Happy Holidays Neighbours!
I think we can all agree, this weather has been awesome! This year we were able to see all of the pretty trees transition their colors and then watch them fall gently to the ground. We were able to easily clean them up without having to wait for spaces in-between snow clouds. Many of us were able to enjoy a bountiful garden harvest, bonfires and celebrations were heard throughout the area, decorated yards for Halloween and now Christmas are on display, and we were even able to see the children's costumes as they filled our streets to go trick or treating this year (unlike the usual costumes over snow suits). We have been blessed, lucky, or both to have had such a beautiful and safe environment to enjoy with those we love. Lots to be grateful for.
Many of you might have noticed that we at the SHCL have been busy. We have been working hard on connecting our community in fun and imaginative ways. From Craft-Crops, Babysitters Clubs, and Card Making to Crochet, Interactive Neighbourhood Maps, Dozens of Garage Sales and Smash Club, we have been doing everything we can to support our little community and the pockets of great people within it. And let's not forget ALL the pancakes this year - we pride ourselves on being new found pancake masters at the SHCL.
We want to be "that group". You know the one, the one we all like because they are wholesome, personable, approachable, and happy. The no-drama group that smiles and welcomes you with baked goods and a coffee or tea when you show up for a monthly meeting. Where you can be you, be as goofy or serious as you'd like, and just be a part of something great. A place you can get to know your neighbours, kids can grow up together, and we can all breathe a little easier knowing that we have a safe place. As many of you are aware, it is our goal to be inclusive and help our community become stronger through connection, and this year we believe that we have done just that. Our events were always heavily attended or sold-out and the feedback we have received has always brought smiles to our faces and warmed our hearts.
We consider 2023 to be a complete success and we've accomplished it all by growing and working hard together to pass many meaningful milestones. This has been the result of a collaborative effort of several households, families, and individuals within the SHCL as they all sacrificed and did what they could to make sure everything went off without a hitch. The volunteers of this league truly want everyone to be included (both within and outside of our borders), to be able to enjoy wholesome connection here at our home and participate in building something meaningful for others to enjoy. That's how we plan on building our community for the future. We like to host.
I myself am so very proud of our growing team. What started as a few neighbours and an online meeting during a pandemic has now become a locally incorporated not for profit organization with many loved service-level volunteers and a passionate Board of Directors who host at least a dozen really solid events every year. Together we have struggled, we have trudged, we have learned a huge amount of knowledge in a very short period of time, and we have risen above it all as a united and strong group of friends. It is my perspective that we do so with grace and poise and big smiles on our faces as well. I also like to think we'd do it all again. So, let's.
2023 was our year for foundation. We planted our feet firmly in the ground and announced that we are here. We made friendships with organizations, businesses, and individuals compromised of like-minded people wanting to do good for others. In 2024 we plan to work hard on communication. We will continue to build partnerships and collaborate because we believe it takes a village (or hamlet) to build a community. Our boots will hit the pavement and we will get the word out to the furthest corners of Sherwood Heights so that everyone and all generations can participate to whatever level they are comfortable.
We do not need to spend a lot of money to do good things. We can do a lot with a little. We can share what we have to build what we need. Just like the good ol' days, we can borrow a little help from our friends. That's how our hamlet was built.
Historically, who better to partner up with than Strathcona County Museum and Archives? Together with Strathcona County and perhaps some new friends in the near future, we can build something for the ages. Stay tuned as we begin planning the epic, memorable, and historic 2024 Winter Carnival. Check out our social media, website, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on all things happening here in Sherwood Heights (AKA The Trees). There will be plenty more information coming soon with lots of great announcements.
To conclude, I'd like to issue a special thanks to all of our 2023 sponsors and supporters. Without them, none of this could have been possible. We are humbled to be trusted to represent them and display their logos with pride, knowing that our good-natured efforts are being acknowledged and supported by their teams where all are welcome.
Thanks for reading. I hope to see you at many of our great events and monthly meetings and, as always, I’ll see you around the neighborhood!
-Ehren Ackerman, President of the Sherwood Heights Community League