National Youth Arts Week 2013

There are a number of events happening in Lunenburg County for National Youth Arts Week, May 1 – 7.
In Bridgewater there is an open mic and coffee house happening Friday Night from 7-9:30 at the Bridgewater Library – check it out!
Performers between the ages of 13 to 30 of all sorts are welcome–poets, non-poets, songsters, hipsters, filmmakers, dancers, you name it!
Contact Rachel at to register, or just show up. All ages welcome, family friendly and free.
Also in Lunenburg check out these events here:
Join folks at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market with the Makery and their community embroidery hoop to invite market-goers to participate in our collaborative project. We will be  offering a collaborative painting/sculpture installation and Theo Heffler will be setting up a weaving project. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate our community and the arts!

The creativity of local youth will be celebrated at the closing party at the Lunenburg Library on May 7th at 5.30pm – Hope to see you there!

Heritage Skills and Youth Engagement

Here is another example of local young people who care about and are active making a difference in Bridgewater. This innovative project was a great collaboration between Community Services, HeartWood, The DesBrisay Museum (, and Lighthouse Media group (

It ran for 10 weeks from Jan until April and built employability skills through service learning in the community. The museum had a genuine need for skilled film-makers and there were young people looking for work experience and an opportunity to build their confidence. With support from Community Services, HeartWood ( delivered this program.

See the results for yourself of when young people are given a meaningful task and provided with some skill building to support their success.

Many thanks to Jason, Dawn, Jordan, Celia, Matthew and Martin for a dynamic and successful program!

Kinship Exhibit

This post is written by guest contributor Ashton Rodenhiser:

A group of young adults ages 18 – 30 have been meeting since November to create the Kinship exhibit that is on showcase this week (Mar 25-28) at NSCC Lunenburg Campus. On March 24 over fifty people attended the opening ceremony for Kinship at the Mahone Bay Centre. People from the community were welcomed to come and learn more about this project.

kinship poster

Kinship was a vision created by Grace Mcknight. She applied mid last year for a grant through the Inspirit Foundation ( which is a national grant-making organization that supports Canadians, particularly young adults, in building a more inclusive and pluralist Canada. One way the foundation does this is by funding initiatives that promote engagement and exchange among young Canadians of different spiritual, religious and secular beliefs.  This project was the only project selected to be funded east of Ontario. The Lunenburg County United Way was the principle applicant for support as well as with the Lunenburg Queens Regional Development Agency, NSCC, Trinity United Church in Mahone Bay and the Shambhala Meditation Centre of the South Shore

“The primary goal of our local project is to increase awareness, understanding and respect for people of all traditions so that we can continue to grow a welcoming and diverse community” Grace Mcknight explains.

The young adults through the past few months have participated in field trips to sacred sites, guest speakers and conversations around a wide range of spiritual traditions and religions. This project hopes to live on in the community through the banners created. Photos were taken of each other and stories articulated on free standing 6 feet talls banners. The young adults then went on into the community to interview and photograph someone they may or may not have known to learn about spirituality with young adults in their own community.

Shambala Kinship

Kinship 1

The banners will be on display at NSCC Lunenburg Campus March 25 – 28 with a reception on March 28th at 6:00pm. Many other places in Lunenburg and Queens County have also requested to showcase the exhibit in the near future.

Kinship group

Bridgewater Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan revealed

Bridgewater has been undergoing a Downtown and Waterfront Master Planning process with consultants Ekistics Planning and Design since the fall.  Last night’s reveal of the draft downtown plan was awesome!!! The vision they shared (based on a lot of public consultation and citizen input) is really inspiring and sketches out the potential for a very vibrant community.

The energy in the room was quite positive and encouraging.  They also provided a way to remove the south parkade–but not loose any usable parking spots, and increase parking on King street while encouraging a more walkable and inviting downtown core.

Part of Bridgewater’s new story is that it is becoming an urban centre (CBC Radio named Bridgewater in this way in a story this week on urban centers that exist outside of Halifax). Downtown Bridgewater has the potential to be a destination on the South Shore!

This plan brings some vital aspects to downtown, and reconnects the downtown to the  LaHave River. It also makes a great statement that Bridgewater’s identity can be focused around sustainability–Bridgewater is already known in Nova Scotia as an innovator and model towards sustainable communities!

The town is inviting input on the draft plan until the end of February. Check out

Encouraging feedback and comments from lots of people will go a long way.

Telling My Story, Youth Workshops

Bridgewater Library is hosting a series of workshops this year thanks to a grant from the Province of Nova Scotia, Cultural Opportunities for Youth.

Last fall Carole Langille led a series of 6 sessions on creative writing in Oct and Nov. It was an amazing experience for the young people who participated. You can see the video created by Tim Horton of Lighthouse Publishing and samples of the writing that was produced on their website:

The next two sessions are songwriting and the visual arts for teens 13 and up. The sessions are led by accomplished local artists who have experience working with teens. At the end of each six-week session, the artists will assist participants in showcasing their work.
Sign up for one or both of the upcoming sessions, space is limited so call to register soon at 543-9222.

Narrative Art with Rebecca Roher

This workshop will focus on using visual art to tell a story. The goal of the workshop will be for each student to create a comic book/graphic novel telling a narrative. Students will be encouraged to use an autobiographical story – to paint their own lives, in whole or in part.

  • Bridgewater Library, Thursdays, January 10 to February 14, 4-6pm with a Showcase on Thursday, February 14 at 6:30pm.

Songwriting with Alex Hickey

The songwriting workshop will focus on the structure and content of songs and how to write one. Songwriting will be explored both with and without an accompanying instrument. Genre will be discussed, and examples will be pulled from spirituals, hip hop, traditional folk, protest songs, alternative, pop, and rock and roll. Uniqueness is encouraged!

  • Bridgewater Library, Saturdays, February 16 to March 30 (no workshop on March 16), 12-2pm with a showcase on March 30th at 2:00pm.


Another Successful Community Christmas Dinner

The 2012 Bridgewater Community Christmas Dinner saw another very successful event on Christmas Day. With over 220 volunteers this year there was no shortage of inspired assistance for the dinner. Along with volunteers (those who are present during dinner time also eat a meal) we served 400 free turkey or vegetarian dinners at Parkview Education Centre and delivered 15 meals to individuals who could not come out to the meal.

full turkey dinner

full turkey dinner

Table settings

Table settings

table settings

Table settings

With some improved systems and some dedicated lead volunteers the dinner felt like the smoothest so far. We are definitely learning each year and applying that. This year, to Misty, our head cook’s delight, all the food was plated and served to guests in 12 minutes (a world record we think!). Following that servers picked up their own plate and platers served themselves and sat down, which would mean the whole hall eating within about 15 minutes!

Super awesome Plating system!

Super awesome Plating system!

400 lbs of Turkey

Kitchen team and 400 lbs of Turkey!

What we are hearing in the community after 4 years is that for some–this is their Christmas. They look forward to it every year. They come for the fellowship and community. They come because they celebrate Christmas, or they come because they’re trying to find new meaning in Christmas. They come as families with small children or teens, they come as individuals, they come because this is becoming their Christmas tradition. We have young adult students home for the holidays, we have teens who want to serve, we have seniors who continue to have a lot to give the community.

Here are some comments from our feedback forms:

What was your highlight?

  • Not being with family but feeling part of a family
  • Seeing such a variety of age groups – a wonderful community spirit – great entertainment
  • The sense of community and the overall atmosphere that was so welcoming and accepting of everyone. I loved meeting everyone at my table
  • 1st year volunteer – impressed by the precision – well done
  • I thoroughly enjoyed delivering the meals with Bridgewater Police Service – the officer was nice to the clients and volunteers. The clients truly appreciated the delivery. We may have been their only visitors on this day.
  • The amazing group of people and community involvement
  • Attending and volunteering with my granddaughter
  • It was meeting people from a far. Very interesting. Pennsylvania, Maine, Ontario, lovely
  • Hoping to see this commradarie and vibrant community spirit in Cafe 12
  • The quiet revolution that’s taking place

Thank you to all the volunteers, guests, businesses, community organizations and individuals who peeled, chopped, donated, loaned equipment or tables, promoted the event or scrubbed 400+ dishes!!

400 plates!

400 plates!

Bridgewater Rocks!

Check out the BCC website

Cafe 12

Two weeks ago Cafe 12 made a strong presentation to the newly elected Bridgewater Town Council. With a completed Expression of Interest process, there was one other interested party besides Cafe 12. This is a buyer who would purchase the property.
Cafe 12 makes a strong case for the social and economic benefits of a social enterprise in the old library building. If the building sold it may fetch approximately $350 000-$400 000. This is would be an immediate payback for the town.
However, for a longer vision and more substantial return on investment, research shows that in a similar community in Ontario, the reduction of police costs attributed to an enterprise like Café 12 is estimated at $92,250 per annum, and direct cost savings from hospital visits averted for adolescent mental health are $314,639 per annum. Young people engaged in community activities like Cafe 12 would provide, have more chances of completing school. Research shows that an individual who has dropped out of school has a cost associated of $470 000-$900 000 over their lifetime due to accessing social services, education and employment insurance, including lost earning potential.
Already the cost benefits could be way above the selling price of the library.
In addition, Cafe 12 would support the maintenance and upkeep of a heritage building in downtown Bridgewater and support increased tourism, downtown revitalization and increased pedestrian traffic.

Currently Cafe 12 is asking to enter into negotiations with the town for a lease agreement. Cafe 12’s intention is for this lease agreement to be agreeable to both parties. Here’s what others are saying:

I’m posting the following on the Town of Bridgewater’s Facebook page. If you support the Cafe 12 concept, I would encourage you to express a similar message there. The town’s Facebook page is a great way to connect with council and staff and make your opinions known.****In the spirit of creating a vibrant downtown core and helping to engage citizens across all ages and backgrounds in our town, I voice my support for the Cafe 12 concept and urge the Town of Bridgewater to commit to enter into negotiations for a lease-hold agreement with the Cafe 12 group for the King Street library building.

Investing money in Cafe 12 is a smart investment in our community – Cafe 12 will provide an excellent, extended-hours eating option in our downtown, while simultaneously working to support community groups, encourage and promote art in all its forms, connect volunteers and make the core of our town a more welcoming.I believe that Cafe 12 can help make Bridgewater’s heart beat stronger than ever.
Stephen Young; MSW, BA, RSW
Clinical Social Worker , Family Therapist
For years the town library has been a place for ideas to be explored and fostered. The Café 12 plan would give new life to an iconic town landmark and allow it to continue in the role of inspiring the minds of many future generations to come. I fully support Café 12’s proposal for use of the town library building and hope that you will support this building to continue to play a vital role in building and supporting our community.
Joanne Faulkenham, Downtown Business Owner
The Town is in the process of working with Ekistics design team to create a Downtown Waterfront Master Plan. This plan will hopefully unite, grow and improve the entire town. So it is my personal opinion, that Cafe 12 would be a great fit to this plan.
We all look for a sense of place, a feeling of attachment. This is especially important for the youth of this town. We need to create an environment for them to grow this attachment.  So as they mature into adults, they will leave to continue their education, but having this attachment, they will return. They will bring back their knowledge and skills. Buy homes, pay taxes and raise families here.
Town Council will be discussing the next use for the Library building on Monday, Dec 10th.

Community Christmas 2012 Volunteer All Call

Only 46 days until Christmas when Bridgewater will be hosting its 4th annual Community Christmas Dinner. This event welcomes all walks to enjoy a full-on Christmas dinner, free at Parkview Education Center on Christmas Day. We serve over 450 people a full turkey or vegetarian meal, and it takes loads of volunteer help to make it and awesome event.

On Nov 12 we will be hosting our volunteer all-call meeting. Last year we had over 200 volunteers help out. The meeting will be at 7 pm at the DesBrisay Museum, 130 Jubilee road Bridgewater. For more info click below. Or Check out the post and video from last year in the banner above.

BCC call for volunteers2012

Free ticket reservations begin December 1st, call: 529-1182.

Place-Making Bridgewater

This summer Bridgewater undertook and innovative placemaking project in another great collaboration between  HeartWood, the Lunenburg District Office Department of Community Services, and the Town of Bridgewater. Six youth took on the task of artistically designing and painting six art-benches for the town.

Assisted by Brian Braganza as facilitator and Jason Skinner as artist, the youth looked at themes relating to the location of the benches and themes connected to sustainability. Jason worked his magic to share his incredible talent and by the end of it built the confidence of the young people to create very beautiful benches.

Four of the benches were existing town benches and 2 were in disrepair and ready to be junked. We worked with a local welder, Ben Rodgers, who repaired the benches. The Resource Recovery Fund provided money to buy materials for the repairs, and Gow’s Home Hardware donated some of the paint.

Due to the many features of the benches (placemaking project, reclaiming possible landfill material, youth engagement) the project and young people were then featured at the annual Growing Green Sustainability Festival as the Legacy project for 2012. Lighthouse Media Group followed us along to make yet another stunning video of positive action in Bridgewater.

There is hope for more placemaking actions to happen in future years as the benches was very well received. Three benches are currently on King Street and 3 benches will be installed on the North side of the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

See the Lighthouse video below: