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SNAL conference in Canada
On August 10th and 11th was held the North American Scottish leadership conference in Guelph, Ontario Canada.
The purpose of this conference was to gather all Scottish organisations and clans from across Canada and elsewhere on this very special year celebrating Canada's 150th Anniversary. One of the goals is to give opportunities the various Clans
to meet, do some networking and discuss important issues that affect Scottish organizations today. The Clan Logan Society of Canada attended this event right before hosting at the Fergus Festival and Highland games. The main purpose of attending was to meet other organisations and share ideas. We also wanted to get feedback from other as to how to increase membership within our clan and also find other ways on getting our youth more involved in traditional Scottish events. We were also looking for new and innovative ideas that would allow us to stand out from the crowd and get noticed on the Scottish scene here in Canada.
This is the vision I have for us. As Clan Logan Chief Ambassador of Canada, I am commited to excellence and actively looking for new ways of sharing our culture and traditions with others we meet along the way. I am looking for interesting ways of reaching various audiences. This requires a lot of thought, organization and work.
It was a very pleasant conference. We were welcomed by Gus Noble, one of the founding members of the Scottish North American Leadership Conference. There was a cocktail reception, Haggis ceremony and entertainment by Celtic group Mystic Fyre. There was a very interesting Medieval Charters exhibit that was held at Guelph University. VisitScotland was in attendance, represented by Mr.Richard Knight. Clan Logan was impressed to see many organisations actively participating and many came from the United States. Each group presented itself and for the very first time, The Clan Logan Society of Canada sat among the other clans in Canada and presented itself to everyone, got noticed and participated in a very important conference. Some groups were looking for tricks to improve and get more people involved in their Clans, others had specific projects going on. It was nice and inspiring to see all these people trying to make a difference.
One of our goals at the Clan Logan Society of Canada is to see if we can work together on various projects with other organizations and forward our interests. The Saint Andrew's Society of Detroit spoke and shared their concerns about Scottish communities. They made many points that should be noted. Our Scottish Clan organisations are dated and need to be revamped in a way that will cater to people today. The world has changed a lot but our clans and how we have been
doing things has not. People are having difficulties bonding with Clan associations because they perceive us as derelict, defunct institutions from the past and don't see the value and how joining would help them in their everyday lives. People don't understand that an institution is an untangible entity that needs to be fed to grow, that by participating in it, marching in parades, participating in BBQ's and so on, you are breathing life into it and making it live again. Today's generation lives through cell phones and internet, things that limit people to people communication. Today's world is a very dangerous one with crazy things happening from bombs to war. People have lost faith and have stopped believing in the honesty of others, each person for themselves. They would rather live their lives by going to work and coming home to their families while having a few friends on the side. Meeting others and being part of a big community is too time consuming and requires too much commitment and most of all money. Now that we know all that, how can we manage to reach people and make them understand?
I firmly believe that there is still hope. Just because people act like this at this time does not mean that one day, they won't come back to our Scottish institutions. For that to happen, the people within an organisation must find ways of reaching out to people in ways they will understand, through events they can get involved in that cater to their interests. Scottish traditions are important but must be explained and made enjoyable for people who are disconnected from them. They must be presented in refreshing ways so that people can learn them again and use them in their everyday lives. Just because a Scottish Clan like Clan Logan has not be present for a long time does not mean it is a dead Clan. It is just inactive. When people stop doing, believing or demonstrating their pride in something important, it vanishes. It is not there until someone else appears and brings it back to light for others to learn and understand again. The best way to bring back a Clan and get it noticed is by proposing a refreshing new way of seeing it, giving it a refreshing facelift, offering something never seen before. Not the easiest of tasks.
One of the reasons Clan Logan wanted to be at this conference was to meet Rianna Crawford, Youth Ambassador and get her feedback on what we should do to get more young people involved. As Clan Logan knew all along, it is important to relate our clan to the issues the young people go through today. Of course, it is important to make activities fun for young people but as many Clans mentioned at the conference, hosting parties, skateboarding or other related activities can get expensive when we consider that Scottish Clan Associations are non profit organisations that in many cases survive on memberships and donations. So, how do we do this? Make our teenagers pay a fee for their activities?? That would only work if their popular friends attended. Based on what I know and learned from this conference, the best way to get young people in our Scottish organisations is to create family activities that include the parents. These activities would put a focus on the values of a given Clan. For example. Clan Logan's motto is Hoc Majorum Virtus, this is the valour of our ancestors. Said like that, it doesn't mean much to young people. That is why at Scottish Highland games I choose to talk to them directly about it. Do you have ancestors? Ohh..you have a grandmother! Do you love her? Is it important to love your family? Are you doing your best in School?? By working , doing your best, loving your ancestors you are honouring your ancestors living and deceased!!Those are the values of Clan Logan!!! When you love and respect your grandmother, you are honouring your relatives and ancestors. When, everyday of your life you love your family, forgive them although not perfect and share with them, you are building who you are as a person and paying tribute to them.
This is why clansmen wear their cap badges so proudly on their caps. The badge itself represents who we are as people, our history, values, traditions, the memories, commitment we have for those important to us, those who gave us everything, those who never let us down and those who cared enough to make a difference in our lives. By demonstrating our Scottish roots, we choose to demonstrate our pride in our ancestors and what we learned through our lives. As Clan Logan Chief Ambassador of Canada, I have a responsibility and a duty to honour and celebrate my ancestors living or deceased on a daily basis by doing things that would make them proud. The ultimate goal would be to be worthy of them and the values they shared. After more than ten years being involved with Clan Logan, I feel I have grown as a person and improved. This is one of the messages I wish to share on behalf of Clan Logan at each highland games I host. I want to share all the good values learned in my life with the people I meet in the hope it makes them better people in return. That is why when the media cover Scottish highland games, they completely miss the mark. Scottish Highland Games are so much more than impressive heavy weights and bagpipes, They are simply not noticing everything else around that. The Clans must share their history, heritage and traditions. The culture visitors get is what Scotland is all about right down to the people who host. The Clan Logan Society of Canada wishes to thank Everyone at the Scottish North American Leadership conference Who made this event possible.
Youth Ambassador, Rianna Crawford
So that's what you eat!
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