Thank you Bezanson

It seems like there are a lot of posts coming across social media courtesy of the Bezanson Agricultural Society, Discover Bezanson, and Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre and there are!! There are many irons in the fire right now which is terrific for the Bezanson region!

Bezanson may be a small community but it is a thriving and happening community with a bright and positive future!! The influx of posts on social media are reflections of the overwhelming support we are receiving as we move towards newbeginnings ….

The Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre was a project that was birthed by the Bezanson Agricultural Society in 2013 and has involved extensive studies, discussion, research and a great many teams and volunteer hours to bring it to the stage it is at today – with ground breaking and completion slated for 2017. If you haven’t seen the plans, they are hanging in the hall which is usually open daily. What an exciting project for the community!!

Laura LaValley is the Campaign Manager for this project and there are three solid teams of local volunteers working in the background to help make this project a reality. Thank you to all those who are supporting the project and giving of their time to make this successful! And if you need information of how you can be involved, send Laura a message through the Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre facebook page!

Katherine Cissell was the head designer of the website for the Bezanson Community – This is an excellent website and is a continual daily process to keep bringing information to the community. Don’t hesitate to view it and add your stories, your projects and your advertisements for your business. We will continue adding links to other organizations that are vital to the Bezanson region.

Aviva Community Fund – thank you for getting on board with us for this. This project involved Katherine and Laura putting together a great video depicting this amazing community.

The Golden Leaf Dine & Dance is a sold-out function and brings together the West Smoky Legion #244 and the Bezanson Agricultural Society. Monies raised from this event are put back into the community. The Legion’s focus is Remembrance & support for our troops and veterans, as well as community development. Therefore, half of the funds from the Golden Leaf are primarily used for youth activities including the swimming and ski buses, sponsor-a-titan and the Bezanson Community Student Bursary

The other portion of the funds from the Golden Leaf are used for the operation and maintenance of Bezanson Ag Society’s facilities and programsThe Bezanson Ag Society is under the umbrella of the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies. All facilities including the upkeep of the hall, curling rink, ball diamonds and horse arena, and historical markers at the Old Bezanson Townsite are the responsibility of the Ag Society, as well as the funding of many programs and events. There are many grants applied for and numerous donors so we can continue to offer these opportunities! And many other organizations, a few examples being, South Peace Rural Community Learning, South Peace Family Literacy and County of Grande Prairie FCSS help bring out a variety of other programs to the community through the usage of the hall.

The Ag Society teams up with the Bezanson Volunteer Fire Department yearly with the Cash & Camping with these funds going back into the community. Both organizations work together to offer the Farm Safety program offered for the Bezanson School and the community. Along with the Legion, these three groups team up yearly to offer the Bezanson Community Student Bursary.

And there is now a quarterly meeting of all organizations in Bezanson – an opportunity for representatives from each group to share their upcoming events and any pertinent information. This has been steadily growing and there are now 12 groups being represented- that is amazing!! And that is teamwork!

Watch for the future “Celebrating Bezanson” Fair and Homecoming scheduled for August 25 & 26, 2017. This celebration will involve the community organizations and anyone else wanting to volunteer!


Here’s to New Beginnings for Bezanson.

#newbeginnings for Bezanson

Welcome to #newbeginnings!

The Bezanson Ag Society’s Capital Campaign has made an application to the AVIVA Community fund for $100,000 to put towards the new Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre slated for construction in the spring of 2017.

“For seven years, we’ve been putting our money where our business is — investing in charitable community initiatives across Canada, protecting the people and things you love, supporting the causes you care about most, and strengthening your local community. To us, at Aviva, this is just good thinking. We’re so proud to have provided more than $6.5 million in project funding to date, and we can’t wait to donate another $1 million this year.” –

How do we win?

Step One: To present the impact our project will have on our community. And we have done just that in a thoughtful video created with photos submitted by you – the community!
View our video

Step Two:  Vote for Bezanson! Each person may vote up to 18 times for any entry they wish. Voting takes place from 10 AM on October 11 until 2 pm Oct 28th. All you need to do is visit our project during the voting period and click “Submit your votes”. The 5 ideas with the most votes in our funding category will become finalists in the next round of judging. Please tell your friends and family to vote too!

When will we know?

Finalists will be announced November 7 2016. Submissions will be evaluated according to a number of different criteria including project longevity, sustainability, impact, likelihood of success, number of votes, originality and submission quality.

The winners of the 2016 Aviva Community Fund will be announced on December 6, 2016.

Good luck Bezanson!    Vote Here Oct 11-28, 2016!

Serving Communities Internship Program (SCIP) – a bursary for post-secondary students

Serving Communities Internship Program (SCIP) is a program for post-secondary students who are interested in adding to their skills while receiving a bursary.

Bezanson Ag Society has posted internships online – go to to register & submit a resume for qualifying internships. 

What is a SCiP internship?

A mutually beneficial opportunity for both nonprofit/voluntary sector organizations and students.

  • nonprofit organizations gain valuable human capacity
  • post-secondary students add to their résumés, skills, and networks while also receiving a $1000 bursary.Please note: SCiP internships are not intended to replace paid staff positions, and they are not to be used for organizational sustainability. Organizations should not rely on SCiP interns for normal day to day operations – they are to be used exclusively for taking on special projects, initiatives or events that they might not otherwise have the capacity to take on.
  • So how does SCiP work?
  • SCiP interns have done everything from event planning, to curriculum development, to wildlife rehabilitation, to social media campaigns – the possibilities are endless!
  1. Alberta nonprofit organizations register, create, and then post meaningful, part-time internships to help achieve their missions.
  2. Students register, then search, and apply for internships available on the database.
  3. Students work together with the organization to meet the goals and expectations of the internship.
  4. Upon completion of the internship the students apply for and receive a $1000 award from the Government of Alberta (at no cost to the organization).


173 Runners Race the 7th Annual Bezanson Bog

Bog 2016

Bezanson School Runner Laurel Van der Geissen holding strong

Saturday marked the 7th annual Bezanson Bog Cross-Country Running race at the Old Bezanson Townsite. 173 runners from all over our region, including teams from Dawson Creek, Spirit River and Peace River contested the trails at the Old Bezanson Townsite. Race distances of 1.3 km for elementary runners, 3 km for Junior High and Senior High girls, and 5 km for Senior High Boys and adults wind through the forest trails. This year the infamous ‘buffalo hill’ was brought back to challenge the 3 and 5 km runners, and although the climb is tough, most runners appreciated the challenge.

Bezanson runners Taylor Wasylchew and Laurel Vandergiessen dominated the Junior Elementary girls and Senior Elementary girls races on Saturday, and the Junior High girls race was dominated by the team from Dawson Creek Secondary School, who placed 1-4 in that age category. High School runner Eric Nooy from Spirit River Regional Academy took first place in the main event, the 5 km race.

2016 Bezanson Bog

Harry Balfour runner Serene Pelster rounds the turn at the top of the hill in the 3km Race.

The Bezanson Bog cross country race began in 2010 as a combined effort between the Bezanson Agricultural Society, Grande Prairie Regional College cross country running coach Bill Corcoran and Bezanson Running Club Coach Lana Blais. The race course is set up and organized by volunteers with the support of local businesses and community groups. Without the generous support of our volunteers and sponsors, an event like this would not take place. The community of Bezanson is well known for coming together to host events that draw visitors from around the region, and the Bezanson Bog is no different.

Bill Corcoran, head coach of the Grande Prairie Regional College cross country running team for 26 years and organizer of the Wolves series for 22 years says, “Over the years we’ve had a number of Wolves Series races come and go. The Bog is one of the more recent additions to the series, but it has established itself as one of the key dates every year, especially for the younger age categories.”

Janet Sarmaga, chair of the Old Bezanson Townsite Historic Committee, points out the significance of bringing people from all over the region to our community. Sarmaga says, “Visitors to the Old Bezanson Townsite are treated to the incredible scenery of the area and the history of settlement of the area. This race allows visitors to come an experience the beauty and serenity of the original Bezanson Townsite.” Corcoran also points out the beauty of the area. Corcoran says, “The course out at the Old Bezanson Townsite is spectacular. The late September date for the Bog usually provides a fantastic Fall day for racing.”

The Bezanson Bog has seen participant numbers increase over the years, especially in the Senior Elementary category (Grades 4-6). As the sport continues to grow interest from young runners, we have also seen local runners become very successful on much larger stages. Corcoran adds, “Community races, like the Bog, as part of the Wolves Series have been an important part of developing the sport of XC running in the area. Local runners have gone on to run at the college, university, and even world championships level. It’s quite remarkable what the local running community has been able to achieve over the past few years.”

This race was Race #3 in the Wolves Cross-Country Series. The Wolves Series features races across the region, including two school age races this week; the Glenmary Saints March on Wednesday, September 28 in Peace River and the Dreamer’s Lake Slog on Thursday, September 29 at Dreamer’s Lake near Wanham. The Steve Burgess Memorial race, which is also an ACAC Grand Prix race, is scheduled to take place next weekend, October 1 at the Wapiti Nordic Ski Trails. Information on these races, including results and information on the series can be found at

Carolyn Pilgrim
Race Director, Bezanson Bog

ACCA Youth Leadership Program

ACCA’s Co-operative Youth Leadership Program provides an opportunity for youth to develop their leadership and teamwork skills.  It is designed to give youth independence and confidence in their abilities while creating lasting friendships.

These seven day programs take place at Goldeye Centre, located near Nordegg, Alberta in the summer every year. This beautiful, remote setting provides the perfect environment to build friendships, discover hidden talents, learn new skills, gain a positive view of the world, and contribute to their own future.

Each year, the Bezanson Ag Society helps with the sponsorship for a student to attend this program.  Watch the website for further information in the spring of 2017.

Congratulations to Danielle Strayer, who was the recipient of the sponsorship to the camp this year!!  Thank you to  Danielle for sharing her experience!

This summer, July 12th-18th, I attended the ACCA Youth Leadership Program at the Goldeye Conservation Centre by Nordegg.  I was able to attend this camp thanks in large part to the sponsorship I received from UFA and the Bezanson AG Society to cover the cost of the camp.  The program included many fun activities from waterfront to a ropes course.  We played many fun games such as Capture the Flag and Kickball.  There were many sessions in which I learned a lot.  There were sessions on communication, agriculture, and cooperatives.  In these sessions we did activities that required us to work as a group to collect all the necessary items on our lists or to learn the different challenges each area faces.  We learned how cooperatives work to give back to communities and how agriculture isn’t just about the farming, it’s also about distribution and production.  We learned communication can be difficult and there are many ways to communicate.

The ropes course was really amazing when you get to the top and are overlooking the valley all you can see are the mountains on the other side.  We had a movie night and a banquet.  The banquet was fun, lots of dancing and singing with the group.  Nobody cared how you danced or if you were really off key because we were all having so much fun.  There were 64 of us campers from all over Alberta and I got to know a little bit about every single one of them.  I barely knew all these people at the beginning of the week but by the end of the week we were all friends.  I felt at home there, I felt like I could just be myself.  I really enjoyed the week and it was an amazing experience. I hope I get the chance to attend the camp again next year.

Submitted by: Danielle Strayer

2016 Bezanson Community Student Bursary Recipients Announced

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Bezanson Community Student Bursary. Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) post-secondary students Tatum Auclair and Tristan Willson are awarded with this year’s bursaries, which are funded by our three major community contributors: the Bezanson Agricultural Society, the Bezanson Volunteer Fire Department and the West Smoky Legion #244. There is a total of $1500 awarded each year to former Bezanson School students who apply and qualify for the bursaries at GPRC.

Tatum Auclair - Photo Credit Audrey Hewings

Tatum Auclair – Photo Credit Audrey Hewings

Tatum Auclair recently completed her Education Assistant (EA) certification at GPRC. The EA program is designed to prepare graduates with the tools they need to work in educational settings under the direction and supervision of a teacher. EAs are very valuable in our schools and educational facilities as they provide a great range of support to students and teachers alike.

Tristan Willson has recently completed his first year in Heavy Duty Mechanic Trade program at the GPRC Fairview campus. The Heavy Duty Mechanic program at GPRC is designed to train mechanics in the maintenance, repair and overhauling of heavy engines. This trade program is 4 years in length and is comprised of classroom instruction, on-the-job training and technical training.

Tristan Willson Photo Credit Tammy Willson

Tristan Willson Photo Credit Tammy Willson

These community bursaries were designed to encourage our community members who have attended Bezanson School to enroll in post-secondary studies at GPRC or at a GPRC campus, and to provide some avenues of support for those who qualify. Applications are available online through the GPRC Financial Aid department and are accepted each year with a June deadline. More information on the bursaries is available at our information page on Grants & Bursaries.

Carla Dodd, the Financial Aid Coordinator at Grande Prairie Regional College speaks to the importance of resources to support students in their post-secondary journey. Dodd says, “When students are facing financial struggles, it can often preoccupy their thoughts, preventing them from being able to clearly focus on their studies. Bursaries from communities like Bezanson can help relieve this stress and allow them to be more successful in their studies.”

The Financial Aid team at GPRC can help students navigate the world of bursaries, scholarships and student loans. Dodd emphasizes, “Post-Secondary students are often on a very tight budget and every bit of money has a significant impact on their success!”