Young Men’s Adventure Weekend

The Village Welcomes the Young Men of the Village into a Man’s World

The motto of the Young Men’s Adventure Weekend (YMAW) says it all: “The Village Welcomes the Young Men of the Village into a Man’s World.” During their annual weekend of planned activities, the elders of the village place major challenges in front of the younger men. These challenges take them on a journey of self-discovery, teaching them skills, while unleashing their own potential for greatness. The program truly helps to build communities, by initiating spirited, purpose-driven and strong young men, who will eventually become great husbands, fathers and leaders.

The Young Men learn to work as a team when canoeing, an important life-skill that shows them the value of teamwork.

When our president, Susan Braverman, first heard about YMAW, it captured her heart because she has a teenaged son of her own. Susan knew she wanted to do something special to show her support of YMAW, so she offered to make them a custom banner. “YMAW is doing such important and amazing work,” says Susan, “which is actually shaping the future for boys and young men as they get ready for adulthood. I’m so thrilled to support this effort and I’m even more excited because my son, Grey is enrolled for this summer!”

The program offers activities and rites of passage for boys aged 12 – 17.  Young men who experience YMAW will emerge with a deeper sense of their own individual spirit, an understanding of responsibility and accountability, and the importance of being a team player, working together to support each other. In a nutshell, this unique, fun and sometimes life-changing wilderness experience will catapult young men towards adulthood. YMAW is proud of its program flexibility, allowing participants to talk about any issue they may be facing, in a safe environment.

The Young Men spend a weekend shadowing two other adults, figuring it all out together as a team.

Program founder and leader, Brad Leslie and his team have been changing the lives of young men since 1990. Brad says, “It is truly remarkable to see the lessons these young men learn during the weekend.” Adding, “For me, the real reward and satisfaction comes when the young men tell us about how their experiences have impacted their lives and how they see a brighter future for themselves.”

20 of 60 men who produce YMAW with over 300 years combined experience mentoring the next generation of men, posing in front of the custom banner we made for them.

The next YMAW session runs from July 7 – 9, 2017 inclusive, at a secret wilderness location on Harrison Lake, BC. According to the inside scoop, the production planning team has been meeting and they are pumped and ready to deliver a weekend packed full of adventure and discovery. No Girls Allowed!

Avoid disappointment and visit the YMAW website for more details:

Canadian Leaders in Collaboration with UN Women

Doing Our Part to Abolish Forced and Early Marriage

Many of us have heard the term “forced marriage”; however, some may not be aware of current statistics reflecting a harsh reality: each year 15 million girls and women around the world are forced to marry against their will. This equates to one forced marriage every two seconds. Early and forced marriage is a violation of human rights and severely impacts social and economic development on a global scale. While this is an international crisis, forced marriage is happening in our own backyard as well. Children account for 700 million, while people in the LGBTQ community and women with disabilities are also forced into marriage. Canadian law contains provisions in family, immigration and criminal laws which help to protect citizens from marriage without consent, however, these provisions do not address the longstanding and culturally-accepted practices of other nations.

The United Nations Women Not Yet for the Dress International Gala will help abolish forced marriage, with its important and honourable goals! Proceeds from this event will go directly toward funding a culturally sensitive transition house right here in the Lower Mainland, directed by the Shakti Society. This cause requires vital funding to bring hope and provide resources for the victims, once the marriages are annulled. Considerations for positive change, to ensure an effective transition, include emotional support, access to education, job skills and medical care.

Cover of the South Asian Post featuring Kerri Gibson (seated), organizing Director of Not Yet for the Dress, at the recent Shakti awards.

When our President, Susan Braverman heard about this event, she immediately knew she wanted to support the effort by donating a custom-printed media wall and Canadian and United Nations flags to this event. She said, “These victims need us to speak up for them and give them a voice, which is so important because every young girl deserves a chance at a bright future.” Adding, “I grew up in a household of powerful women and we simply could not miss our chance to help uphold the basic human rights of freedom of expression and education.”

Custom-printed banner in production that Susan donated to Not Yet for the Dress.

Not Yet for the Dress banner

The evening will be filled with top-tier entertainment by multiple Grammy Award winning musicians led by Ricky Kej, enlightenment from global expert Mandy Sanghera, words of welcome by United Nations diplomats and First Nations leaders, an exclusive personalized video by Mme. Sophie Gregoire as introduced by the Honourable Minister Randeep Sarai, Leader of the Pacific Caucus, and a chance to bid on a special surprise from famed Italian goldsmith, Gerardo Sacco, trusted jewelry designer to Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Lady Di.

“This event has been carefully planned over many months, with the ultimate goal to raise the global profile of an important socio-economic cause.” said Kerry Gibson, Organizing Director of the event. “We hope to create momentum for large-scale and global change, and of course, we want to give all event supporters an unforgettable and special evening!”

Join us for a Mediterranean Feast including local wines and a fashion show and stand together with The Flag Shop against early and forced marriage.

For event information:

Canadians Celebrate Victoria Day on May 22

Queen Victoria: The First Sovereign of a Confederated Canada

In Canada, everyone knows about the May long weekend. But how many of us really know the reason we celebrate Victoria Day? It’s Queen Victoria’s birthday! She was the Queen of England at the time of Canadian Confederation, which took place on July 1, 1867 — 150 years ago!

On this important day in history, Canadians across the country celebrate with parades and public events, most notably in the Queen’s namesake city of Victoria, BC. The Victoria Day Parade is the biggest and best parade of the year in BC’s capital city, featuring 150 entries including, musical floats, marching bands, and reflecting cultural pride.

Sewn Union Jack and Norwegian flag used as a backdrop display at the Royal BC Museum. Made by The Flag Shop Victoria.

Large Union Jack made by The Flag Shop Edmonton
Large 9’x18′ Union Jack and Canadian flag made by The Flag Shop Edmonton – They were used for the funeral procession for Cst. Daniel Woodall, who was killed in the line of duty in 2015.

Declared as a Canadian holiday in 1845, Victoria Day was typically celebrated with fireworks, cannon and gun salutes, and parades. When Queen Victoria died in 1901, Canada’s parliament officially named the holiday Victoria Day. In Quebec, a celebration called La Journée nationale des patriotes takes place on the same day.

According to Canada’s government protocol, on Victoria Day, the Royal Union Flag, more commonly known as the Union Jack, is to be flown at all federal government buildings. This includes crown corporations, military bases and airports.

The Union Jack was first proclaimed by James I in 1606, when he ascended the thrones of both England and Scotland. He pursued the creation of a flag which combined the two crosses of each nation. Then, in 1801, when Ireland joined the United Kingdom, the Cross of St Patrick was added. The Union Jack that we know today consists of three flags: England’s, Scotland’s and Ireland’s. This is the history of the Royal Union Flag.

The Flag Shop has always carried an extensive assortment of Union Jack products. We are proud to supply Canadians across the country celebrating Victoria Day, which is fondly and unofficially known as the beginning of “summer fun.”

If you are planning to attend a Victoria Day event, don’t forget your flag!

Connecting People and Resources to Make a Difference

Kabang to Deliver Upcycled 5-in-1 Multi-Purpose Bag

Everyone knows the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This week is Spring cleaning at our shop, so it was perfect timing when Grace Myong stopped in for a visit. Grace is the owner of a new and creative social enterprise called Kabang. Now in the first stages of producing a multi-purpose bag, “The Kitsilano”, Grace uses materials which would otherwise end up in the landfill. Through her connections with Melanie Conn at Common Thread Co-op, Grace was inspired to design and produce her bag out of discarded or unused blockout mesh banners. She had a light bulb moment when she realized blockout mesh from the scraps pile would be perfect for her multi-purpose bag, since it wipes clean and is very durable.

Grace Myong
Grace Myong with our blockout mesh banners taken in The Flag Shop production department.

When our President, Susan Braverman first met Grace, she knew it was the perfect opportunity to create a win-win situation. She said, “It’s my honour to supply Grace’s business, which will upcycle all of our discarded blockout mesh. In fact, it’s a simple matter of doing the right thing.” Adding, “I am so grateful that Grace persisted because together we can accomplish so much more.” At The Flag Shop, we treasure the relationships we build with others and we thrive on the sense of community that comes from nurturing these relationships. This connection is about actively supporting local entrepreneurship by women, while at the same time, doing our part to impact the planet in a positive way.

Blockout Mesh Banners

According to Grace, at first, the purpose of the bag was to address a single need. Living in a small condo, Grace needed something to store recyclables while not taking up too much space. When she was not able to find anything suitable for purchase, she decided to make it herself. In the process, she realized it could be designed to be adaptable, to address more than just one need. As someone who loves cycling, and who does most of the household grocery shopping, she designed the bag to be used for shopping, (convertible to a backpack for heavier loads) and a bicycle pannier. With an active lifestyle, including regular trips to the gym and hot yoga, she designed the bag so that it could also be used as a gym/yoga bag. Asked about starting her own business, Grace said, “Starting a business isn’t easy, and having the support of Common Thread Co-op, and a successful female entrepreneur like Susan, has been a great motivating force for me, to keep working hard, as I get my business off the ground.”

With a 15 year history as an environmental engineer, Grace has seen the amount of waste being sent to our landfills every day, and the harmful impact on our environment. She said, “I am constantly encouraged when I hear about people coming up with innovative solutions to address our planet’s pressing environmental concerns.” Adding, “I am particularly inspired hearing stories about people converting waste into useful products.”

Grace Myong

Grace passionately believes the future of waste reduction and recycling rests with our collective ability to find creative ways to repurpose and redefine what we consider “waste” and how to turn it into something new, useful and even beautiful. The common belief shared by all three women: Grace, Susan and Melanie, is that sustainability is everyone’s business and environmental consciousness is a community affair.

On May 4 United Nations Celebrates 5th Anniversary of Anti-Bullying Day

Catching Up with Grace Fenton of Albert Mines, NB

Five years ago today, in 2012, the United Nations declared May 4 to be the official day for anti-bullying. This important day is observed around the globe in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and France. To speak up against bullying, many wear pink, blue or purple shirts to visually symbolize unity in helping to put an end to bullying.

In 2014, The Flag Shop first met Grace Fenton and her mother Amy, from Albert Mines, New Brunswick. At the time, Grace was a Grade 7 student who had won an anti-bullying flag design contest. Her design holds a positive message and represents the importance of helping those who are experiencing bullying. The flag was hoisted for the first time in 2014 and later that year, The Flag Shop was granted exclusive rights to use Grace’s design.

Grace Fenton and teacher Ben Kelly display Fenton’s award-winning anti-bullying flag in 2014. (Tori Weldon / CBC)

In honour of the 5th anniversary, Susan thought this would be the perfect opportunity to catch up with Grace to see how she’s been doing. During our conversation, Grace remembered fondly how she created 13 versions of her design before deciding which one to enter into the school contest. She admits experiencing several bullying incidents while in middle school and recalls that through this design effort and contest, overall awareness improved and incidents of bullying became less common. Grateful for the opportunity, Grace was proud to be a part of something that helped students to feel safe to open up and talk. She said, “Talking about bullying is so important so that people who are being bullied know they are not alone. I think if someone is being bullied, it’s hard to open up about it, so when we all talk about the subject, it makes it easier for people to ask for help.”

Grace remembered one day when a shy student approached her to talk because she was being bullied. Grace recalled, “I tried to help her through it. I really believe she felt safe to talk to me because I was known around the school as someone with a clear voice against bullying.” Adding, “Bullying happens every day.  It’s all around us but people just don’t talk about it. You only know it’s happening if you see it with your own eyes. And when you see it, no matter who you are, you have the power to stop it by speaking up.”  What wise words from a teen who experienced bullying and rose above it all to make a positive difference for others! These days, Grace keeps herself very busy and enjoys helping out with the school breakfast program.

At The Flag Shop, many of us have been impacted by bullying, either directly or indirectly, and we are honoured to support this cause, doing everything we can by providing schools and other organizations with the tools and resources to create increased awareness.  We are proud of our school fundraising program, enabling schools to open up important dialogue while raising money for school programming. Grace, we love your awesome design, which we used as the visual focus in all of our anti-bullying products.  Nothing says it better than the creative flair and insight of a caring student from Albert Mines, NB!