Christmas countdown is on

Unity News

Five more days until Christmas. Our family has always enjoyed the one-digit Christmas countdowns over the multi-month Christmas countdowns that have overtaken our advertising. I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas that includes much health and happiness. And, thank you for continuing to read this column, and to those of you (more than I realized) that pass on positive comments about not only this column but all of the action our community has ongoing. Enjoy your families and friends and keep sharing that wonderful Christmas spirit to everyone you meet.

You’re either starting to wind down or play out before Christmas or you are just ready to get the party started as you’ve been happily attending the many events and activities that have been held in our community

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Be sure to check in store posters or online posts about business hours next week as there will be a variety of early closures on Monday, Christmas Eve, with most businesses closed 26 and 26; and then some reopening on the 27th while some will remain closed an additional day or two. The Delta Co-op C-store will be open until 8 p.m. Christmas Eve so please extend those staff an extra dose of gratitude for this; as well as they will be re-open on the 26th if anything is needed in your house.

Today is the Chamber of Commerce Grand in your Hand draw and a few lucky shoppers will be rewarded to keeping their Christmas shopping local. Thank you to our Chamber of Commerce for hosting this promotion as it not only benefits the shopper but the businesses in our town as folks have an extra incentive to keep their shopping $ local.

Don’t forget all of your community churches will be hosting Christmas Eve Services on the 23rd and 24th. No better way to experience the joy and magic of Christmas than to hear the Christmas story and the beautiful Christmas music.

As your own life and the town in general gets busier, don’t use this as opportunity to express your frustration with the chaos, but rather use it as extra incentive in spreading Christmas cheer. Everyone’s day is made with those sentiments rather than the negative ones, especially those fine folks in our retail industry who are often on overload by this time of year.

Please use extra caution in our school zones today and tomorrow as there will be much traffic and very excited children who may not be paying the best of attention and no one would want to see a misfortune that could have been averted.

Happy birthday Dec. 23 to my nephew Jo who lives in the Battlefords. Enjoy a day with the family and doing the things you love.

Congratulations and belated birthday greetings to long time Unity resident, Grace Richards, who celebrated her 100th birthday just a few weeks ago.

Congratulations to Gwen Frantik, owner of the Unity Travel Shoppe for winning the Highest Growth Award at a recent travel group conference in the Bahamas.

There still is some activity on “things to do list” in Unity:

Today, Dec. 20, is the big draw for Grand in Your Hand Christmas promotion from all entries taken from participating businesses.

Today is the deadline for Unity Sports Hall of Fame Nominations

Dec. 21 and 22, the Midget AA Lazers will host their last home games until the New Year. Come see this exciting young team as they aim to keep atop of the SMAAL standings.

The Anglican Church will be having their Christmas service Dec 23 at 10:30 a.m. with a potluck lunch to follow. All are welcome.

Dec. 24 will be Christmas Eve Services at Unity United Church 7 p.m., Unity Baptist Church 7 p.m. and Unity Lutheran Church 7 p.m. St. Peter’s Catholic Church will hold Christmas Eve Services at 7:30 p.m. and midnight mass, as well as Christmas Day service at 11 a.m.

Dec. 26 the Unity Curling club hosts the annual Boxing Day bonspiel.

Dec. 29, the Unity Miners will host their only home game this month. Plenty of local talent to cheer for on this team.

At UCHS, first and foremost people are still raving about this year’s drama productions that included the musical Magical Land of Oz, and the raves include the costumes, casting, set design, technical assistance that all combined for a wonderful enjoyable performance that packed the house both nights it was hosted. The comedic western that followed certainly brought about some great laughter and the drama team will certainly miss those Grade 12 performers who have always had the audience in laughter with their character roles. Also a big congratulations to UCHS senior boys basketball who incorporated a fundraiser for Dypg (short version for difficult and hard to treat brain tumors) into their activity demonstrating the continued acts of UCHS students to give back to their communities and others in their endeavors. Everyone will be checking out early tomorrow for their Christmas break, a chance for teachers and students alike to enjoy some down time with the family and refresh before the new year. Students enjoyed a perfectly prepared Christmas dinner cooked and served by their teachers and staff and helped funded by the UCHS SCC known as Christmas kindness lunch, wherein the entire student body, teachers and staff sat down and enjoyed food and fellowship. They head into December with plenty of energy for the next stage of academics as well as Warrior sports season of curling and basketball.

UPS have wrapped up the first half of their school year and will also be enjoying an early dismissal tomorrow for a much-deserved Christmas break. But, not before they enjoy a hot lunch provided by their School Community Council tomorrow as well as the bonus of an early dismissal. Tonight they host their Family Christmas carnival with much excitement and fun planned for participants.

At St. Peter’s School, they are also looking forward to an early dismissal tomorrow for their anticipated Christmas break. Today, Dec. 20, is the annual Christmas concert at 1 p.m. in the sanctuary. Tomorrow, Dec. 21, is the last day before break and students will be treated to a turkey dinner prepared by the SCC and assisted by Delta Coop; as well as early dismissal that day.

Were you aware that Unity has a chapter of a provincial organization called KidSport? Did you know that in 2018, this organization helped 43 kids participate in local sports organizations who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to do so? Did you know in 2018 alone the Unity KidSport chapter spent $8,676.28 for registrations and equipment for children to be part of local sport that otherwise would not have had a chance to participate?

Unity’s KidSport chapter only includes two committee members who are Ryan Doetzel, Unity’s parks and recreation director, and Arlene Southgate, who sits on a number of other committees locally and provincially, such as Rivers West Sports Culture and Recreation.

Unity’s KidSport chapter is looking for a hand from their community. They are in need of more volunteers as well as additional committee members. And, seeing the numbers listed here from 2018, they are also in need of donations to keep them viable.

Their operating budget comes almost solely from donations. In 2018, they received a generous donation from Nutrien Ag Solutions of $1667.32 representing proceeds from a product sales benefitting KidSport. The KidSport operating grant is based on a per-capita basis and Unity was awarded $1336.05 last year.

The maximum amount per application allowed is $750. In 2018, the shortfall of the $5672.91 from what was required to what was donated/grant given was taken from their reserves. This depleted the reserve fund substantially and in order to continue to help the kids who require assistance in order to participate in community sports programs, the money will have to come from somewhere. This is where Arlene and Ryan are hoping the continued generosity of the community will come in.

Unity’s KidSport currently pays for registration and equipment. However, everyone knows equipment can be expensive and their hand is forced in two directions now. They are looking at partnering with Unity Minor Sports Organizations starting up to have a collection depot for lightly used equipment to help offset costs. As well, they are in definite need of monetary donations or the equipment donation portion of the application will have to be removed. Not many KidSport chapters are able to fund equipment and only can offer just the registration portion to applicants.

There are some beautifully decorated yards in town to enjoy. Grab a friend, a neighbour or a senior who doesn’t otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy a hot chocolate, an evening drive and some beautiful Christmas light displays.

With winter in our midst, you will want to be more mindful of the weather and travel conditions. The Highways hotline is a good resource as our some social media sites that include those travelling on those roads. The forecast is just as important as current conditions as we all know how quickly winter weather can change across the province. Take your time, be sure to pack emergency supplies and always keep in touch with your family on your travels. Drive safe and arrive alive.

You can be sure there will be plenty of fun, socializing and those always counted on ugly Christmas sweaters appearing at the rink for the last week of league curling before Christmas. Curling will only involve the Boxing Day spiel next week as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fall on league nights. Thursday, Dec. 27, will be regular Thursday curling. Stay tuned for a ton of events upcoming in the New Year for the UCC.

With Christmas just days away, with all of its hopes and dreams and endless planning that we hope evolve into successful family events with plenty of memories made – we know that we are as quickly thrown into New Year as we are into Christmas. We all need to remember to take time to breath, enjoy the moment and also to dare to dream what the new year could bring and all the hope that this brings us.

Those moments that doesn’t go according to plan but will be the source of great laughter at next year’s Christmas gathering. Or those moments you didn’t plan but could not possibly have had play out any better and will be those memories you will cherish for a very long time. Those moments of nostalgia remembering simpler times as a kid looking forward as much to those few presents under the tree as they were to the whole family gathering they were going to experience because they were part of the tradition and only happened on holidays.

Enjoy the joy in the air, the sound of music in our churches and schools, the crisp air, the fresh snow, the increased happiness and smiles shared by all people, the anticipation of some down time with the family and a chance to celebrate together

Coffee row folk numbers have started to dwindle as they begin their own preparations for hosting family or for travelling to see family over the holidays. Have been admiring the Christmas spirit in town as they can nearly recount a Christmas event each morning they meet. This group nearly always starts and finishes with laughter showing no matter the discussion or what side of the topic you stand on, there is always room for laughter, something we could all learn to do in our daily lives. And so again you can see we keep busy in Unity with activities and wisdom from our friends on coffee row. Until next week ...

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