GNAG Executive Director
GNAG, the back-to-school edition
It’s hard to believe the days of summer are gone. They literally flew by among a whirlwind of tornado warnings, gallons of sunscreen and enough freezies to raise a penguin. We ran 170 camps this year, close to our pre-pandemic levels, made possible by the many people working hard behind the scenes. I’d like to extend my gratitude to our full-time team, all the coordinators and counsellors, the junior leaders and especially the amazing volunteers. And to the City of Ottawa staff in the building, thank you for enduring the “all around the centre games” – we hope they lived up to their name.
Fall Program Registration
Fall registration opened on August 29 and while some of our programs sold out right away, others still have spots available! Check out the Fall Program Guide at www.gnag.ca, and please contact the front office or email@example.com if you have any questions about our programs.
The Glebe House Tour
As you may have seen in the last edition of the Glebe Report, the Glebe House Tour is back on Sunday, September 17, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Explore how five homes have breathed new life into older properties and join us for tea and baked goods at the Glebe Community Centre after the event. The money raised from this event goes to the Community Development Fund to help children with special needs attend programs here at GNAG.
As I write this article, there are still some tickets left! Register through our website at www.gnag.ca. We couldn’t be more grateful to all the amazing sponsors of this event – it truly takes a village!
Before and After School Care
Breakfast Club (before school) and Quest-4-Fun (after school) offer quality activities for children who attend schools in the neighbourhood, from the arts and sciences to sports and adventure games. We’ll keep your child so well entertained that they may not want to leave!
We still have limited spaces, and openings do come up throughout the year. For more information, please visit www.gnag.ca/q4 where you’ll find the “Parent Fact Sheet” or contact firstname.lastname@example.org – we will do our best to find your child a spot!
Changes at GNAG
One of our full-time team members, Lauren Kirk, is off this year on maternity leave after delivering a perfect baby in late August. We are so thrilled for Lauren and her family!
While Lauren is away, we have a new team member joining us, Liam Seaker. He will be covering as the Senior Coordinator for Q4 (grades 1-4) as well as coordinating the Breakfast Club here at GNAG. Liam (he/him) has been part of the GNAG family since he was a toddler and worked a wide range of camps and programs. After taking a hiatus from GNAG to work in Spain for two years, he’s back and excited for the school year ahead!
Another local long-time staff member, Monty Rogers (he/him), is taking over as the Birthday Parties Coordinator. We provide custom theme birthday parties for children aged 4-12 at GNAG. If you are interested in this, please contact email@example.com; we will soon have an online form!
GNAG Annual General Meeting
We will be hosting the Annual General Meeting this year in person at the Glebe Community Centre, Wednesday, September 20 at 7 p.m. We will be reviewing and celebrating the first year of our new normal, paying tribute to the 2022-23 board members and electing our new board of directors for 2023-24. The public is welcome if anyone would like to join us! Are you interested in getting involved? Have a program idea or an initiative that you would like to share? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us all the details!
The GNAG team
August 18, 2023
GNAG fall program brings musical theatre
Over the summer, it’s become evident that the love of this community speaks to generations. We have so many staff running activities in summer camp programs that they once attended as children – a full circle experience.
This article also marks one year since I joined the GNAG community in my capacity as executive director. Starting somewhere new after 15 years can sometimes feel like you are at a new school trying to find a place to eat lunch! The staff here have been so kind and inclusive. And there is no better feeling than walking into a camp with children immediately yelling “Hi Sarah!”
It’s been quite a year to say the least. I’d like to take this opportunity to share a little about how the others working behind the scenes here at GNAG create an environment that fosters inclusivity, friendship and creativity.
- Most people will walk up to you and say, “You have big shoes to fill!” The joke Mary Tsai and I have is that we have the same sized feet, and I’ve literally worn her actual shoes. She is truly one of a kind.
- Paul O’Donnell will LOVE sharing an office with you – he will actually put you on talking time-out because you get too excited when he is there and can’t stop talking to him. You will also never meet anyone who will literally do anything, including eating a box of dog treats, to make a group of kids happy.
- Pete Wightman will whiz through finances, create dream skating conditions at Mutchmor rink and always make himself available to help in any and every way.
- Nobody you know will work harder than Clare Davidson Rogers, and you will wonder if she is a human or this amazing robot who can help with anything.
- The board will be gracious, supportive and open to every new idea you have.
- Chair of GNAG Elspeth Tory’s “why” will be one of the reasons you join this community, and she has been a sounding board and a positive leader with a hilarious sense of humour.
- The full-time team will impress you with their amazing talent, basically daily.
- Kids and families will learn your name, you will meet community members who put in hours of volunteer time – shout out to Trivia, Taste, Craft, Theatre & House Tour committees – and you will be beyond impressed with all the extra effort all staff put into this organization to make it special.
Thanks to everyone who works, volunteers, attends or simply loves GNAG for being open to the past year with a new leader. We could not do it without you. I cannot wait to see how we all continue to grow together.
As fall rolls around, we have a lot of exciting activities here at the Glebe Community Centre. Fall does tend to be one of our busiest registration periods so please make sure to check the guide in advance and see if there is something that tickles your fancy!
Each year we hear from clients who haven’t registered in advance who are disappointed when they find out a program has been cancelled. We require a minimum number of registrants for each of our programs, so if numbers are too low one week before the start date, the program will be cancelled. Grab a friend and register!
Fall registration opens at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29th. The guide should be online a few weeks in advance so keep checking our website at www.gnag.ca.
We would love to continue to provide printed guides but at this time, it is best for us to do an online version and reallocate those funds for printing towards our programming.
The Drowsy Chaperone at GNAG
A chaperone stops the high jinks, right? Not when they need a nap! Let the mayhem begin!
Made in Canada, The Drowsy Chaperone took Broadway by storm, winning Tony awards for “Best Original Score” and “Best Book of a Musical” in 1998. A sparkling tribute to jazz age musicals, the show offers marvelous characters, a busy chorus and lots of dancing! It’s a gem of a show!
The GNAG team with Lauren Saindon as music director, Eleanor Crowder as stage director and Ciana Van Dusen as choreographer brings you the opportunity to work with artists at the top of their game in an encouraging community setting. Our program teaches skills and offers you the spotlight in large-cast, multi-age shows.
Auditions take place August 30-31 and call-backs on September 6 and 7 from 6 to 9:30 pm. There will be opportunities for featured dancers.
June 9, 2023
Summer is the best time for fun and adventure! Whether you go away on vacation or stay in the city, there is no better feeling than heading out of the house in sandals with the promise of sunshine. I hope to see many of you about town over the summer months – you can spot me wandering around the Glebe drinking a hot tea. Yes, I know, I should try it iced, but for some reason I still like it hot, even when it’s 40 degrees. (Feel free to tease me about it!)
GNAG Arts and Christopher Griffin Donation Auction
GNAG Arts was back at the Glebe Community Centre this May, featuring more than 50 gorgeous pieces from local and emerging artists! This art show allows community members to purchase pieces directly from the seller and connect with the artist. Thank you to Clare Davidson Rogers and her volunteers, Kathrin Von Dehn and Clare Pearson, who hung each piece with care on our walls! The show will be up till June 14, so please come by and take a peek.
Christopher Griffin, a local professional artist, donated an auction piece as a spring fundraiser for GNAG. His piece (pictured above) “Gentle North Allows Grace’’ is valued at $1,700 and was auctioned off online on June 8. Proceeds are earmarked to hire an Integration Support Worker to cater to children with special needs who participate in our Summer Camps. Thank you, Christopher, for your kind support and the beautiful work of art.
Unleash your talent with GNAG’s Summer Acting Workshop Series
Ignite your passion for acting and your creative potential this summer! Join us for an exclusive acting workshop series led by some of Ottawa’s most experienced actors and directors. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced performer (or just curious), this immersive program is designed to teach you the art of improvisation, the tricks of the trade and the essential audition techniques that will elevate your acting skills.
Led by a talented lineup of industry professionals, this workshop series offers a transformative experience. Through dynamic improv exercises, participants will enhance their spontaneity and collaborative skills. They will also gain invaluable insights into character development, script analysis and impactful storytelling. Plus, expert guidance on audition techniques will give you the edge you need to shine in auditions and secure coveted roles.
Whether you dream of hitting the stage or getting in front of a camera, join us this summer. These are stand-alone workshops, so register for one or many, the choice is yours – who knows where it will lead!
Glebe House Tour
September 17, 2023
Would you like to sponsor one of GNAG’s most popular fundraisers? This fall, the annual Glebe House Tour will feature five unique homes in the neighbourhood for 400 ticket holders to visit. This year, the fundraiser is dedicated to supporting our Integration Support Program for 2024. Our dedicated integration support workers utilize their unique expertise to enhance the well-being, dignity, development and independence of children and youth with special needs during their camp adventures. By removing barriers and fostering a positive environment, these workers ensure an enjoyable camp experience that would otherwise be challenging to attain. We are hoping to raise enough funds from the House Tour to extend this role into specialty programming throughout the entire year.
This sell-out event has often been featured in the Homes section of the Citizen and gets excellent coverage in the Glebe Report. We have also been covered in many online design blogs and in the Ottawa Magazine House and Home edition.
If you are interested in more details on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Clare Davidson Rogers at email@example.com.
Summer Camp Availability
Tykes (3 years- entering JK)
We still have space left in this weekly half-day camp filled with crafts, games, adventure and learning – the perfect combination to get your little tyke hooked on summer camps! It’s also a great way to introduce your child to programming at GNAG and will help prepare them for Q4 or any after-school activities they may attend next year.
We also have a selection of adult programs this summer, including the acting mentioned above, belly dance, pottery and morning fitness. Check out the program guide online.
Happy Summer Glebe!
The entire team wishes you and your families a safe and happy start to this summer season. We hope it is filled with family, vacations, barbeques . . . and maybe some GNAG programming!
“Gentle North Allows Grace’’
by Christopher Griffin
May 12, 2023
When we were young, a lot of us were told to do good things for others with a promise of good things coming back to us. It seems so simple when you are small, but then you grow up and realize that kindness and good deeds are always best when they are truly from the heart. It’s that moment when you hold the door open for someone behind you or, in my case, baking something sweet for someone you care about. It can also come in the form of a larger donation of your time by volunteering at a local community centre.
Personally, I volunteer at another non-profit organization a few times a year. This has connected me with some amazing people and strengthened friendships. This year, GNAG team member Lauren Kirk joined me to help support a large charity event. The event was a great learning experience and gave us several ideas to bring back to Taste in the Glebe, including the digital photobooth– which was a hit!
Volunteerism comes in many forms and brings together people of all ages to unite around a common cause. We are very lucky at GNAG to have a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated members of our organization and the community. We also have many other volunteers of all ages who help us throughout the year, from teenagers looking to get childcare experience, to the “dish darlings,” a group of women who come each year to wash all the dishes during Taste in the Glebe. We also have several committees that include community volunteers to help with various events: Taste in the Glebe, The House Tour, GNAG Theatre and more.
This year, the full-time team did several acts of volunteerism, most recently signing up to join the Glebe BIA in Cleaning up the Capital! Clare, Paul, John, Pete and I took the assignment of picking up garbage from the Queensway to First Avenue. I’m proud to be among a big crowd working hard to get rid of the winter garbage in the city to honour Earth Day.
One sad effect of the pandemic was that for a long time, extra people (not staff or clients) were not allowed in the building so volunteering was put on pause for several years. If we want to move forward and provide quality events and programming, we need to build back that base. If you are reading this article and think that you want to be a part of something at GNAG, please reach out anytime to Katie Toogood, our youth volunteer coordinator, or Clare Davidson Rogers, our adult volunteer coordinator, by filling out the form on our volunteer page at gnag.ca/volunteering. We would love to hear from you and have you help at one of our events!
Wizard of Oz
Speaking of talent, I had the pleasure of helping with and attending the amazing production of the Wizard of Oz. The show was of such high quality that it didn’t feel like we were in the Glebe Community Centre anymore but that we had been transported to the Land of Oz. I am truly impressed with all the gifted individuals who acted, created sets and props, and helped bring one of my favourite stories to life. This was the first musical production since 2019, and it was so special to have it back at GNAG.
There were so many volunteers and individuals who made this performance possible. Although most of them don’t ask for recognition, I want to hand out some accolades for their enthusiastic involvement.
A giant heartfelt thank you goes out to:
Eleanor Crowder, our fearless and kind director; Lauren Saindon, the beyond-talented musical director; Nicole Sauvé, known for her patience and choreography; Lauren Kirk, esteemed for her management and calmness in the face of anything; and Paul O’Donnell, our multi-talented production manager who can lift really heavy things.
To Luc Asselin for taking on assistant stage manager as a volunteer; David Magladry for lighting up our show and the yellow brick road; Susan Irvine and team for the gorgeous costumes; Chris Joslin for volunteering to do the complicated animation for this show; Jennifer Ford, our extremely creative creative director and her team; and finally to set designer David Harris who made the Emerald City sparkle.
To Clare Davidson Rogers, who is always truly dedicated and invested in every event (and GNAG), thanks to you and the team of volunteers that did front of house for this show!
To the cast, crew and other volunteers involved, thank you for making this live theatre performance truly magical – there is really no place like home, and we were so glad to have you back.
Editor’s note: see more on The Wizard of Oz elsewhere in this issue of the Glebe Report.