Christmas holidays and humbling experiences

Well fellow readers, I hope you had an amazing holiday!

Over the past few weeks, we have only had a few events, but one in specific was very moving for all of us. On December 19, we spent the day at St. Michaels Catholic Community Church filling food hampers for different families across Calgary. It was so fun to meet all the different volunteers that day, have the opportunity to put together the grocery lists, and give families one less thing to worry about at Christmas.

Along with the food hampers, Christmas gifts were given to all the families. I am an avid winter sport fan, and have always had the opportunity to ski and snowboard and think nothing else of it. The volunteers were able to get one younger boy a snowboard and boots for a Christmas gift. The fact that this boy is going to be able to enjoy snowboarding and the thrilling feeling of shredding down that hill or mountain as much as I do brought me to tears. I am so excited that I was able to be part of this event and help over 100 families in Calgary have an amazing Christmas.

This humbling experience made me appreciate my family and our cheesy christmas and holiday traditions more than ever and I am so thankful for that. This New Years my goal is to pay it forward more than ever. If I can change one persons life, whether it be at work, as Calgary Stampede Queen, or just a close friend I’ll know that my goal was attained.

I hope everyone has a great New Years and please do me a favour… HAVE FUN! Let’s bring in this Centennial year with a bang!

Stampede Princess Skates with Mac’s AAA Hockey

Boxing Day this year for me was spent in a different way, but one tradition was kept; skating! The Stampede Royalty and Indian Princess were invited to be a part of the opening ceremonies at the Mac’s Midget AAA Hockey Tournament on Dec 26th. This well-known tournament has been running for 34 years now thanks to the support of people like Ron Thompson, Marketing manager of the Western Division of the Mac’s Convenience stores. Mr. Thompson has been involved with the tournament for 19 years and has been a true supporter of sport within the community. I was able to relate to the kind of passion that Mr. Thompson has for providing this opportunity for young athletes. I too as an athlete have benefited from this kind of community sport competition. I have been skating all my life and grew up playing shinny hockey with the boys and ringette with the girls. Now playing competitive university level ringette for Mount Royal, I look back and realize how thankful I am for the community support I had for the sports I love.
Every boxing day, my family and I get together to skate one the backyard pond or the rink in town and play a game of shinny. This year, I missed shinny with the family, but I was able to be a part of the Mac’s AAA tournament by getting the privilege to put my skates on and drop the puck at the opening ceremony. I was so thrilled to be a part of the ceremony, and so were my fellow royalty. The Mac’s AAA tournament also recognized that the Calgary Stampede will be celebrating its centennial year in 2012. What a great combination of Calgary community spirit. Good luck to all the teams in the tournament and thanks for inviting the Stampede to be a part of this great Calgary hockey tradition!

What’s Happening at Stampede Park: December 26 – January 1

Hope everyone’s having a Happy Holidays so far!  Because with the festive season now upon us, it only means one thing around here:  Hockey! Between the 2012 WJHC and the Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament championships, there’s lots of hockey action to catch this week at Stampede Park.

Details on that and more here:

Make sure to sign up to become a Stampede Insider for first-access to exclusive news, contests and other insider information, and be sure to keep an eye on our official Twitter account at @calgarystampede and our official Facebook fan page for giveaways, special announcements, and more! Finally, make sure to visit our website and continue to tune into the official Stampede Blog to learn more about all of the things happening here on Park and beyond!

What’s Happening at Stampede Park: December 19 – 25

Christmas is rapidly approaching, but that doesn’t mean things are slowing down here at Stampede Park!  We’ve got LMFAO and the Cherrytree Pop Alternative Tour rockin’ at the Stampede Corral plus more hockey than you can shake a (hockey) stick at with World Juniors and NHL action all happening on Park this week.

Details on that and more here:

Make sure to sign up to become a Stampede Insider for first-access to exclusive news, contests and other insider information, and be sure to keep an eye on our official Twitter account at @calgarystampede and our official Facebook fan page for giveaways, special announcements, and more! Finally, make sure to visit our website and continue to tune into the official Stampede Blog to learn more about all of the things happening here on Park and beyond!

SPREADING THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Growing up within the Piikani-Blackfoot culture I was taught that its values originated within a spirit of love and compassion for your family and community, and for humanity in general. So it was very exciting for me, Candice, Jessica and Dani to have the opportunity to give back to the community and volunteer at Operation Christmas Child on December 8th.

The moment you step in the processing centre, an absolutely spirit of giving and the holidays overwhelms you. To see so many volunteers lovingly opening each box for inspection…many wearing Santa hats, how can you not feel like you actually stepped into Santa’s workshop!

After our volunteering shift, we were given a tour of the facility where we learned that this organization also takes on emergency relief situations and projects for clean water in needing countries.

It’s not too late to spread the holiday spirit! You can pack a shoe box online at samaritanspurse.ca/shoebox.

Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world. I invite you to experience a truly rewarding experience. It is a project the whole family can do together.

Stampede Royalty Finds Christmas Spirit in Shoe Boxes!

Our hearts were bursting with excitement and Christmas spirit as we carefully inspected and packed Christmas shoes boxes that are soon to reach deserving children around the world. The girls and I had a ton of fun helping out with the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child campaign on December 8. It was exciting to see all the fun toys and gifts that some lucky children will get for Christmas! We were inspired and decided that we needed to go shopping and fill a shoe box of our own. It was great to work with all the other volunteers and meet some of the people that work behind the senses with Samaritan’s Purse. We learned that this organization does so much more than just fill Christmas shoe boxes. Samaritan’s Purse also takes on projects that involve community development, emergency relief and projects for clean water in needing countries. Helping out with the shoe boxes was a great way to give back to the community during the holiday season! I would recommend volunteering for Operation Christmas Child to anyone; it was so much fun, and very rewarding!

What’s Happening at Stampede Park: December 12 – 18

Prince returns to Calgary on his first multi-city national tour since 2002.

Details on that and more here:

  • Prince:  Welcome 2 Canada, Prince!  Multiple award-winning American singer, songwriter and musician Prince will be embarking on his first multi-city Canadian tour since 2002 with the Welcome 2 Canada tour and will be stopping in Calgary on Wednesday, December 14.  The concert starts at 8 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and tickets for the show are available through Ticketmaster.
  • WHL Hockey:  The Calgary Hitmen take on the Regina Pats this week at the Scotiabank Saddledome.  Puck drop is at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 16, and tickets for the game are available through Ticketmaster.

Make sure to sign up to become a Stampede Insider for first-access to exclusive news, contests and other insider information, and be sure to keep an eye on our official Twitter account at @calgarystampede and our official Facebook fan page for giveaways, special announcements, and more! Finally, make sure to visit our website and continue to tune into the official Stampede Blog to learn more about all of the things happening here on Park and beyond!

Living Changing Moments at The Grey Cup!

As you all may have heard, the ladies and I just returned home from our trip to Vancouver! While we were away, we were working together with the Calgary Grey Cup Committee to celebrate this year’s Grey Cup by helping out with the pre-game festivities. When we learned of the trip we would be taking with this very special committee, we really didn’t realize what we were getting ourselves into…
As it turned out, we had a fantastic time, and I was especially surprised and touched by the visit we all made to a high needs school in Vancouver called Admiral Seymour Elementary. Most of the students at this school are from families with very little money, and until a very special teacher wrote a pleading letter to a Vancouver newspaper, these kids were going to school without breakfast, proper jackets or socks, and with holes in their shoes. When I read this it broke my heart.

It was wonderful to see how the community really stepped up to help out these kids by donating food, clothes, money and other necessities. We were able to brighten the students’ day by visiting their school with the Grey Cup Committee including a few clowns, their official band High Steppin Daddy, and their mascot Charlie Horse. We danced with the kids, the other Royalty and I showed them a line dance, and Amelia, the Indian Princess demonstrated her jingle dress dancing.

It was so incredible to see all of the happy little faces wearing the cardboard white hats that they had each decorated earlier in the week. I am so proud to have been able to give these children from such difficult circumstances something to smile and laugh about. To be completely honest, I was in tears for most of our visit to Admiral Seymour. Seeing these children and understanding where they were coming from made me feel more grateful than ever to be in my position as a Stampede Princess. I am even more grateful for all of the wonderful experiences and opportunities; we are truly blessed. Even more, I have never been given such a clear perspective on how the little things in life are the important ones; the thing that make you smile and brighten your day. These children were so excited to meet us and so grateful for everything. I had no idea that an autographed postcard of the Stampede Royalty could inspire such joy.
I am so grateful to the Calgary Grey Cup Committee for inviting us to take part in this incredible experience. The extremely generous members of the committee also raised fifteen hundred dollars amongst themselves that they donated to the school during our visit!

I would like to thank the Grey Cup Committee, the teacher, Carrie Gelson who’s letter to the Vancouver Sun brought us to this school, and most of all the students. They have changed my perspective and changed my life, and I hope we have helped them in our own small way as well.

Sincerely
Princess Jessica


What’s Happening at Stampede Park: December 5 – 11

As we start getting more settled into winter, the old cold-weather staple of hockey is prominent this week at Stampede Park, along with the holiday lights that facilities staff have been working hard on putting up these last few weeks and now adorn the grounds.

Details on that and more here:

  • NHL Hockey:  The Calgary Flames play thrice this week at the Scotiabank Saddledome.  First, they take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, December 6 followed by the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, December 8 with both games starting at 7 p.m.  The Flames finish off the week with an old-fashioned Battle of Alberta as they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, December 10 at 8 p.m.  Tickets for all three games are available through Ticketmaster.
  • WHL Hockey:   Meanwhile, the Calgary Hitmen take on the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday, December 9 at the Saddledome as well.  The game starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are available through Ticketmaster.
  • SlimCore Wellness Revolution:  Ready to finish this year with a bang and then transform your life in 2012?  Wellness Revolution 2011 has something for everyone with local speakers that are experts in nutrition, dieting and eating habits, exercise, marketing and business as well as insights into becoming a healthier and stronger you in 2012.  Saturday, December 10 in the Boyce Theatre.  Tickets available online.
  • Stampede Casino: Open all year-round and featuring all your favourite slotstables, a 24 hour poker room, as well as excellent food and special events throughout the year, there’s always something going on down here so why not drop by for a visit? Here’s a taste of what’s happening this week:
    • UFC 140:  Catch UFC 140 from Toronto in the Big Sky Showroom on Saturday, December 10 featuring Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida.  Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.  Tickets available through Stampede Casino Guest Services.

Make sure to sign up to become a Stampede Insider for first-access to exclusive news, contests and other insider information, and be sure to keep an eye on our official Twitter account at @calgarystampede and our official Facebook fan page for giveaways, special announcements, and more! Finally, make sure to visit our website and continue to tune into the official Stampede Blog to learn more about all of the things happening here on Park and beyond!

Royal Trio and Indian princess bring Stampede spirit to Grey Cup Parade!

Despite the rain, The Grey Cup Parade in down town Vancouver was one I will never forget! It was great to see such bright faces on the Saturday morning, drowning out the gloomy sky. CFL fans were dressed in their best as they all lined the streets of Vancouver, taking in the spirit of the Grey Cup festivities. To be a part of this celebration was a very exciting and thrilling feeling! The girls and I were extremely lucky and were able to participate in the parade, Stampede style, on horseback! Scott and Pam Phillips from Maple Ridge BC, were kind enough to provide us with some trusty horses to ride through the parade. We were bundled up; hot paws in our boots, heavy rain slickers over our winter coats and red mittens did the trick to keep us warm on the route. Big smiles and lots of waving also kept us warm as we rode through the rain. Despite the weather, the girls and I were so happy to bring a little Stampede spirit to the big city of Vancouver, and to all the CFL fans from across Canada. We had so much fun in Vancouver, and it was all thanks to the Calgary Grey Cup Committee!! The Committee was so generous to the trio and the Indian princess. They really made this trip special for us through all the opportunities they provided, including riding horses in the parade!! As a first timer to the BC coast, I was thoroughly impressed. And not everyone can say that they were in the grey cup parade during their first visit to Vancouver. Thanks again to the Calgary Grey Cup Committee for such a memorable time!

Pancakes, Stanley Park, and Cadillac Ranch!

All I can say about this photo is that I LOVE these girls. When I was chosen to be part of the royalty this year, I was excited about joining the group of volunteers that live and breathe the Calgary Stampede. I was also excited for the opportunity that I would be given to build new friendships. Jessica, Dani, Amelia, and I have already had fun, serious, and goofy moments that I will treasure forever. This past weekend (Wednesday – Sunday) the girls and I had the opportunity to join the Calgary Grey Cup committee in Vancouver for the 99th Grey Cup. Not only did we get to flip our first pancakes and practice line dancing in the restricted space of a hotel room, we got to have some bonding time.

In between photos, line dancing, and eating pancakes and sausage, we had moments in the car, hotel, and secretly at events that we joked and laughed about. These kind of moments were the ones I was looking forward to having and making this year. We had a few spare hours to burn which we immediately used to go to Granville Island and Stanley Park. Both were the perfect places to pick, being able to see the urban-city vibe at Granville Island and Vancouver’s rural beauty of Stanley park and the ocean was a real treat.

We had two pancake breakfasts at BC Place where we got to flip and serve pancakes and meet the locals, it was awesome! To be able to help the Calgary Grey Cup Committee bring Calgary to other people across Canada made our position as the Royalty feel real.This group of men and women are amazing people and can make anyone feel at home. They truly bring Calgary’s hospitality and genuine kindness to people from all over the world.

Thank you so much Calgary Grey Cup Committee for letting us be part of this experience with you, it not only brought us four closer but gave us a good look at how much Calgarians love to give back and live out that western heritage and values.