I would like you to take away from my time with you this morning. 2

Your life will depend on where you put your roots and how deep they go down.

Repeat….Let’s pray for a minute…..

Kids, what did you think of Mrs. Ott? Isn’t she something else? I’d like just the kids to read again the verse Mrs Ott taught you Friday night and Saturday morning. Here it is:3

12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.2

Now I’d like to point us thing morning to the passage of scripture in which this verse is embedded and all read it together. It comes from 1 Timothy 4: verses 8-16. I have used a combination of versions just to make it a bit easier to understand. Let’s all read it together…4

1 Timothy 4: 8-12; 15,16 Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but “a disciplined life in God”, or “Godliness”, is far more valuable, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. We’ve put our hope in the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers. Get the word out. Teach all these things. Don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Set an example with your life: by words, by actions, by love, bymfaith, by purity. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. Do not neglect your gift…. People will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.

These words were written by a mentor. It seems you appreciated your mentors this weekend and to Timothy, a young man who, more than anything wanted his life to be used by God….Paul was his mentor.

When the bible was written, there were no Apple stores, so he could not email or text. So Paul used letters to write his helpful thoughts to Timothy. And the great thing is that the Bible captures Paul’s words so they can be helpful in mentoring all of us this morning.

What he is really saying to us all, is this:

Your strength will depend on where you put your roots and how deep they go down.

And unlike a tree, as a person you have the ability to choose where you are going to put your roots. So, the first point Paul makes is this—among all the things a person could choose in their life, the most important priority is to pursue is a disciplined life in God or Godliness. Where we put most of our energy and where we put most of our time will be the place we put our roots down. And the wisest choice is to love God with all of our heart and follow closely the things he wants us to do.

Paul compares this to an athlete who works out in the gym diligently because they want to be the best they can be.

Some of you know that along with Mr. Evans, I coach our high school hockey team, the Uxbridge Tigers. (By the way, if you are interested in Hope through Hockey this year, our mission to help the kids in Weagamow, please let me know. You don’t have to be a Tiger to go).

As a hockey coach, you can be sure that I want my players to work out in the gymnasium. They need to be strong and skilled these days. In fact, it is not hard to see 3 who really wants to win. Right in our tryouts (which will be coming up soon) I ask Mr. Evans to lead 10 minutes of wind sprints (the kids call them “suicides”) right at the end
of a hard practice. It involves stopping and starting at each line, but in a race, so I can measure the fastest skaters. But doing it at the end of the practice and for a full 10 minutes, can even make some of the players sick to their stomachs and it is not long before we see who has been working out over the summer and who has most diligently prepared for a winning season of hockey.

Paul is saying, we should put even more diligent preparation into life by living a disciplined life in God—or pursuing Godliness.

It will be our 14 season with the Tigers, and our team motto is this: To win at hockey and win in life. And we know that winning in life takes something different than just being physically strong and skilled on the ice. This is why we focus our team each year on 14 character traits that will guide them for a lifetime rather than just a season.5 things like honesty, respect, hard work, optimism, self-discipline and responsibility. Early in the season we assign each one of these traits to a player whose job it is to make sure that our team exhibits that trait…..

One day after an away game, our team had boarded the bus on the way back to our school. I was just climbing on when the zamboni driver at the arena came running after me. Not sure if you’ve ever had a zamboni driver come running after you, but you automatically figure you or one of the players has done something very wrong. He was puffing as he said, coach, your team left the dressing room the cleanest I’ve ever seen after a game. I thought you should know. I thanked him and got on the bus.

The trait of respect. They’d got it. I was proud of my players and told them so. One year our team took a trip to Lake Placid, New York to play in the American Cup, a well known High School Tournament. Being from Uxbridge, a small town of 10,000 we were clearly outmatched, and had to admit to ourselves that we were the undisputed underdogs.

On the bus ride we watched the movie, Miracle, about the United States men’s hockey team, led by head coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), who won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. our games would be played in that same Olympic complex; some of the contests on the very same ice surface, now called The Herb Brooks Arena, in which that “miracle” had taken place. Perhaps we needed a miracle ourselves!

But, for this group of young men, I suspect what was about to happen, would be one of their best hockey memories ever. We were playing teams stronger than we were, but every game was close. We won two and tied one of our first three division games, scoring only two goals in each game. In a points tournament, often a goal differential is used to settle division standings. That tied game, meant we had to battle for first place and the right to go on to the finals.

It was Saturday night, our fourth and final division game, and the tournament was painfully close. We had to win or we’d go home. To make matters worse, we would have to win by a margin of three goals…winning by even two goals would send us home.

We played hard for 42 minutes only to be at a score of 0-0. We had just three minutes left in this seesaw battle. There I was, pacing up and down the bench, with the concern on my face growing more and more obvioius…when I heard Kyle Arbour, #13, say, “Hey Coach, remember the trait of optimism!”

Having played 42 minutes with no goals scored, and knowing we had to score three while holding them to zero, I chuckled as Kyle applied his appointed character trait – the very way I’d asked him to!

And then, with just two minutes to go, big Pete (Luinstra), #7, sniped a rising shot that picked the upper right hand corner of the net. (Pete is here this morning)… It was 1–0. But remember, just winning, would not do the job. There were 50 seconds left, and the face-off was in our opponent’s end. Our strategy coach, Mr. Neil Evans, set up the plan with our Captain, Tavis Smith, #11 (who usually played defense) taking the face off, with big Pete coming through the circle. The play worked perfectly, and Pete picked up the languishing puck and sniped that rising shot in the other top corner. 2-0!

With the other team coming back hard, the puck drifted into our end. Even before it happened, everyone knew what was on our goalie Dylan’s mind; we could tell he was going to skate out and play the puck – one of his specialties. I
wish I could say he passed it up and we scored the final goal … but I can’t. Dyl actually mishandled the puck right at that crucial moment; the other team’s player picked it up and shot at our open net!

In a classic Dylan moment, we all watched as he dove back with a full stick extension and stopped that (otherwise) certain goal. But he didn’t stop there; he played the puck again, this time successfully up to our center and top goal scorer, Mike Ramsey, #27, who, with just 24 seconds left, made one of his famous moves on their goalie and roofed the backhand game winner – putting us into the final playoff round!

All the character traits of a Tiger converged in that three minutes of hockey – three minutes and a tournament win none of us will ever forget. Our boys went out and dominated the highest rated team in the gold medal game with a 2-0
conclusive win. Uxbridge Tigers hockey lore says the win that day made their coach cry real tears. (But, of course, what happens in a hockey dressing room 5 stays in a hockey dressing room!)

Does everyone understand the point of this story. We were less skilled, and won. But we won because of the character of our players. It made them more optimistic. It made them better teammates. It made them self-disciplined. It made them work hard. And this character as a foundation for their hockey skills made them successful.

And that is what Paul was saying to Timothy. Being gifted and knowing your talents is great, but what is it that will allow you stay on track and strong throughout a whole lifetime? What is it that will allow you to withstand disappointments or trouble? What is it that will allow you to find your purpose? What is it that will have other people respect you so much, even when you are young, that they will want to know what makes you tick?

It will be your commitment to the deep roots of Godliness.

! But is something so important an easy thing to do?
! How may of you feel its easy to stand up for God’s ways at school?
! How many of you get to school or in the dressing room and are willing to stand up and shout: “I am a follower of Jesus and believe that God’s ways are best!”
I want to make sure you know that as you grow older, you may not get much encouragement to make following God’s ways your most important priority. In fact, you will have all sorts of people at school or at work or even in your family, trying to get you to forget it. They will say things like, oh God isn’t really there. Or, these are just rules to steal your fun.

Let me try and explain why it is so important to make God’s ways your top priority.

Whenever we follow God’s ways, we are brought under two umbrellas. The first is God’s Provision. The second is God’s Protection. Can you say that…..God’s Provision…..God’s Protection. Conversely, if we decide to go our own way, we move out from under these two umbrellas God has set up for us.

The best way to think about this is to imagine a mother bird looking after her young. What does she do? She fans her feathers out over babies to keep them warm and protected. Furthermore, she and the father bird take turns getting food and flying back and forth in order to provide for them. As long as they stay where they are supposed to
and do what their parents ask them to do, they receive – provision and protection.

But imagine that these baby birds are using their i-phones and go on facebook only to find that in the opinion of many other baby birds—staying in a nest isn’t all that fun or necessary. Parents are always just trying to set rules. So they jump out. Immediately, they are outside of the very place God created for their provision and protection. They will fall to their death if they can’t fly yet. Or if they don’t die falling, then they will for
become a wonderful meal for all kinds of animals who would love baby bird for lunch.

And that’s how it is for us. When we live by God’s ways, pursuing Godliness as Paul describes it, God is able to provide for us and protect us. But, if we go our own way, that provision and protection are gone. And this is one of the most important lessons any person can learn.

Let’s use some examples.

Take the trait of honesty for example. First of all, do you think Mr. Evans and I invented the trait of honesty? Do you think the principle of USS did? Was it your parents that were the first ones in history to think that being honest is a really good thing?

No! This trait started with our Creator God Himself. Honesty arises from the fact that God is truth. The very person and character of God is true and accurate and therefore He cannot tell a lie. You can trust Him with your life.

So when we tell the truth, one of the great provisions is the trust that others have in us. When we say something we are believed. But if we lie, we lose the protection of trust, the most critical ingredient in any relationship. If we aren’t trusted any more, we ruin one of God’s great provisions for us, trustworthy relationships. Friends you can trust are one of life’s most fulfilling and beneficial gifts. But, once word goes around that you don’t keep your promise, who will want to rely on you as their best friend. There are a lot of lonely people who have fallen out of the nest of trust, because they were not honest. What are some of the other provisions and protections that come from being honest?

! Honesty protects us from: guilt, shame, cycle of deceit (lies to cover up lies).
! Honesty provides for: a clear concience, trustworthiness, reputation for integrity

The bible is the place we find out the ways God wants us to follow so that we have his provision and protection. 8One of the most well known lists is the 10 commandments found in Exodus 20. Here they are in modern language. Sure enough, there it is….#9…..Do not tell a lie.

1. Do not worship any other god than the one true God.
2. Do not make idols or images in the form of God. An idol can be anything or anyone you give more importance than God.
3. Do not misuse God’s name or treat it with disrespect.
4. Dedicate a regular day each week for rest and worship of the Lord.
5. Give honor to your father and mother by treating them with respect and obedience.
6. Do not deliberately kill a fellow human being. Don’t hate people or hurt them with words and actions.
7. Do not have sexual relations with anyone other than your spouse. God forbids sex outside of a marriage relationship.
8. Do not steal or take anything that doesn’t belong to you, unless you have been given permission by the owner to do so.
9. Do not tell a lie about someone or bring a false accusation against another person. Always tell the truth.
10. Do not desire anything or anyone that does not belong to you.

What about respect? It is clear that God wants us to respect those in authority over us. Take policemen for example. They are not there to spoil our fun, but provide for our safety and protect us from those that may want to harm us.

Respecting your teachers or coaches has the benefit of opening yourself up to learning and being protected from our own tendancey to not give something everything we’ve got. They push us for our own future benefit.

And what about commandment # 5. Respecting and obeying our parents. You will find these days that lots of other kids will encourage you to make fun of your parents and their rules, but your parents and their guidance to you, is one of the most important umbrellas of protection and provision you will ever have.

And of course there is sexual purity…..#7. From the beginning of time Satan has tried to mess people up with this. Almost everyone you talk with in our world now will tell you it is fine to have sex just because it is fun. They will say there isn’t any harm to be done.

But life after life is ruined, and so many families have been destroyed because of this lie. God set up marriage for a lifetime between on man and woman and sex is to be saved for those two people alone. If you choose any other path with your sexual decisions, you will come out of God’s umbrella of protection and his intentions for your happiness and fulfillment.

What about this trait of Self-Discipline?

God asks that we always stay in control of our own mind. This isn’t just a nice idea, it arises from the fact that God very nature is one who is always in control. He never sleeps. He never loses it. He doesn’t have any need for another substance to mask his feelings or to stay alert.

A coach loves a self-disciplined athlete. A boss would fire an employee that came unglued. A parent really appreciates a self-controlled son or daughter. A young person appreciates a dad or mom that is always in control of themselves.

! Self-discipline protects us from: Excesses, revenge, doubting oneself

! Self-discipline provides for: optimism, enjoyment, healthy lifestyle, self-esteem And if you don’t have to be a certain age to be Godly and wise. In fact the youngest of you here can lead the world by your example…in fact I pray that you would lead the world by your example of how diligent you are in following the ways of God.

“Don’t let anyone put you down because you are young, but set an example in your

speech, in your actions, in love, in faith and in purity.”

And I have seen thousands of young people lead effectively at a very, very young age, out of a confidence and character that arises from an authentic relationship with God Himself —and a diligent commitment to His ways.

And I know I speak for all of your mentors and leaders that have organized kidsfest. While your mentors have been here to help you focus on your God given interests and skills, they would want you to know that even more important is your pursuit of Godliness. To put your roots down in a relationship with the God of the Universe, your creator, your friend, the only person who will never, ever leave your or let you down.

And with your roots firmly there, now pursue your gifts, whether they be in dancing, woodworking, stock trading, hairstyling, or hockey.

This morning I want to ask you about your roots. Not how big and strong you are. Not how intelligent and smart you are. Not even how much you may be the life of the party with your friends. But instead how deeply rooted are you in your relationship with God and following the things He wants you to do?

Have a look at the logo for our weekend. It shows the tree through various seasons and I want you to remember this kidsfest weekend and this logo. It signifies that if you are deeply rooted in God, if you love Him with your whole heart and if you follow His ways with all of your strength, your life will be strong and meaningful and happy. Throughout all of your days, you will stand strong through the tests and circumstances that life will bring you.

I pray that you will remain deeply rooted in Him for all of the seasons of your life!

Daughter April Simmonds Represents Canada North American Young Riders

Uxbridge native April Simmonds to represent Canada North American Young Riders, Colorado July 26-31, 2016

For Immediate Release
Uxbridge, Ontario, July 8, 2016: 18 year old April Simmonds, an Equestrian athlete in the discipline of 3 Day Eventing, has been selected with her mount “Impressively Done” to represent Canada at the North American Young Riders International 2-star level competition. The event takes place at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado from July 26 – 31, 2016.

4-1The North American Young Riders Championship is a prestigious event for youth ages 16 – 21. It is held annually and
teams of four riders represent their area or country. This will be April’s fourth time representing Canada at Young Riders where she has previously brought home two bronze medals!

After graduating from Uxbridge Secondary School, April left in October 2015 for the winter in Ocala, Florida. She deferred her university entrance for a year to train intensively with the goal of being selected for the RIO Olympics in August.

At age 18 she was the youngest in the field of some 15 Canadian FEI 3 star riders. The Olympics operate at the 3*** level and in equestrian sports national teams have no age or gender differentiation.

4-2The Canadian selectors identified four North American competitions at this level that would be used as selection events located in North Carolina, New Jersey and Quebec.

The time spent training in Florida proved successful as Simmonds used the winter show circuit to experience competition at the Olympic level. The 4 selection events included many high profile riders from several Continents, but most importantly the Canadian pairs declared for selection for RIO. With her 13-year- old

4-3New Zealand Performance Horse named “Quebec”, she was the 2 nd placed Canadian at “The Carolinas” in North Carolina in March, and the 3 rd placed Canadian at Bromont, Quebec in June.
While April was not selected to the 4 person Olympic team (the team has still not been officially announced as the selection is under protest) she and “Quebec”, earned the respect of the Eventing community throughout North America. She is currently the 7 th ranked USEA young rider of the year in the United States where she is also credentialed.

Her contingency plan was to try out for the Canadian Young Riders CIC 2** team which was announced on July 7 th and includes:

• Emma Joan Green and Raniki
• Jamie Kellock and Don’t Blink (also from the Uxbridge area)
• April Simmonds and Impressively Done
• Emily Thompson and Paddington

Both previous medals were won with her partner Impressively Done (whose barn name is Preston), an 11-year-old American Thoroughbred. April explains, “ ‘Preston’ loves competing so he and I intend to come back with both Team and Individual medals—preferably gold ones!” The top level of competition at NAJYR is CCI 2* which is the same level as that of the Pan American games held in Toronto in July 2015.

Simmonds, who started riding at the age of 6 as a student of local Olympian Jessica Phoenix, will be heading to Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia in August. Liberty has an expanding Equestrian facility and program that is welcoming her and three of her horses back to school!

You can follow April at:

Facebook: Blyth Equestrian
Instragram: @blythequestrian
Website: http://www.blythequestrian.com

For further information contact:

The Sport of 3 Day Eventing

3 Day Eventing can be best explained as the triathlon of equestrian riding with 3 disciplines ridden by the same horse and rider. It is claimed to be the most dangerous sport within the Summer Olympic games.

Dressage: Is the test of obedience held on Day 1.

Cross Country: held on Day 2 displays the athletic ability and trust between horse and rider The horses gallop at speed over large fixed obstacles, ditches & banks, stone walls sometimes dropping into water. The horse does not see the course in advance.

Stadium Jumping: occurs on Day 3 in an arena and the horse & rider must jump traditional fences with poles. Knocking down a pole or exceeding the time limit results in penalty points. This is a test of the horse and rider’s accuracy especially with the fatigue factor after Cross Country.

Courtney Lawson
Blyth Equestrian
905-862- 4026

April Simmonds Named Alternate in Pan American Games

17 year-old April Simmonds Named Alternate to Pan Am Eventing Team Uxbridge “Quest for Gold” recipient readies 2 horses for Toronto and Kentucky

For Immediate Release

Uxbridge, Ontario, June 23, 2015: April Simmonds, an Equestrian athlete in the discipline of Eventing, and her mount “Quebec NZPH” have been selected as an alternate pair for the 4 person Eventing Team to compete for Canada in the Pan American Games to be held in Toronto (Caledon) July 16-19. As an alternate, she is one of several riders that could be suddenly called into service in the event of an injury to one of the horses or a rider being unable to compete for any reason in the days leading up to the event.

April is also the only Ontario rider qualified for the North American Young Riders International 2-star level competition to be held at the famous Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky the same week. As the bronze medal winner in 2014, the Canadian high performance committee has encouraged April to be prepared for Kentucky if she is not required for the Pan Am games. This means keeping both of her 2-star horses in top form until the last possible moment.

“Three years ago, I set a goal to try and be part of the Pan Am Team knowing how special it would be to compete when the games were right here where we live,” says Simmonds. “It would have been really cool to be on the same team as my coach Jessica Phoenix who is also from Uxbridge,” she continued. “I feel I gave my best in the process and now my focus is cheering our Canadian team on to the gold medal.”

Both Jessica Phoenix, the defending gold medal champion from the last Pan Am games, and Port Perry native Waylon Roberts, have been selected to the Canadian team.

In her 18 th year, April is the youngest rider that can be selected for the Pan Ams but she can still compete in the North American Young Rider competition until she is 21 years old. She has two qualified horses for both events that are almost equally matched. “Impressively Done” (whose barn name is Preston) is a 10-year- old thoroughbred gelding that she has owned for 4 years.

“Quebec” (barn name Rex) is a 12-year- old New Zealand Performance Horse gelding that April acquired last September.


Internationally ranked 8 th in Canada, April is a “Quest for Gold” recipient in the Ontario Athlete Assistance Program through the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport. The program contributed $5,000 for her training and competitions. In early June, April competed both horses at the Jaguar Land Rover Horse Trials at Bromont Horse Park in Quebec, a well known equestrian venue made famous during the 1976 Montreal Olympics. She and her “boys” as she likes to call them, finished 6 th and 8 th in a quality class of competitors from North and Central America.


For further information contact:
Courtney Lawson
Blyth Equestrian
905-862- 4026

About Three Day Eventing:

“Eventing” is the equine equivalent of the triathlon — which combines the disciplines of dressage, show jumping and cross-country. Eventing is perhaps the most dangerous sport in the Summer Olympics—where Eventing has claimed a spot since 1912. The Dressage phase begins every eventing competition. Originally designed to show the horse’s ability to perform intricate movements on the parade involved with reviewing troops, today the dressage test comprises a set series of movements performed in an enclosed arena. Precision, smoothness, suppleness and complete obedience show off the horse’s responsiveness. The Cross-Country test takes place on the second day of competition. The object of this test is to prove the partnership of the horse and rider, and the horse’s courage, speed, endurance, and
jumping ability over varied terrain, through water and over obstacles such as logs, stone walls or hedges.

This is gruelling as they gallop to complete the course in a required time. The third and final test takes place in the show jumping arena. A show jumping course comprises a series of coloured fences made up of rails that are easily knocked down. This final phase tests the stamina and recovery of the horse after the Cross Country phase and shows the precision and jumping ability of the partnership.

Donald Simmonds – Crandall University Chancellor’s Acceptance Speech

Crandall University, Moncton, NB
Chancellor’s acceptance speech
Sunday September 21st, 2014
Donald E. Simmonds

Why Crandall?

Good morning to all of you. Thank you so much for your warm welcome this morning, and of course, for this deep, and very humbling honour of being invited to be the Chancellor of Crandall University. Equal to the honour, is the great privilege of following in the footsteps of such respected contributors as Dr. Ralph Richardson and Mr. Jack Stultz, men that have had an immense impact on what Crandall is today and the solid foundation and reputation that has been laid for its future.

Thank you to you both for such incredible contributions.

We came to love the people of Atlantic Canada through our involvements in the Baptist family. Working with the late Dr. Richard Coffin I was National Youth coordinator for our 1150 Baptist churches from 1989-1994. But even before that I met Pastor Greg Pike (now in Cornerbrook), and Chetty McPhail… way back in 1982 ….when they were just kids! Greg was the President of your youth convention. It was first in 1989 that I heard Dannie Brown play the keyboard! The first time I came into the crowded administrative offices at ABC, the offices of Ralph Richardson, Seth Crowell, Bev Robart (Ching) and Ken Mcloed, encircled a number of small desks with names like Sandy Sutherland (Short) and others that have gone on to contribute so much to the fabric of your communities all across the Atlantic Provinces, Canada and indeed the world.

And I see Garth and Heather Williams from St, Stephens are here, and Trevor and Wanda Jones who live across the street from the University. While I take credit for introducing these two Ontario girls to the east, these men made sure they didn’t come back. And Gary and Debbie Evans are here too. Debbie is a daughter of Donna and the late Rev. Jerry Myers. Deb got her Ontario man to move to Moncton! It just so happens that Gary was the ring-bearer in our wedding, since as a teenager, I worked as the hired man on his family’s dairy farm.

I should also acknowledge my new friendship with Student Council President, Matt, and for his warm welcome at the dinner last night!

As you can tell, our lives have been intertwined here with the people of Crandall in some way or another, for the last 25 years. This makes this new involvement with you very special indeed.

Let me just take a moment to thank Fay also for her support in this appointment. Some of you know that she lives with the challenge of liver cirrhosis, and while we’ve always taken things on together, we are naturally being even more careful of what we engage in at this point.

Craig is our second oldest of 4 children. When he was in grade 12, he was doing a co-op at the local hospital. At the time he was thinking of a medical career and they placed him for 2 weeks in each of the departments as a means of him determining if it is something he wanted to pursue.

One winters evening he came home and said: “Hey Dad, I can tell a McMaster University doctor from any other school.” I thought this was quite a claim for a high school coop student, so somewhat skeptically, I asked, “how can you tell?”

He explained: “This week I’ve been helping in the emergency department. Tonight, Dr. Simpson had finished with an elderly patient who was ready to go home. But is was snowing, so he took his keys walked out to the parking lot and brought the man’s car right up to the emerge door for the man.”

And you know. Craig was right. If you know about McMaster’s fame in their medical program, they are re-knowned for producing doctors that care holistically about their patients, not simply producing experts in medical diagnosis and treatment.

Is it possible for a Crandall Alumni, wherever they are or whatever they are doing, to carry uniquely distinguishing marks?

Would you consider with me this morning as a text, 4 verses from Proverbs 9: 9-12:
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you…


Fay and I have led pretty active lives and still get interesting requests for contribution of our time and involvement. So when Dr. Fawcett spoke to me about the possibilities of becoming your new Chancellor we wanted to prayerfully consider if this is where God wanted us at this time. This led us to ask the all-important question: Why Crandall?

I’d like to share my conclusions to this probing question this morning in the form of three very distinct marks, marks that help form a unique imprint on a Crandall student.

The first mark is this.
Crandall has a proven legacy of believing in the potential of young people!

A legacy simply means “something that is handed down from the past.” And you only have to be here this weekend to see the impact this school and its predecessors have had on students from the late 50’s, but then, those students passing the torch down from generation to generation creating this very legacy.

God believes in young people. 1 Timothy 4: 12 says:
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

And I have seen thousands of young people lead effectively at a very, very young age, out of a confidence and character that arises from an authentic faith in God, —not a reliance of the artificially fabricated mini-gods they are exposed to–like wealth, athleticism, popularity, or if I might say even as your new Chancellor—the little g god of intellect or education. God suggests that effectiveness comes through the strength of one’s relationship with Him, rather than the credentials of age or achievement and these other things that we seem to credit so highly.

And in these days, we have presented our youth with a difficult cultural reality to operate in. I have spoken out strongly as the CEO of Crossroads and on 100 Huntley Street about the “perfect storm” we have handed our young people:

The storms of:

o diluted values
o failing faith foundations
o media dominance, and
o rapidly personalizing technology.

This situation came right home to us when Dylan, one of my goalies on our hockey team decided to take his own life early in the morning a few doors down from his home in our little town of Uxbridge, two years ago. He was caught in the midst of this perfect storm and felt he could not see a way out.

In fact, a fairly new Canadian study of our Christian youth is most concerning. It measures what happens to young people that commit their lives to Christ and come regularly to church through their teenage years. Only 1 in 4 of these young people will describe themselves as still committed to their faith in God once they hit their adult years.

The study is eerily called: “Hemorrhaging Faith”.

Another statistics puts it this way: “Of children raised in church from infancy, only 4% profess a faith in Jesus when they go to university (a 96% fail rate).

And we know that as many of our young people abandon their faith their moral compass also dissolves….and you may have a son or daughter, or grandchild that you are concerned about and don’t need any statistics to prove the perfect storm I am speaking about is very real.

It is a proven fact that this loss of faith and values is greatly amplified when exposed to the ideas and environment of typical university life. Often it is the death knell for many a student who is vulnerable when making some of life’s most important decisions in what is often a hostile, anti-Christian environment.

So, Crandall has a role at this particular point in history that has never been more strategic or more important in the lives of young people transitioning from youth to adulthood….as your motto states: “TRANSFORMING LIVES.”

As I said earlier, the invitation to be the Chancellor of Crandall University is a very great honour. But it is also a bit of a surprise!

o I’m an unlikely Chancellor in many ways.
o Don’t live in Atlantic Canada
o Not an alumni
o And, I do not have a university degree. I made sure the decion-makers knew this of course.

And for the record, its not because I failed a degree, very simply I chose to enter the business world directly after completing high school and working for a year on the Evans progressive dairy farm.

In my first two years in the electronics business I drove to work every day with my father where I received my “masters in business education”…mentored by my him in the realities of actually running a growing business in the midst of 22% interest rates and rapid technology change. So, most of my education has come as a practitioner, learning by doing, careful observation and working hard.

But lest, you think I know nothing about post secondary school education, I’ve hired or been responsible for some 5,000 staff with degrees and post secondary school education! And I’ve established and defined roles that require a university education! And I certainly have experienced, first hand the implications of various post secondary institutions that have granted degrees! So I do have some very strong opinions on what Crandall must be and do to produce a fully developed contributor to our society today.

I first visited Dr. Robert Knowles at Atlantic Baptist College….I have to admit, we called him Bobby then. He was President of the Atlantic Baptist Youth Convention and said, Don, anytime your feet are on Atlantic Canada soil, I’m here for you. And he was. He introduced me to virtually every youth leader he knew and I always stayed at Rev. and Mrs. Knowles place when I was here in Moncton.

Then I met Dr. Bruce Fawcett. He was a young youth pastor at Lewisville. On a youth leadership retreat at camp Wildwood where I was speaking, he quizzed me on youth strategy, the needs of our youth, Baptist vision for youth ministry and how Baptists were governed. And we talked until almost 5 am and I realized I had been in the company of someone who was very, very serious about God’s call on his life to bring help young people.

Bruce led your Baptist youth movement here and I can say that on a per capita basis it was the finest denominational youth movement anywhere in North America. So, your legacy of belief in the potential of young people continues. It is alive and well right at the top of the organization.

This is a compelling reason for us to join you.

But there’s a second reason. Crandall, has created a centre of excellence.

As you know, I come from the business world…and gone are the days when something is seen as credible just because it is Christian. What really counts now, are organizations that deliver excellence. But I like to think that an organization can achieve an even higher level of excellence, because they are Christian.

Crandall’s leaders and faculty throughout its history have had this driving ambition for excellence.

One of the last businesses I started combined wireless with a technology few had heard about—GPS! We grew over 10,000% in the first 5 years. I can remember being concerned about the pace of hiring and wondering just how we could hire people quickly but not degrade our standards of excellence.

As a result, I now usually make very rapid assessments of people using 4 elements: Motive, Execution, Quality, and Quantity.

I am often amazed at how people justify deficiencies in one area or another. For example, when they make a mistake in executing or implementing a plan, they often say “well, at least my motive was right”. Or when they aren’t particularly productive, they hide behind “well quality is more important than quantity”.

And I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but excellent organizations are made up of those who have high standards in all areas and don’t allow themselves to excuse what they don’t accomplish. They are characterized by :

o Pure motives…no hidden agendas
o A high standard of implementation with attention to detail
o High output and productivity
o Never compromising the quality of the result.
o Strong interpersonal relationships and united teams

Colossians 3:23 is really clear about high our standards should be:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…

I have become convinced that one of the distinguishing marks of Crandall University is that of a high standard of excellence. Administration and faculty, but also, groundskeepers, the catering and cafeteria staff, admissions, recruitment, student services and every single corner of the Crandall family, a team that is just not satisfied with good, average, or a pass. But instead a group of people whose intimate knowledge of the God we serve have them bring the highest possible standards in life, in work, in goal-setting and in being a living example of excellence to the students who for a time are under Crandall’s direct influence.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these are two very compelling answers to the question: “Why Crandall.” A legacy of belief in the potential of young people. And, a dynamic centre of excellence. And as critically important as these two traits are, I’m sorry to say that they alone are not sufficient to distinguish Crandall as a student’s obvious first educational choice. Let’s face it, numerous other esteemed institutions also carry these two traits.

But I am so glad there is this uniquely differentiating third element that is not found in very many universities. You see, the Crandall community “knows the source of all wisdom”.

If you don’t hear anything else from me this morning, note this. It is the intimacy of our personal relationship with God and our trust in what He asks of us that gives access to the very wisdom and character of the Creator Himself. And at Crandall, you know the source. Better study habits, more powerful ways to access information and tips to retain it or innovate some of the latest scientific findings–all are very valuable. But knowing the very source of all wisdom——priceless!

And we have a huge dilemma today. There is unprecedented access to information—more than at anytime in history. But Wisdom, or Insight, as the Bible calls it, is the ability to “properly use information and knowledge in real life.”

Friends we have a wisdom gap….a surprising paradox, more information than ever, but a decreasing ability to put wise choices into practice.

That is why it has been such a thrill to coach our High school hockey team, the Uxbridge Tigers. Our Tigers motto is “to win at hockey and win in life”. We use sport to try and develop 14 character traits in our players and early in the season we assign each one of these traits to a player whose responsibility it is to make sure that our team exhibits that trait in its conduct…..things like honesty, respect, hard work, optimism, citizenship and responsibility.

While in the public school system it is not easy to speak directly about a relationship Jesus Christ, the source of all wisdom, the school loves the fact that Mr. Simmonds helps his players with strong character and values.

One day after an away game, our team had boarded the bus on the way back to our school. I was just climbing on when the zamboni driver at the arena came running after me. Not sure if you’ve ever had a zamboni driver come running after you, but you automatically figure you or one of the players has done something very wrong. He was puffing as he said, coach, your team left the dressing room the cleanest I’ve ever seen after a game. I thought you should know. I thanked him and got on the bus.

The trait of respect. They’d got it. I was proud of my players and told them so.

One time we were going for gold at a very prestigious tournament in Lake Placid called the American Cup….For this group of young men, I suspect that this may be one of their best hockey memories. It ranks high for us coaches as well.

You see we were playing teams that were stronger than we were. We had tied a pool game that meant we had to battle for the right to go on to the final game. It was Saturday night and our fourth game, and the tournament was so close at that point we not only had to win, but we had to win by 3 goals, or we would be going home. Well, the game was a seesaw battle that was still tied 0-0 with just 3 minutes to go. You don’t have to use your imagination to picture me pacing up and down the bench, with obvious concern written all over my face….and then above the noise of the game, I heard Kyle, #13 say, “hey coach, remember the trait of optimism”!

And having played 42 minutes with no goals scored, I chuckled inside as he applied this character trait the very way I’d asked him to…..the trait of optimism…and, in a near miraculous finish, we ended the game 3-0 and went on the next morning to win the gold medal. Tigers lore says that the coach that day cried real tears….but what happens in a hockey dressing room, stays in a hockey dressing room!!!

There near universal view that values are deteriorating, leads us to a strong consensus that something must be done. However, there is not a consensus in our world today on what that right value set is. This neutralizes our ability to train and set consistent expectations for our young people. When I was a teenager, there were understood values, that enabled my parents, teachers, coaches, youth workers, and even neighbours, to mutually re-inforce what we were taught. Not so any more.

Drs. Fawcett or Knowles did not think up these values. Nor did Chancellor Richardson or Stultz. Yet, we would have complete agreement that every one of them is a necessity for the health and wellbeing of any society. But let’s be very clear. These values originated from the Creator Himself and are modeled by God’s own person and character.

Let’s look quickly at some specific examples.

o Take Honesty for example—one of the 10 commandments-“do not bear false witness”….this value is not meant to wreck your life….without it, trust is breached and relationships intended for our happiness get ruined…7

o Respect….arises out of 2 primary commandments underscored in Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Sir, which is the most important command in the laws of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ 38-39 This is the first and greatest commandment.

The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ 40 All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”

Smart, intelligent high ranking academic students are vital. But God’s higher standards are the values to which we are called upon to live. And this is where an entirely unique and different confidence comes from.

In the Labour Day edition of the Toronto Star a front page headline rang out….”Educators look beyond the 3 R’s…measuring the impact of how well a school nurtures body and soul, as well as brain”.

Because of the wisdom gap, educators are realizing they have no choice but to look beyond academics and activities to the inner character of the person.

One might say it is like a top NFL football player, having highest running yards, many touchdowns, being physically strong, making millions of dollars, with thousands of fans wearing his number—-and then all of a sudden, everyone realizes that in private, he uses all that strength and ability to beat his wife and children.

It undoes everything!

What will really endure for a Crandall student is a life reference point that does not decay with time, become irrelevant with circumstance, shift based on the views of a particular culture, or change with technology advancement.

It is only God’s values that meet this definition of absolute truth. “something that is right for all people, for all time, in all circumstances.”

And interestingly enough such truth is possible, such truth exists. But it can only be found in a personal and intimate knowledge of God Himself.

Because Crandall University knows the Source of all wisdom, its differentiating element will be this—a call for its students to embrace the Source of all wisdom!

Our youngest daughter April just started grade 12. She is a very serious equestrian athlete, who is working very hard with her three horses to be selected for the Pan Am games which take place next summer in Toronto. She is also the co-president of our church youth group. So you can imagine, she is one busy cat….

So at the end of the summer we recommended that starting September 1, she take up the advice of Bill Graham to read a chapter of Proverbs each day as part of her devotions. And we have been joining her in this just before she heads out to school each morning.

It’s amazing. Regardless of how many hundreds of times you may take in God’s truths, they are new every morning! Just listen to some of our journal entries….and re-consider the power of God’s wisdom as it is passed on to a busy young person like April……

18 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a]

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

6 Go to the ant, if you are lazy; consider its ways and be wise!

3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. 13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. 14 For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. 25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.

3No one can be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

15 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. 18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. 22 The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. 30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 5 A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence. 22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver! 18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.


Recently we were invited to a movie launch at the influential Toronto film festival. It is called the good lie, and stars Reese Witherspoon. You must see it when it hits the theatres. It chronicles the moving story about a family of Sudanese children, 4 surviving brothers and their sister, whose parents, other siblings and community are completely wiped out in a genocide. They walk literally hundreds of miles 9 and are ultimately extracted as refugees to America, where they get split up on the weird culture not their own.

The story flashes back to a game they played when they were children. They did not have much so it was very simple……they put their hand on the others and said “the name of their dad, the name of their grandpa, the name of their great grandpa, the name of their great, great grandpa…etc”

Ultimately as they reconnect years later, they are not sure exactly how to verify they are truly brothers and sister, until one of them starts playing the game, “the name of their dad, the name of their grandpa, the name of their great grandpa, the name of their great, great grandpa” and they all began to join in with voice in a unified chorus. Ah, the imprint of crucial marks for a lifetime!

Why Crandall University?

A belief in the potential of young people.
High Standards of excellence.
Loving and Obeying the Creator, the source of all wisdom.


Do you bear these marks?

Hey Dad, I can tell our company’s lawyer was a Crandall student.
Hey Dad, I can tell my teacher was a Crandall student.
Hey Dad, I can tell my coach was a Crandall student.
Hey Dad, I can tell my boss was a Crandall student.
Friends, let’s fully embrace these marks!
To the Glory of God, Amen.