Saturday, July 16, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 15.07.2016

Serving Orillia Lake Country, North Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Parry Sound District, North Bay and Blue Sky Region and Sudbury District
Huntsville Build Update

This week at 11 Irene St. the Randy Blain Construction Inc. crew were busy forming and pouring concrete footings. Our next step is ICF foundation. Anyone interested in lending a hand email us or call Hilary at (705) 646-0106 ext. 205 for more details.
In This Issue:
* Huntsville Build Update
* From the CEO's Desk
* Katrine Country Music Jamboree
* Sudbury ReStore Rocks the Northern Lights Festival Boréal
* Biking for Builds Detour Group Ride
* Orillia ReStore
* Sudbury BBQ
* Christmas in July
* Thank You Volunteers & Movie Stars
* Save the Dates
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Support our 2016 build projects across the region by donating online at
* 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
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Hello Habitat Gateway North,

Watching or listening to the news each day is a test in one's belief in humanity. Yesterday, the news reported on the horrifying events that took place during Bastille Day in Nice, France. Bastille Day, much like Canada Day or Independence Day, marks the celebration of a time in history when the French people demanded freedom. A day earmarked in the calendar for people to come together is now marked by tragedy.

This is not the first time, and I know it won't be the last, that a celebration becomes a crisis. As the number of this kind of tragic event seems to be on the rise, it's easy to be disheartened. It's easy to say "what can I possibly do?"

Fred Rogers (or Mr. Rogers, as I remember him from TV) always had wonderful life lessons to share. One of my favourites being: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster', I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world."

We can all watch the news and feel our hearts ache for those in Nice, or Istanbul, or Orlando. We can all be the helpers, whether it's a crisis or just a kink in the plan. We can all take the time to stop and ask "how can I help?" We can all put aside differences, not just in the face of crisis, to help make the world a better place.

"When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents  danger and the other represents opportunity." - John F. Kennedy

The opportunity in any crisis, international, national or personal, is for humanity to come together. There will be difficulty and excuses and reasons it's easier to not collaborate. But look for the helpers. Look for the service men and women running toward the disaster, instead of away. Look for the neighbours opening their homes to those in need of a place to stay. Look for those providing food and other necessary goods. Look for those waiting in line to donate blood. Look for those lending a hand in the aftermath.

It doesn't take just one helper to make a difference. It takes many. Together, we are the many helpers.

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

From the CEO's Desk

I hit a couple of personal milestones this past week, both landing on the same day. The first was a birthday and a certain step closer to being a man of a certain age. The second was my first anniversary as CEO of HFH Ontario Gateway North.

Just over a year ago, I was wrapping up an assessment I’d been asked to do of the affiliate’s five ReStores. Without some sort of framework or measuring sticks in place, an “assessment” is really nothing more than a subjective, open-ended, and potentially unfair critique.

To avoid that, we spent several weeks in my Kingston office “crunching” Habitat Canada’s 2010 – 2014 national ReStore sales data to arrive at nine categories of ReStores and performance benchmarks within each category. Those benchmarks dealt with measures such as gross sales, sales per square foot, etc.

Thanks to Mark Twain, we all know there are three kinds of lies: “lies, damned lies, and statistics,” but it was fascinating to see the stories that emerged from the national ReStore sales data and the stories told about our five outlets.

When I did tours of the stores in early July, it felt a little bit like finally putting a face to an otherwise familiar pen pal or telephone acquaintance. And it was while doing the loop of our outlets that the Board of Directors asked me to step into the CEO role on an interim basis. That arrangement was made more permanent last fall.

Thanks to our great ReStore managers and their teams, our locations now operate in a universe beyond where they were in early 2015. But it’s striking to me that, as we look to further refine the operation of our stores, we were again this week pouring over the national sales data, looking for the story the numbers might tell about how we better allocate floor space in each of our outlets.

ReStores are, of course, only one part of what we do as a Habitat affiliate. This week I asked Julie Farnsworth, our external human resource consultant, to guide us in more deliberately building quality and competence into every facet of our operation, including the CEO’s office. A cornerstone of that initiative will be the establishment of an assessment framework, functionally similar to our ReStore measurement tool.  

“High performance organization” is a tired cliché in business literature, and yet Julie shares my certainty that that’s exactly what HFHOGN can be. And if we're to achieve our potential in service to families in our region, it's exactly what we must be.

Exciting times continue to lie ahead!

Have a great week,

Sudbury ReStore Rocks the Northern Lights Festival Boréal

The Sudbury ReStore had volunteer, Negar Saeidi (left) and Community Outreach Assistant, Andrea Brock (right) attend the Northern Lights Festival Boréal on July 9th and 10th. This Festival is an annual non-profit event that supports emerging artists within the community and brings well known-artists to the region. We were able to promote the ReStore at the event and encourage attendees to come in to shop before starting their next renovation and donate items they no longer need.
Orillia ReStore

If you haven't stopped by our new Orillia ReStore location at 220 James St. West, get out to see it today! While we're still organizing our departments, we've got great items for you to choose from. Let us know what you think and stay tuned for more details on our official Grand Opening Celebration!
Christmas in July

HFH Ontario Gateway North participated in Bracebridge's 2nd Annual Santafest Parade on Saturday July 9th. The decorating team had a blast decorating the Habitat ReStore Truck. Thanks to Bobby for finding the life-sized Nutcracker, who was front and centre on our truck! The parade, although wet, went very smoothly and everyone involved had a ton of fun. A big thank you goes out to Linda, Treena, Brian, Steve (our awesome truck driver), Hilary, Brenda, Cameron, Meghan and Justin who lent us the Huntsville ReStore Truck for the occasion.
Thank You Volunteers & Movie Stars

On Monday, July 11, interviews were conducted and professionally filmed by Starshine Video Productions. In all, 15 volunteers and a partner family member shared their stories at the beautiful Artful Garden in Bracebridge. The nearly three hours of footage will be edited into a three-minute vignette airing on our social media channels this fall. A very sincere thank you to all those who participated. Special thank you to Suzann & Jon Partridge for the generous use of their property, The Artful Garden.
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!

Currently underway - Huntsville Build at 11 Irene St.

July 15th - North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter Golf Tournament

July 31st - Biking for Builds Detour Group Ride

August 6th - Katrine Country Music Jamboree

August 17th - Orillia ReStore hosts the Chamber After 5

August 20th - Orillia ReStore Grand Opening Celebration

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

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become." - Carl Gustav Jung

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