Saturday, August 20, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 19.08.2016

Serving Orillia Lake Country, North Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Parry Sound District, North Bay and Blue Sky Region and Sudbury District
IN PHOTOS: Orillia ReStore Hosts Ribbon Cutting & Chamber After 5
SAVE 10% OFF YOUR NEXT PURCHASE OVER $50

Offer expires August 31, 2016. Redeemable only at Ontario Gateway North ReStores in Midland, Orillia, Bracebridge, Huntsville and Sudbury. Cannot be combined with other offers. No cash value. One coupon per customer.
In This Issue:
* Orillia ReStore Hosts Ribbon Cutting & Chamber After 5
* From the CEO's Desk
* Two Doors Down...
* Hods & Sods
* Orillia ReStore Grand Opening
* Green Street Challenge
* Sudbury ReStore BBQ
* North Bay Amazing Race
* Health & Safety Tip
* Save the Dates
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Support our 2016 build projects across the region by donating online at canadahelps.com.
* Our Espanola Build rolls on! Stay up to date with photos and more at the Habitat for Humanity - Espanola Build Facebook Page.
* 1 in 5 Canadian families are living in unstable homes. But little by little, a brick for brick, you can help bring stability to the lives of many children from low income families. Because you're not just helping us put a roof over their head, you're helping us put the ground beneath their feet. For full details on the Brick for Brick campaign visit habitat.ca/ brickforbrick.
Know someone who'd like to be involved with Habitat? Share the newsletter with them! Anyone who is interested in staying in touch can sign up for the weekly newsletterhere!
Hi Habitat Gateway North Team!

We've all seen a "man on a mission", as the saying goes. Someone with a goal, chosen or assigned, who will stop at nothing to achieve it. Regardless of what obstacles may appear, someone on a mission always holds true to their purpose.

We've had a few successful missions this week. First, our Orillia ReStore hosted the Chamber After 5 for the first time in its new 220 James St. West location, which was preceded by a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the store. The hours and manpower it took to relocate the store were worth it to see a crowd of over 75 people explore the new space.

This Saturday is the Summer Sidewalk Sale, hosted by the Huntsville BIA. Over the past 2 weeks, we've been searching for helping hands to collect and help load the 7,000 square feet of sod we'll receive after the event. We've lined up a great crew for Saturday and are thrilled to have this contribution to our Huntsville Build on Irene St.

In the office, we've been looking at high-level missions. A mission-driven business is an organization for which the pursuit of growth and revenue naturally produces benefits related to the mission. As a not-for-profit, Habitat must generate growth and capacity in order to purposefully pursue our mission. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love Habitat for Humanity's mission.

To mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promote home ownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.

It speaks of action, community and partnering. Over the last week or so, we've been looking at an HR mission map - missions for each role in Habitat, based on achieving the overall organizational mission.

It's incredible how pieces of the puzzle fall into place once a role has clarity. Similar to communicating how Habitat works, outlining the mission for every role from Board Director to Warehouse Associate clarifies the purpose of that role. The mission feeds what we do, how we do it and how we know we've reached our goal.

Research shows that the happiest employees are those who feel a sense of purpose in what they do. The next step is to develop how we deliver on these role-specific missions. It's exciting to me to see the kind of organization and people we can be when we're all "men on a mission".

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

Meghan
From the CEO's Desk

Looking back over the last year, I’m taken by how our weekly newsletter has transitioned from a publication internal to the HFH Ontario Gateway North community, to one that is now reaching a broader audience.

One sign of this were the number of attendees at Wednesday’s wonderful Orillia ReStore grand opening and subsequent Chamber of Commerce “After 5” event who made mention of information they had read herein. Another sign is the declining frequency of my posting staff announcements, many of which are primarily of internal interest. This week, I’m very pleased to announce a couple of appointments that will be felt in the broader community.

Effectively immediately, Meghan Smith will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer for HFHOGN. As much as I’m thrilled and excited to see Meghan step into this role, I have to admit it’s a short step. In so many ways, this has been the role Meghan has fulfilled over the last year with dedication, commitment and rigour that I continue to find breathtaking. Meghan’s promotion to COO allows us to better define reporting lines in the organization and gives me confidence our day-to-day operations are in excellent hands while I focus on our longer-term, strategic priorities.

Fundraising is one of our top strategic priorities, so I’m also thrilled to announce the appointment of Britta Gerwin as our new Director of Development and Communications. Britta is a Huntsville girl who comes to HFHOGN from the Huntsville Hospital Foundation Development Office. Her background includes development work with organizations as diverse as the Red Cross, Sunshine Foundation of Canada, Starlight Children’s Foundation, and the Ottawa International Jazz Festival. What’s equally impressive in Britta’s background is her evident propensity to roll up her sleeves as a volunteer to meet a need, be it community or global. It’s hard to imagine a better fit for the Habitat world.

I’ll take a too-brief pause here to publicly thank fundraising guru Gord Durnan for his support over the last several months as we’ve considered the development function within HFHOGN. In the spirit of no good deed going unpunished, I know Britta and I look forward to Gord’s continued sage advice as we ramp-up major fundraising in the months and years ahead.

Over the last several months, human resources consultant Julie Farnsworth has never been more than a phone call or email away when we’ve had a specific HR question. After a series of discussions that were equal parts philosophy and business, I’ve asked Julie to take a more active role in our HR management, albeit as an external resource. What excites Julie and me – and I know it will excite our staff - is the opportunity to build a focus on competencies and quality into the DNA of HFHOGN as we pursue our goal of becoming a major contributor to Habitat’s mission.    

Over the last year, Lori Beecroft has served as our Chief Financial Officer. In addition to implementing some much-needed operating procedures, Lori continues to consolidate the financial systems of the five affiliates that merged to form HFHOGN. It’s not my place to announce the details, but Lori has been offered a wonderful opportunity that will limit her availability to us. I am immensely grateful that we’ll be able to continue counting (no pun intended) on Lori for bookkeeping services, but the balance of her role will be apportioned to Meghan, Julie and myself.

I’d like to extend a long-overdue thanks to Marg Hamelin, manager of our Midland ReStore, who stepped up through the early spring and summer not only as a resource to our other ReStore managers, but, in conjunction with Meghan Smith, as project lead on our relocation of the Orillia ReStore. There are a lot of fingerprints on the Orillia effort, including, of course, those of ReStore Manager Donna Godfrey and her amazing team. Marg will be refocusing her energies on Midland, but I’ve asked her to continue leading our ReStore management team as its Senior Manager.

A concluding note of thanks to long-time HFHOGN staffer Kevin Manley, who has left the organization. Kevin was manager of the Bracebridge and Huntsville ReStores before taking on the role of Community Development Officer last fall.

The new additions and assignments represent to me a “retooling” of HFHOGN as we look to the fall and the start of our annual planning cycle. Thoughts of serving 17 families in ’17 dance in my head, alongside our contribution to the 2017 HFH / Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Now, it’s time to get down to the job of figuring out how to make it happen.

Have a great week,

David
Two Doors Down...

With the cutting of a ribbon a ReStore was born.

It’s funny how months of work and a year of preparation boils down to a moment captured in a photo, and a few hundred words in the newspaper. All “Grand Openings” are part theatre and part marketing – if there’s a difference.

Having John Burke at the ceremony was an eye-opener. Burke started Habitat for Humanity in Orillia with Eric Blough just over ten years ago. In those ten years, six families have moved into affordable Habitat Homes and two ReStores have opened their doors to the public. All the while, the Orillia Chapter had been a part of a regional group, split off on their own, and joined another regional affiliate in Ontario Gateway North. Habitat work isn’t always a straight line to the finish. There are bumps in the road, hidden obstacles, and often big U-turns are necessary. But it’s always nice to look back and see all the capital “G” Good done in the community in the wake of what can often seem like organized chaos.

Speaking of organized chaos, let’s use this space to thank Donna Godfrey, Marg Hamelin, Bill Harris, Bill Evans, Christine MacDonald, and all of the volunteers who put the Orillia ReStore on their shoulders and carried it to this one finish-line.

Working at a ReStore is a puzzle. Imagine being in a boardroom mulling over great business ideas and someone says: “What about a retail store where no one knows what the stock is going to be, we take educated guesses with the prices, and we rely completely on community members to fill the store, and community members to empty it?”

The fact that ReStores across the country are working so well is a testament to seeing the world glass-half-full. The boardroom guy in the paragraph above would have been laughed out of the room, but the same business model framed in a positive light seems ingenious.

“Over 775,000 square feet of retail space is occupied by high-quality building supplies, home furnishing, appliances, and décor at Habitat for Humanity's 97 Canadian ReStore locations. Shopping at a ReStore is a socially conscious decision, as funds generated are used to fund Habitat home-building projects. As well, shopping at a ReStore is an environmentally conscious decision, as much of what is sold is product that is new, gently used or customer returns that would otherwise end up in a landfill.”

Sold.

Here’s another note about ReStores of which you newsletter readers may not be aware. In my old gig this would have been called “burying the lede.” We have demolition crews. These crews will come to your home or cottage and pull out your kitchen – for free! These kitchens are then sold at the ReStore, and are often the biggest sellers. So tell your friends, family, strangers, and neighbours. Here’s some more theatre as to how this scenario could play out.

Sam: “Kitchen is looking a little dated Mary, ever thought of switching it up? Stepping into 2016?”

Mary: “Seems like a lot of work and money.”

Sam: “I’ll call the ReStore and they’ll rip it out and clean it up for free and then I’ll help you install updated cabinetry this weekend. Also, you can feel good because you’ve helped build local affordable homes right here for hardworking families in this community.”

A perfectly natural conversation.  I should have been a playwright.

Greg
Espanola (159 & 163 Adelaide St.; semi-detached; underway): Our Espanola project is waiting for duct work for the furnace to be completed inside before finishing flooring and trim. The exterior of the homes are coming along nicely. The siding is about 50 per cent complete, and the decking around the homes is nearing completion. Jeff Lapierre will share a photo of the exterior in next week’s newsletter.

Huntsville (11 Irene St.; semi-detached; underway): This week Randy’s crew was hard at work back-filling and leveling. The lot leveling is completed and the crew is making preparations for the next step: flooring. The steel floor framing is to be delivered and installed next week and the prefabricated walls and roof package on September 6th.

Orillia (499 Bay St.; semi-detached; permitting): Still in the early phase of permitting, we're excited to get back to building in Orillia. With a mid-August target for excavation, stay tuned for our official ground breaking ceremony announcement.
EVENT POSTERS
This week’s safety tip is more of a safety dispatch. All work safety, from being aware of hazards down to wearing proper safety equipment, is all about instilling the right culture in the work place. And here’s the truth: all the standards, committees, safeguards and signage in the world won’t help keep us safe without a proper culture of work safety.

It starts at the top and trickles down. Employees need to know that their safety is the top priority of that day – everyday. Not the bottom line, not sales targets, not how much stuff was lifted and moved or produced, but getting home safe. Period. From there it’s about accountability.  Taking ownership of your safety, and everyone’s well-being. It’s about changing the way we think if we think safety is an expense of wasted time, effort, or money. It’s about never being complacent and never letting your workplace and co-workers feel satisfied with unsafe environments or actions.

After that, a culture of workplace safety is about collaboration. Employees and superiors working together with clear communication about how to improve current working conditions.

Only after organizations make a culture of safety their number one priority; employees make themselves and each other accountable; and an environment of collaboration and communication is established, can processes and practices help keep us safe.

- Brian Ingram, Health & Safety Coordinator
Save the Dates

We have several events already scheduled for this year, run by our Chapter Committees and third party groups. So mark your calendars or contact us to get involved!

August 20th - Orillia ReStore Grand Opening Celebration

August 20th - Huntsville Summer Sidewalk Sale including the Green Street Challenge

August 25th - Huntsville ReStore hosts the Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber After Hours

August 26th - Habitat for Humanity BBQ at the Sudbury ReStore

September 12th - Parry Sound Chapter Golf Tournament at Rocky Crest Golf Club

October 1st - Amazing Race, North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter
Quote of the Week

"Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated." - Russell Warren
Wonder Women

Ginger Barkey
Lori Beecroft
Tanya Blain
Marian Burdsall
Kelly Haywood
Carol MacLellan

Super Men

Brian Ternoway

Friday, August 12, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 12.08.2016


Serving Orillia Lake Country, North Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Parry Sound District, North Bay and Blue Sky Region and Sudbury District
In This Issue:
* Volunteers Needed
* Partner Family Update
* Two Doors Down...
* Hods & Sods
* Burk's Falls Country Jamboree
* Camp Canoe at the Bracebridge ReStore
* Sudbury ReStore BBQ
* North Bay Amazing Race
* Save the Dates
* Health & Safety Tip
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Support our 2016 build projects across the region by donating online at canadahelps.com.
* Our Espanola Build rolls on! Stay up to date with photos and more at the Habitat for Humanity - Espanola Build Facebook Page.
* 1 in 5 Canadian families are living in unstable homes. But little by little, a brick for brick, you can help bring stability to the lives of many children from low income families. Because you're not just helping us put a roof over their head, you're helping us put the ground beneath their feet. For full details on the Brick for Brick campaign visithabitat.ca/brickforbrick.
Know someone who'd like to be involved with Habitat? Share the newsletter with them! Anyone who is interested in staying in touch can sign up for the weekly newsletterhere!
Hello Habitat Gateway North Community!

The end of July marked the one year anniversary of publishing our weekly newsletter, HFH Gateway North News. When David joined us as Interim CEO, one of his first orders of business was to increase communication about Habitat, both internally and externally.

A year later, I know more than a few times I've scratched my head on Friday mornings and said, "so what can I write about this week?" However, as I looked back through past newsletters this week, I saw nothing but progress. If you've missed any,check out the Newsletter section of our website to read past issues.

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place." - George Bernard Shaw

Any staff and volunteers will agree when I say it's an uphill battle explaining what exactly Habitat for Humanity does. Our brand and logo are incredibly well recognized. How our program works? Not so much.

In any business or not-for-profit it's easy to fall into the trap of communicating from the inside out. Using metrics, acronyms and slang is fine when your audience is a group of staff members who have heard it all before. When your audience is community members and new volunteers, speaking in jargon does no good.

In reviewing our newsletters, as well as in office discussions this week, I noticed the evolution and refinement of our communication - the change in the language we use to describe what we do. My favourite language change?

Mortgage Revenue = Partner Family Contribution

It can't be overlooked that a major portion of our build fund is there because of our partner families. It's the essence of community building at work - families helping families.

Habitat homes are not given for free, or decided in a lottery. Hard working partner families contribute to their future success and to the success of future partner families.

Changing the language from banker to community not-for-profit doesn't change how the process works. We've just made a small change to describe what it is we work for. After a year of writing this weekly column, I can see it's those small changes that add up to big momentum.

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

Meghan
Partner Family Update

One of our North Simcoe partner families has a big change coming this fall. Their daughter Santana is heading to Queen's University this fall and is enrolled in a double major for English and Dramatic Arts. I can’t help but think that having a safe, decent and affordable place to call home paves the foundation for a healthy learning environment. Go Santana Go!

This is why we do what we do.

Kate Arnold, Chair
Family Selection & Partnering
North Simcoe Chapter
Two Doors Down . . . 

Well, I’ve made a huge mistake.

It turns out, if you steal someone’s column for one week, he may make you do it every week. So here we go again . . .

Let’s talk about the “Fund for Humanity.” If you’re like me you’re reading that and thinking “well, that’s an overtly daunting name.” And, if you’re like most people – even people involved with Habitat for Humanity – you don’t know what it means. We discussed this a lot throughout the week.

Basically, the “Fund for Humanity” is the Habitat Homeowners funding future Habitat builds. Each mortgage payment made by Habitat homeowners is earmarked for build expenses, and will not be touched for any other projects or initiatives. Despite the harrowing cries of the marketing team during budget meetings.

And I didn’t even really need to say “basically” because that’s the whole Fund. Habitat homeowner mortgages contribute to further Habitat builds. A Tragically Hip lyric comes to mind: “There’s no simple explanation for anything important.” Fine Gord, I’ll break it down.

For explanation’s sake, let’s say the average Habitat homeowner makes a payment of $500 monthly toward their interest-free mortgage. That $500 is immediately invested into the “Fund for Humanity.” Over the course of 12 months that is $6,000. Now, Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North currently has 42 Habitat homeowners contributing to the Fund. So if we take that number, and assume each family is paying our randomly stipulated average of $500-a-month payment, and then run the numbers for a calendar year . . .

(Disclaimer the following math was conducted by a communications officer and his phone calculator.)

It looks something like this:

$500 x 12 = $6,000
$6,000 x 42= $252,000

That $252,000 could build a semi-detached home for two more hardworking families. With some change leftover. And then those two families would contribute to the ever-growing Fund.

Now let’s go a bit further. Let’s say someone in the community donates $100,000 toward a Habitat for Humanity build in our region. That money doesn’t run out when the home is built. It lives on through the families who, because they are now able to experience homeownership and pay a mortgage, are contributing to the Fund for Humanity. The original donation of $100,000 doesn’t just help build one home, but every Habitat home from that day forward.

The “Fund for Humanity” is a striking name. I’m smirking a little typing it out, but there’s no denying it’s an inspiring and ingenious method of paying it forward. It’s one of my favourite parts of the Habitat homeownership model. Even if it doesn’t help me buy any fancy advertising spots or make more Habitat movies.

Greg
Espanola (159 & 163 Adelaide St.; semi-detached; underway): Our Espanola project is waiting for duct work for the furnace to be completed inside before finishing flooring and trim. The exterior of the homes still require siding and final landscaping. We're in the home stretch!

Huntsville (11 Irene St.; semi-detached; underway): The foundation has been poured and drainage lines and crushed stone distributed around the footings. The steel floor framing is expected to be delivered late next week and the prefabricated walls and roof package on September 6th, at which point we expect the foundation will have been back-filled and the site leveled.


Orillia (499 Bay St.; semi-detached; permitting): Still in the early phase of permitting, we're excited to get back to building in Orillia. With a mid-August target for excavation, stay tuned for our official ground breaking ceremony announcement.
IN PHOTOS: Huntsville Build Foundation
Habitat for Humanity and the South Almaguin Adopt-a-Home Project have been selected as the annual 50/50 charity benefactor at the Burk's Falls Country Jamboree.

For more information and to get your tickets visit http://burksfallscountryjamboree.ca/

The Jamboree runs the weekend of August 19 and features acts like The Good Brothers, Stevie Jewels, the Sweetgrass Band, and many more!

Event organizers are in need of volunteers for set-up on Thursday, August 18 at 10 am. If you’re interested in volunteering contact Myles Donahue at myles@bell.net or call (705) 636-0360
Camp Canoe at the Bracebridge ReStore

Sunday, August 8th, campers and leaders from Camp Canoe came to volunteer for the day at the Bracebridge ReStore. Thank you all so much for your hard work! We hope to see you all next year.
EVENT POSTERS
Save the Dates

We have several events already scheduled for this year, run by our Chapter Committees and third party groups. So mark your calendars or contact us to get involved!

August 17th - Orillia ReStore hosts the Orillia Chamber After 5

August 20th - Orillia ReStore Grand Opening Celebration

August 20th - Huntsville Summer Sidewalk Sale including the Green Street Challenge

August 25th - Huntsville ReStore hosts the Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber After Hours

August 26th - Habitat for Humanity BBQ at the Sudbury ReStore

September 12th - Parry Sound Chapter Golf Tournament at Rocky Crest Golf Club

October 1st - Amazing Race, North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter
This week I have an exciting update of our policies and processes to announce. As our world becomes more technically advanced our Health & Safety procedures should strive to follow. To that end, the old and cumbersome procedure of printing, handwriting, and faxing an incident report is no longer!

By visiting this link to our website:
http://hfhongatewaynorth.com/assets/usr/usrfiles/ INCIDENTINVESTIGATIONREPORTONLINEFORM.pdf

ReStore mangers and staff can now access a completely digital copy of the incident report form. Simply download the form and fill it out on your computer or tablet. Once the form is completed, “save-as” the file with the subject’s name clearly stated, and email it to bingram@habitatgatewaynorth.com as soon as possible. Habitat Canada and WSIB require the forms to be sent within a certain time period, approximately 48 hours from the time of the incident. Additionally, the file can be found under the “staff resources” tab in our organization’s Dropbox.

I suggest downloading the form to your desktop and keeping a blank-copy handy. That way, the form is still accessible during an internet outage or otherwise. Keeping up-to-date records and working together to responsibly report accidents, near misses, and possible hazards, is paramount to creating a safety-conscious working environment.

Work together, and stay safe!

- Brian Ingram, Health & Safety Coordinator
Quote of the Week

"When everything seems to be going against you... remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." - Henry Ford

Saturday, August 6, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 05.08.2016

Serving Orillia Lake Country, North Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Parry Sound District, North Bay and Blue Sky Region and Sudbury District
Biking for Builds Detour Group Ride
 
A huge thank you to the participants and donors of the Biking for Builds Detour Group Ride on Sunday, July 31st. Over $3,000 was raised by those involved. We thought it was a great way to spend a Sunday! Special thanks to Muskoka Brewery and The Bike Shop in Gravenhurst for spearheading this event. We're looking forward to 2017!
 
In This Issue:
* Biking for Builds Detour Group Ride
* Two Doors Down from the CEO’s Desk
* Hods & Sods
* Katrine Country Music Jamboree
* Sudbury ReStore BBQ
* North Bay Amazing Race
* Health & Safety Tip of the Week
* Save the Dates
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Support our 2016 build projects across the region by donating online at canadahelps.com.
* Our Espanola Build rolls on! Stay up to date with photos and more at the Habitat for Humanity - Espanola Build Facebook Page.
* 1 in 5 Canadian families are living in unstable homes. But little by little, a brick for brick, you can help bring stability to the lives of many children from low income families. Because you're not just helping us put a roof over their head, you're helping us put the ground beneath their feet. For full details on the Brick for Brick campaign visithabitat.ca/brickforbrick.
Know someone who'd like to be involved with Habitat? Share the newsletter with them! Anyone who is interested in staying in touch can sign up for the weekly newsletterhere!
Hello Habitat Gateway North!

I'm back to work for a short week after a week of summer vacation. I don't believe I've had the pleasure of saying I'm on summer vacation since high school. While I didn't venture too far away, it was a perfect opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the place I call home.

While the first day back from a holiday can always be a shock to the system, I felt productive on Tuesday. While of course there was a lot to catch up on, there was also forward motion and progress in my week.

Mid-week I had the opportunity to view the first draft of our "movie" and WOW. I can't wait to show everyone the amazing work of Starshine Video Productions and the wonderful stories our volunteers have shared with The Artful Garden as the backdrop.

Our Orillia ReStore is less than two weeks out from its official Grand Opening on August 17th but I've heard nothing but great reports. Donna and her team are knocking initial sales targets out of the park and they have seen many new and friendly faces coming in to check out the store.

If you haven't been by the Bracebridge ReStore this week (or last week), the store is undergoing some reconfiguration to spice things up. While we apologize for the mess, we're excited to revamp the store and keep things fresh. We'll still have all of your favourite treasures - but they may be in a different corner of the store!

On the build front, I came back to emails and phone messages of individuals and groups looking to participate on our builds and help however they can. It never gets old to hear from community members who want to get involved. If you've put your name in the hat to help on our Huntsville build, you'll be hearing from us in the near future about volunteer needs on site (yes, of course we want your help!).

Of course, there was paperwork too. Signatures to collect, manuals in need of revision and review, permits to fill out. And emails, lots and lots of emails. Nothing says you're back from vacation quite like a stack of paperwork and a (pretty) full inbox. However, this week there seemed to be a rhythm that was easy to fall back into.

Much like other vacations I've taken, it's nice to get away, but it's just as nice to come home. After a week of "staycation", this week has been productive, rewarding and it feels like home.

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

Meghan
Two Doors Down from the CEO’s Desk

The boss-man is out of the office for the week, so it’s high-time I write one of these bad boys. Cheers:

This week (technically last week, but with our Friday deadline we are often delayed in sharing news from the weekend) was highlighted by the inaugural summer Biking for Builds Detour Group Ride. Now, I have someone in my life who hates the word inaugural, or the preface “first-annual.” She always comments “let’s get through the first one before we start making promises.” Pretty sage advice, but in this case we’d be senseless not to shout it from the rooftops. One is done, and there will be more. I was off-the-grid camping during the group ride, but I’ve heard nothing but good remarks from all parties involved. Even during a meeting in Orillia one gentleman brought up the ride, unprompted, and mentioned how much fun his family had on the 30 km route.

As we often remind people the first line of Habitat’s mission statement is “to mobilize volunteers and community partners.” Muskoka Brewery and The Bike Shop in Gravenhurst both really put their stamp on this event, with additional support from the Town of Bracebridge and Moose FM. All were a joy to work with and there’s no hesitation (planning has already begun) – we’ll see you next year!

Secondly, I’ve now been to two “Adopt-A-Days” over the span of two weeks. One in Huntsville with a group from Mondelez International, and one in Espanola with Team RBC. Basically, a business donates money to the build and then picks a day to send a group of employees to volunteer their time, effort and sweat. In Huntsville it was ICF Foundation, in Espanola it was painting, carpentry and backbreaking landscaping and gravel work. I've made three observations from those two events:

1. Physical labour breaks us down.

I’m not just talking in a physical sense. Of course, I’m sure some of those volunteers went back to the office a little sore. I’m talking about the openness and camaraderie the build site inspires. I’m certain it’s intuitive. A bunch of team members working together towards a common goal. Everyone working with differing strengths and weaknesses, but leaning on each other to get through the day. Problem solving, collaborative thinking, the lack of any and all pretense. Hard physical work really is a shell-buster.

2. Never underestimate office workers.

The weekend warrior. It’s real. In both of these cases I didn’t expect the groups to get done half of what they accomplished in under four hours. Perhaps I’m projecting my own skill and competence unto them, but it’s a happy surprise. In any case, it’s a great learning environment. I found myself preaching the benefits of ICF foundation to my uncle-in-law and making plans to build a deck in the fall. I still don’t know what I’m talking about, or have the skill necessary to pull the deck off – but I’m closer than I was two weeks prior.

3. Many hands make light work.

This one is a little obvious. Nevertheless, it was neat to see six co-workers squat down and lift a deck frame across the front yard of the Espanola build. I’m sure two enterprising individuals could have struggled it over, but the six of them made it look like light as a feather. Whether it’s moving lumber piles or spreading a pile of gravel with shovels – they make it look easy because they build together.

Wow, what a ramble! David is back next week to bring some eloquence back to this space.

Greg
Espanola (159 & 163 Adelaide St.; semi-detached; underway): The team from RBC completed some necessary tasks to keep our Espanola build rolling forward - deck-building, painting and gravel laying. The exterior of the home still requires siding and final landscaping. Inside, we're currently on hold while duct work is being completed for the heating system before we can finish the flooring and trim.

Huntsville (11 Irene St.; semi-detached; underway): On Tuesday Redneck Concrete Pumping of Huntsville generously provided their services to pour the foundation. Randy Blain and his crew are off on a construction holiday for the week, so the foundation is settled and ready for a busy week of build activity starting August 7th. Randy wants to get the floor in place, the foundation back-filled, and the site leveled in advance of erecting the prefabricated wall sections from Green Terra Homes.

Orillia (499 Bay St.; semi-detached; permitting): Still in the early phase of permitting, we're excited to get back to building in Orillia. With a mid-August target for excavation, stay tuned for our official ground breaking ceremony announcement.
Espanola Build Flooring Donation

Stephanie, Sudbury ReStore Manager stands with Nicole in front of the flooring donated to the Espanola build by Nicole and her husband.
EVENT POSTERS
Health & Safety Tip

Be aware of potential hazards in the workplace. Simply being aware can be the difference in preventing injuries. Despite the best practices and efforts of a dedicated workplace Health & Safety program, awareness remains a key contributing factor and tool in preventing accidents.

Before performing any activity take a moment to recognize any hazards. Common hazards can be prevented by simply slowing down and thinking through the task at hand. Am I wearing the proper safety equipment? Should I ask for help lifting this object? Do I have the proper training to perform this task safely?  Is there a tripping hazard nearby? Can that driver see me if I walk here? Is it sanitary to perform this task?

Often, these simple questions are ignored because people feel rushed, are in the trance of routine, or believe them to be simple common sense and unimportant. However, it’s this apathy and detachment that can lead to an unsafe workplace for all involved. So, take a moment and think through the task. Perform the task safely or refuse the task if it’s impossible to do so. Be safe each and every time.

- Brian Ingram, Health & Safety Coordinator
Save the Dates

We have several events already scheduled for this year, run by our Chapter Committees and third party groups. So mark your calendars or contact us to get involved!

August 6th - Katrine Country Music Jamboree

August 17th - Orillia ReStore hosts the Orillia Chamber After 5

August 20th - Orillia ReStore Grand Opening Celebration

August 25th - Huntsville ReStore hosts the Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber After Hours

August 26th - Habitat for Humanity BBQ at the Sudbury ReStore

September 12th - Parry Sound Chapter Golf Tournament at Rocky Crest Golf Club

October 1st - Amazing Race, North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter
Quote of the Week

"Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste." - Benjamin Franklin