Wednesday, August 5, 2009

MUSKOKA TALENT FESTIVAL - Gravenhurst Opera House - Saturday September 26 - 7pm

Mark SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26TH, - 7pm on your calendars! Location – on stage at the GRAVENHURST OPERA HOUSE. Don’t miss the ‘MUSKOKA TALENT FESTIVAL’ featuring VINCE GRITTANI - THE WEEKEND GUY – a fundraising variety show with all proceeds going to The ‘MUSKOKA BIKE BANK WORKSHOP’ project at the Bakong Technical College project site in rural Siem Reap province in Cambodia. Get your tickets soon – they are only $15 each and can be obtained through the Gravenhurst Opera House at 705-687-5550 or from Lisa McCoy at 705-687-8538, email:

Headlining this fabulous evening is Vince Grittani - 'The Weekend Guy' Award winning Playwright, author, illustrator and TV personality (Weekend Guy, Cottage Life TV), Vince is sure to make this evening an entertaining highlight of the year that you won't want to miss!

Fabulous theatrical and musical performers from throughout Muskoka have donated their talents for the spectacular 'Muskoka Talent Festival' variety show, including TIM SULLIVAN & DOUG BANWELL, THE MUSKOKA BIG BAND, IAN & PRU DONALSON, THE PEPPERMILL PLAYERS,The MUSKOKA SAXOPHONE CHOIR, THE MERRY WINDS Clarinet Quartet, Award-winning Students from INSPIRING SOUNDS MUSIC STUDIO, ‘JUST 8’ the popular Jazz Vocal Ensemble, The GRAVENHURST SAXOPHONE QUARTET, GEORGE KADWELL & KATHY KILBOURNE, …just to name a FEW...and various COMEDY ACTS in-between to keep you laughing! Keep watching this site for further updates. We have a few surprise spectacular performers participating!

Doors open at 6pm that evening with surprises, cash bar, and entertainment in the Trillium Court pre-show. Refreshments will be served after the show as well!

A Mine Free World Foundation!

The 'Muskoka Bike Bank Workshop' is a $6,000US project that will see a much-needed bicycle depot and repair shop built in rural Cambodia. This workshop will also teach bicycle repair to rural students. So far, close to $2,000 has been donated towards the purchase of bicycles, with another promised $6,000 coming from area Rotary clubs. We need a rural depot center in Cambodia to distribute and repair these bikes!

The 'Muskoka Bike Bank Workshop' is one of the many projects under the Canadian registered non-profit organization 'A Mine Free World Foundation'(AMFW) - an organization providing educational and beneficial projects and programs for students and landmine victims in developing countries. This organization, founded by Kitchener, Ontario author and publicist, Maria van Santen, is pleased to announce Lisa McCoy, as the new Exectutive Director. We welcome on board Muskoka AMFW Team Members Doug Banwell from Huntsville and Dan Blix from Gravenhurst.

Thanks to Dan Blix of Gravenhurst for designing the fabulous 'Muskoka Talent Festival' poster. For great graphic desogn or Ad work, you can contact Dan at:
Dan Blix Ad Services,705 687-4555 or Dan's Advertising Design:

Also, new to the Board of A Mine Free World, is Ronnie Yimsut, a landscape architect, author, activist and Khmer Rouge genocide survivor. Ronnie is also the Project Manager of the Bakong Technical College project - a college providing academic and vocational education in rural impoverished Siem Reap province in Cambodia. Ronnie, along with Lisa co-manage The Bike Bank Project here in Canada and the US. See:

To make a donation towards 'The Muskoka Bike Bank Workshop', please send your cheque, made out to 'A Mine Free World Foundation' to Box 53, Gravenhurst, ON, Canada, P!P 1T5.

Rotarians and Friends from District 7070, and beyond, are joining Chris Synder, Dr. Nina Cole, and myself on a two-week Sweat Equity Trip to Cambodia this November. We will be building the first 2 buildings at the Bakong Technical College site - The dining/Community hall and the 'Muskoka Bike Bank Workshop'! We have a couple of spots still open to anyone wishing to get involved in this exciting mission of work mixed with fun- all the while enjoying the culural wonders of Cambodia and its people! Contact Lisa for details!

I'll be heading back to Cambodia and the Thai-Burma border in mid-October for another 5 months of volunteer work, and would be most happy to give your group a presentation on the countries, people and projects of SE Asia.

$3,900 Raised for Cambodian and Burmese Refugee Children!

A HUGE Thanks to all of those from far and wide who made the fourth annual ‘Muskoka School Kids Giant Garage Sale’ such a resounding success!

Thanks to the generosity of those who donated items, volunteered their time, trucks and muscles and made financial contributions at the sale; Jay and Linda Harrison and Carl and I are happy to report that we have met all our goals, and more!

From the sale proceeds, we will be able to purchase the 500 flip-flops and school uniforms for the children at the newly completed ‘Muskoka School’, now in use in rural Siem Reap province in Cambodia! Theses clothes may be the only good set of new clothes that these children have ever had!

$205 was raised in ‘Embracelets’ donations at the sale. This project sponsors Cambodian student girls to attend English school in Cambodia through the sale of bracelets that they make themselves. Your donation of $7 towards a bracelet provides a month of school!

Through the generosity of John Chow of Toronto, who arrived at the sale and contributed $1,000, we can now provide 20 bicycles for rural students in Cambodia who have no way to get to school.

Also, $400 from sale proceeds will be given towards computer training courses and educational supplies for Burmese refugee students on the Thai-Burma border.

Thank you to ‘Muskoka Party Rentals’ of Bracebridge for their use of tents, Father Joe Moran and St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church for their loan of tables, and to superwoman and owner of ‘New Stuff’, Gravenhurst, Mary Woodall for her efforts and contributions!

Many thanks to the following volunteers and contributors who made a big difference in the lives of many children in South East Asia:

Bill and Dora Rathbun, Dan and Linda Blix, Denise Falko, Sue Gibson and her trailer, the Rotary Clubs of Muskoka and Orillia, Marlyn Goodwin, Dr. Nina Cole of Toronto, Dan Crawley of Washago, Ditchburn House, Pam Dunlop, Sue Stockdale, Steve and Eva McCoy for site use, Bill Kinghorn, David Bryce, Kim Barlow, Inge Fritz, Steve Thomas, Andy and Georgie McCoy, Mike and Darlene, Sue and Jon Gurr of Moonview Gallery in Bala, Frank and Penny Prazak, Barb Trimble and to the countless others who contributed in one way or another.

Thanks also goes to Muskoka's fine press for their continuing support: Muskoka Today, What's Up Muskoka, Muskoka Magazine, The Gravenhurst Banner and the Bracebridge Examiner!

Thanks again Muskoka for your enthusiasm and big hearts!

Proud to Be Awarded a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow!

I'm proud and priviledged to be a member of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada, and humbled and honored to have received a Paul Harris Fellow last month at our annual Rotary President's Night Gala at the New Muskoka Bay Clubhouse.