We are writing this letter to express to you how much we value the participation of the Greater Vernon Museum in the B.C. Heritage Fairs Program by hosting an annual heritage fair for students between Grades 4 and 10.
The B.C. Heritage Fairs Program is an educational initiative designed to increase awareness and interest in Canadian history. The event of a history fair actively involves Canadian youth, schools, businesses and community groups in a contemporary celebration of our shared traditions and heritage.
We have witnessed first-hand how this program can inspire a love of Canadian history and heritage in children. Both of our sons, Cole and Connor, have participated in Vernon heritage fairs, with both having been chosen to advance to regional heritage fairs.
They have created incredible projects on Canadian hockey, the historical significance of the beaver and Michael Schratter’s Ride, Don’t Hide campaign. This past year Cole, was chosen to not only represent our region, at the provincial heritage fair in Abbotsford with his project entitled, Michael Schratter: One Pedal at a Time (Michael cycled around the world in 2010 to battle mental illness stigma), but was also chosen to participate in Canada’s History’s first-ever Young Citizens competition.
In this program, 200 outstanding students who participated in regional heritage fairs across Canada received a video camera and were challenged to create a video based on their heritage fair project.
This was such an incredible opportunity and while Cole was not chosen to be one of the six winners to travel to Ottawa to attend the governor general’s history awards, his video made the top 30 and gained international attention from individuals and organizations from around the world. Not bad for an 11-year-old.
Since first participating in these annual heritage fairs in Vernon, our children look at their community, province and country in a much deeper way.
They have developed a keen interest in our family history and whenever we travel to communities around the province during summer holidays the first stop is now to the local museums and municipal halls to ask for pins and historical information. Our children keep a running list of possible topics for heritage fair projects. This appreciation that they have for our history and our heritage comes directly from their involvement in the B.C. Heritage Fairs Program.
So, for igniting such a passion for Canadian history and heritage in our children, we want to thank the Greater Vernon Museum and, in particular, Pat Simmons, the education co-ordinator at the museum.
Thank you for making this incredible learning opportunity and annual celebration of our shared traditions and heritage available to not only our children, but to all the students in our district, as well as to the general public which attend these fairs.
Kelli Sullivan and Todd Strilchuk