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Penticton Downtown Market in October

What a beautiful autumn we’re having! Snapshots of the Penticton downtown market the first weekend of October. Around 10 am, and already about 20 C. ¬†Lovely sunny South Okanagan in British Columbia. ¬†Oh by the way–northern BC got about 18 cm of snow the same day, I’m told ūüôā

2012 BC Youth Writers Camp

July 2-7 2012

Another very successful BC Youth Writers Camp was help July 2 to 7, 2012, at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College.  Sixty-eight youth between the ages of 9 and 18, both former campers, and new ones as well, attended the camp, learning to hone their writing skills, and learning about editing, illustrating, publishing, and more.

This year’s keynote speaker was 23 year old¬†poet Amanda Lewis of Penticton, who, despite physical disabilities, is an active and enthusiastic poet and speaker.¬† The students were so impressed by Amanda’s presentation and her passion for writing.¬† They have taken home with them Amanda’s personal credo: “The impossible just takes a little longer,” and personally autographed copies of her book “One,” which were provided courtesy of Raise a Reader.

Each morning, the students attended lectures related to writing.  Presenter Karen Autio of Kelowna ( is an author of historical novels for young readers.  Karen shared with the students how to research and unlock history.

Presenter C.A. Lang, also of Kelowna, has written everything from historical fiction to experimental novels.  Lang presented a workshop on science fiction and fantasy worldbuilding, covering logic, social structure, religion, technology and magic.

Presenter Lorna Schultz Nicholson ( is a full-time writer who divides her time between Calgary and Penticton.¬† She has published over 20 childrens, youth, and sports books. Lorna presented a workshop, “Page Turning Fiction!” in which she shared how to use breathtaking description, page turning plots, setting, gripping conflict, and real life dialogue to make a good story great.

Presenter Endrene¬†Shepherd (, of Penticton, has been writing, painting and drawing her entire life.¬† She has completed one book so far.¬† Endrene’s workshop, “Ready, Set, Illustrate!” gave participants a chance to view some famous illustrations from well-known children’s literature, and learn the “whys” and “hows” of selecting scenes from their stories for illustration.¬† She also led the students in doing illustrations for their own works.

Presenter Mary Ann Thompson is a freelance editor. Mary Ann’s workshop had the students get out the blue pencils and play with story.¬† Through games and editing exercises, they learned to transform boring beginnings, shake out muddled middles, and create thrilling endings.¬† Mary Ann also talked about what an editor does and the steps that go into publishing a book.

In the afternoons, students were involved¬†in a variety of activities.¬† These included a book signing event for the “Gems of British Columbia,” in which each young author signed their own works in each published copy of the anthology; a “cowboy poetry” event led by PWAP¬†poets Alan Longworth and Herb Moore, in which each student completed a “cowboy poem” of their own; an open mic young writers showcase talent event (plays, music, readings, and more), emceed¬†by past camper Taylor Attril; a calligraphy event taught by calligrapher Dave Cursons; and a book store event at which the students had the opportunity to purchase books written by the camp presenters.

As always, the camp students sent in samples of their story writing and poetry with their registrations, and their work was published in the annual “Gems of British Columbia” anthology.¬† It is a great encouragement to these young writers to see their written works in print.

Many thanks to camp coordinator Yasmin John-Thorpe, and her volunteer helpers РPWAP members who critiqued the anthology entries, community members who prepared and served snacks and lunches for the campers, registration day helpers, the Rotary Club who provided the end-of-camp barbeque, and more.  Special thanks also to the generous sponsors, without whose support this camp could not take place.

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Junuary 30 Downtown Market in Penticton

June 30, 2012

— or as some remarked rather cynically, “Junuary¬†30th!”¬† What a day!¬† One minute pouring rain, the next sun doing its best to pour through, rain battling back, sun peering out again.¬† It seemed early in the day that it might be a “lost cause” market-wise, as the only folks on the street at Penticton’s¬†downtown market were the vendors.¬† But the amazing thing was that every time¬†the rain let up for a moment, and the sun’s rays broke through, suddenly the street was flooded with customers, feet¬†sloshing through the puddles even as they turned their faces happily upward toward the warmth of the sun.¬† Then the rain would pour again, and they’d disappear¬†– I assume it was a great day for the coffee shops along the street!

It was my first day at the market as a vendor.¬† Fortunately for me, I was placed under an overhang — for shade!¬† Well, it turned out I didn’t need much shading, but I was certainly grateful for the protection from the downpours.

Anyway, here are some snapshots of Penticton Downtown Market on the July Canada Day long weekend in Penticton in the sunny South Okanagan.¬† Well, the mostly sunny South Okanagan, that is…

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Oh, yes, the next day, Canada Day, started out the same.¬† It was definitely an on-again, off-again morning, weather-wise.¬† But the sun redeemed itself in the afternoon, and except for occasional splatters, the big birthday party in the park was a success I’m told.¬† Happy 145th Canada!

Rest and Relaxation on a May Afternoon

May 6, 2012

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

22 April 2012

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring has sprung and summer is on its way in Penticton!¬† What a beautiful day today!¬† The thermometer finally hit 20+ C and Penticton residents were out enjoying it.

Penticton Views From Munson Mountain

March 24, 2012

March 23 seemed like spring had truly arrived … the next day, March 24, not quite so much.¬† The sun was trying half-heartedly to peek through a high-overcast sky, and Old Man Winter kept puffing out swirls of chilly breeze.¬† Still, at least it wasn’t raining, hailing, sleeting¬†(like a lot of March before and after), so we went up to Munson Mountain, where the famous “Penticton” sign overlooks Okanagan¬†Lake.¬† The view from the lookout is pretty spectacular, even on a greyish day, as these shots demonstrate.¬† Afterwards, we went for a walk on Skaha¬†Lake beach.¬† Although few folks were out, those that were had spring¬†in their hearts!¬† Yummm…. marshmallow roast!

Spring has sprung – finally!

March 23, 2012

The old saying tells us that “March comes in like a lion and goes out with a lamb.”¬† Well…¬† This spring in Penticton, it’s pretty much been like a lion all month.¬† However, we’ve had a couple beautiful very-early-spring-like days – and joyfully for the kids, one of them was during spring break.¬† In fact, it was such an amazingly beautiful day, that it seemed like everyone in the city was out enjoying it.

occupy Penticton

October 15 2012 – “OCCUPY” day!¬† If you’ve been following the news, you’ve of course seen the footage of big demonstrations in large cities, and smaller demonstrations in smaller cities.

What you probably didn’t see was coverage of Occupy demonstrations in smaller cities and towns.¬† But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

There was an “Occupy Penticton” event on Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market.¬† Half a dozen demonstraters¬†walked from their colourfully decorated bus, through the Penticton downtown market, carrying large “occupy” signs.¬† It was a peaceful march, and quite a number of residents stopped to ask the marchers questions, resulting in some interesting discussion.

Here you go – Occupy Penticton!

Penticton Raise a Reader

Penticton’s Raise-A-Reader campaign is very special.¬† Why?

Because Penticton Raise-A-Reader leader, Yasmin John-Thorpe, and those who work alongside her – the Penticton Herald, members of Penticton Writers and Publishers Group (PWAP), and the many fundraiser volunteers from the Penticton Fire Department and others – make sure that the funds that are raised truly go to “raising readers.”

In many communities, the funds raised on “Raise-a-Reader Day” in September,¬†are donated to “literacy” groups, who are then free to use the funds for whatever aspects of “literacy” they choose, including such items as paying staff or running programs, many of which are adult-oriented.

But in Penticton, the funds are used¬†to literally “raise readers” – encouraging children and young people, our future adults and leaders, the future of our nation,¬†to become enthusiastic readers – and writers.¬† Penticton Raise-A-Reader uses the funds to invite children’s and youth authors into schools in the local area.¬† The authors do amazing and entertaining presentations, not only reading from their books, but telling the students¬†about the author’s trade and about how to publish.¬† They also answer student questions, and at the end of the presentation, they personally sign, and present each student with, one of their books.¬† The books are paid for out of Raise-a-Reader funds.¬† Many of the author’s charge only their¬†personal¬†“cost” for the books (not looking for a profit), and give freely of their time, because they, too,¬†of course believe in raising readers!

It is an awesome thing to watch young faces light up with the joy of receiving their very own book, signed by the author, whom they have personally met.¬† Many children, particularly in the current economic conditions, do not otherwise have the opportunity to receive a brand new book of their very own, so this is a very special opportunity for them.¬† Furthermore, actually meeting the author of the book inspires them with the realization that they, too, can become writers.¬† One of this year’s presenters was a young lady from Kelowna, who is only 11 years old.¬† She had her first book published in 2009, and is in the process of having her second book published.¬† The children who watched her presentation were in awe, and many of them are now far more enthusiastic writers and readers!¬† Even the majority of the adult writers started writing when they were young children, and in fact, in their presentations, many of them showed samples of their first “books,” done on loose-leaf paper, self-illustrated, and “bound” with paper-clips or masking tape!

Penticton Raise-A-Reader also supports young readers in our community in other ways.  For example, at the PeachFest parade this past summer, young writers who attended the Youth Write BC Camp at Okanagan College in Penticton the first week of July (also supported by Raise-A-Reader), went in the PeachFest Parade and handed out books Рinstead of the usual candy Рto children watching the parade.  (The books were donated by the Rotary Club).

Enjoy these snapshots of some of the Raise-A-Reader author’s presentations in Penticton and area schools during the past month.¬† And be sure to take a close look at the faces of the children – who are truly, through these events, being raised to be readers! and writers, too!

signs of autumn: baseball

Penticton’s community¬†league¬†baseball games have, of course, been going strong for several months.¬† But suddenly something has changed:¬† summer’s shorts and t-shirts, on many of the¬†players and fans alike, have given way to warmer outfits.¬† A few hardy¬†players still bravely¬†expose their goose-bump covered arms and legs to autumn’s chill, as thick gray clouds and nippy breezes wrap themselves around the bipeds who¬†dare to come out to the ballpark no matter the weather.¬†¬†Saner¬†players sensibly layer cozy jogging pants and sweatshirts, while fans bring out their fall jackets and snug down into their lawn chairs.¬†¬†Seems no one wants to stretch out on the grass and sun-tan as they watch the game these days.¬† Still, perhaps this chilly fall weather is a good thing for baseball.¬† It notches up¬†the game, with frequent strong hits that keep camera-toting fans busy snapping the action.¬† Could it be that autumn’s chill is motivating the players to do whatever it takes to keep running and thus stay warm?¬† Sure looks like it!