2016 Golden Leaf Dine & Dance Thank you

The Bezanson Ag Society and the West Smoky Legion #244 would like to extend their thanks to everyone that came out to support the 2016 Golden Leaf Dine and Dance this past Saturday.  The event was sold out again this year, we are so honoured to host an event that everyone can enjoy year after year.

We would like to say thank you to all of those people that volunteered their time organizing the event, running games during the night and making sure that we all got fed. The effort that these members put into this event is nothing short of amazing!

Special thanks to;

Our caterer, Chef Ray from Lefty’s Cafe, and his team for providing a wonderful meal.

Night Ryders for their great music during the evening.

Eugene Auclair for sharing his auctioneering talents to sell our live auction items.

Our bartenders, janitor and security guards for making sure that everything ran smoothly.

And last but not least – our sponsors. Every business and community member that donated or purchased auction items, or sponsored our event — thank you for your generosity!

GoldenLeaf - Gold&Silver Sponsors 2016 GoldenLeaf - Gold&Silver Sponsors 2016


It’s Poppy Season

PoppyFrom the last Friday in October until November 11 we wear poppies as a symbol of respect to those Canadians who have served to protect the freedom we enjoy in our country.  Approximately 110,000 military personnel died during World War 1 and World War 2 and it is estimated that at least three times that many were wounded or bear the scars and mental anguish associated with war.

While it has been suggested the proper place to wear a poppy is on the left side close to the heart, however all in all no matter how a poppy is worn or for how long  is a personal choice and still shows the respect it was designed to show.

Funds raised through the West Smoky Legion #244’s poppy campaign are used to assist armed forces personnel in need and fund such endeavours as the essay and poster contests which will once again be held at the Bezanson School this year (2016).

The school will be hosting this years Remembrance Day Ceremony on November 10, 2016.

Annual Legion Golf Tournament Registration

West Smoky Legion #244The West Smoky Legion’s 4th annual Golf Tournament is fast approaching. September 17th the organization is hosting a 4 Ball, Best Ball tournament for Legion members and friends.

The annual tournament encourages members to have fun together. “We work hard over the year raising money and planning events for the community, this is one way we give back to our volunteers”, says organizer Eleanor Ford. Of course the event is not limited to current members, the Legion encourages other people to join the society as well and put in a team.

This years tournament is at the Gunby Ranch Golf Course in DeBolt where they prepare a fabulous steak supper for players.  A five dollar 50/50 raffle for a  Gunby Ranch golf membership will be part of the entertainment this year as well as prizes at each hole including; longest drive for both men and ladies, ball in the sand, and closest to the pin.

Once the Golf Tournament wraps up, members of the Legion will turn their focus back to the community. A joint initiative with the Bezanson Ag Society, the Golden Leaf Dine and Dance is a night full of fun laughter and dancing that you won’t want to miss! Planning begins in September of each year.

The West Smoky Legion #244 is also known for Remembrance Day events at the Bezanson School. October and November members prepare for the annual poppy drive, organizing Remembrance Day activities and also judge the wonderful posters, stories and poems that the school children submit.

If you are interested in playing in this years golf tournament and membership interests you this year, please call Eleanor Ford 780-512-0990 or Jim Robertson 780-814-0010 to register.

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!”

Swimming with the West Smoky Legion

Swimming Success for Bezanson Kids

West Smoky Legion #244It’s been over 55 years that the West Smoky Legion #244 has been dedicated to sending Bezanson youth for swimming lessons.

“It’s a life skill” says Legion President Bruce Fenton, “swimming lessons have always been an important part of the community services we offer”.

Many of the legions active members attended these same sponsored lessons in their youth and now have children and grandchildren of their own partaking.

“The kids absolutely LOVE it!” says organizer Renee Laverick. “We have kids ranging from 5 years old right up to 15. Seventy three kids in total this year!”

The funding provided by the West Smoky Legion #244 is a huge contribution to the success of the program that ran for 6 days over the last two weeks. Covering 62% of the lesson costs as well as the transport to the Eastlink Centre makes this program super friendly to families.

Of course the volunteers are an instrumental part of the programs success as well. “A tremendous thank-you to all that come to help out. We had 19 Moms helping out this year supervising in the stands, change rooms, on the pool deck and the bus – we really couldn’t run this program without them” says Laverick.

With continued support from the community through fundraising events like the Golden Leaf Dine & Dance (Nov), the Legion is hoping to extend lessons to include life guard training to children 13 years and older in 2017. A minimum of 4 students will be required to run these classes. Students with interest in this program next summer should contact Renee.

If you are interested in helping with youth activities in our community, fundraising or becoming a member of the West Smoky Legion #244 contact us, we would love to have you on board!

Northern Energy Basketball 2016 Season Wrapup

The Northern Energy Basketball team was created to provide another option for girls to play club basketball. Our Mission is to bring Grande Prairie area players with desire, dedication and talent together to play at a high level of competition. Not only that, our clubs vision is to ensure that players are not only developing their athletic skills but also their eating and exercising habits as well as team building skills. All of our players are dedicated students as well as basketball players and most of those girls play basketball year-round in hopes of, one day, securing a college scholarship.

This season is proof that all the local clubs can benefit from more teams in the area. Our team has been able to scrimmage with and play against other local teams, thereby lessening the travel costs for all teams. Overall, building more basketball opportunities for our region, opening more doors for our local athletes.

This years (2016) team is made up of players from Peace Wapiti School Division, Northern Gateway (Valleyview), GP Catholic, GP Public. Tryouts take place after school season and our season runs from April – July. The focus is to help girls become better skilled, more confident and give them opportunities to travel across the province playing against other club teams.

The 2016 season included tournaments in Edmonton, Calgary, Peace River/Grimshaw, Grande Prairie. The girls practice 2-3 times a week including a dry land fitness session. They also take in sessions with local sports psychologist Matt Bain. This year the team travelled to Gonzaga University to take part in the Gonzaga Women’s Basketball Team Camp. The girls spent a week on campus, taking in coaching sessions, meeting and learning from Gonzaga players and coaches, participating in team-building events, as well as game play. They finished 6-3 in the tournament to wrap up the season.

Ally Pilgrim and Anna Vandergiessen from Bezanson were proud members of the Energy team this year.

Our team would like to acknowledge all those people who help make this team a success:

Thanks to the coaches, Lisa and Jessica for all the time put in this season. Thanks to the parent volunteers and to John and Tracy for driving to Gonzaga. Thanks to our supporters and sponsors – County of Grande Prairie, West Smoky Legion #244, Dirham Homes, Lighthouse Mechanical, Jennifer and PWA, Hillside Jr/Sr High School, Bezanson School, Playfair Athletics, Deana and the team at Ernie’s Prosport….and to all our fans and parents who travel with the girls, cheer them on and help us out with organizing and fundraising. Most of all Thanks to our players who commit to 2-3 practices a week, mental skills sessions, 4 tournaments and a week long trip to Gonzaga – you make us proud and you truly exemplify what it means to be a team. Have a great summer girls!

Our website : www.northernenergybasketballclub.com

Photo credit: Carolyn Pilgram