Frae the Chair

I hope this finds you all well and in good spirits as we move into cooler weather. I had a very busy summer.
I travelled with my family to the shores of Lake Huron for the first full weekend of July in order to attend the Kincardine Scottish Festival and Highland Games. It was a beautiful setting and the weather was perfect (a bit of miracle considering the summer in Ontario). My two sons spent most of the day between our CASSOC tent and the kidís activity area. That night, as they drifted off to sleep, they told me they could still hear the echo of the pipes in their heads.
Highland Games are important events for the Scottish Community. They serve as a recruitment venue for clans and other Scottish groups as well as educational and cultural learning centres. They provide wonderful entertainment and help to forge bonds between participants and volunteers who may cross paths many times during the summer. These festivals need our continued support beyond our attendance. I recognize that summers are precious and many of us are busy with family, but clan tents are an important draw at Highland Games. To those who spend a great deal of their summers on the Highland Game Circuit, I applaud you, and I encourage all our members to consider how they can help in this regard.
Between August 10-11, CASSOC assisted in hosting the Scottish North American Leadership Conference at the University of Guelph. Over 50 people representing a number of Scottish groups from Canada and the United States enjoyed 2 days of food, educational lectures, networking and brainstorming sessions. This was the first time that the Conference was held in Canada and I extend CASSOCís gratitude to member Christine Woodcock, the main organizer of this very successful event. Just the opportunity to network and meet others who share a passion for Scottish Culture and History was inspiring. The highlight of the conference for me was the last session on Friday, which focussed on youth engagement and recruitment. A panel of 3 youth laid out a set of ideas for the future that may be different from what the older generations pictured, but has potential benefits for all of our groups. An article in An Drochaid explains the ideas that resulted from that discussion.
CASSOC continues to evolve to meet the needs of our member groups. If you have ideas or suggestions about how we can help support your group, please contact me. We are looking forward to hosting a Kilt Skate in Toronto in January to mark the birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald and we will also be planning a Tartan Day Dinner in April. We are thrilled to welcome Isabelle and Pat Tuskin as our new Highland Games and Events Coordinators. We are still looking for those willing to join our executive in the role of Vice Chair, or as Members of the Board. Please donít hesitate to contact me if you are interested.
Hold Fast,

Karen Macleod McCrimmon

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