Friday, June 19, 2015

A letter to dad

Dear Dad,

I wonder how it is that two people can love each other as much as we do and yet we walk through this life as strangers with disdain for one another? How is it that there is nobody closer to me and yet we are worlds apart?

I'm almost 40 now and I guess it's me at this point, but I wish you would look at me the way you did when I was young. It's crazy to me that 30 years later I can still remember the sparkle in your eyes and the smile that would appear on your face as I entered the room as a child. We were as close as a father and son could be, at least that's how I pictured us. Nowadays I walk into the room and you bow your head or look away and whether you realize it or not, as strong as I am, that shit hurts and I notice it. I'm not saying you do it purposely or knowingly, but I definitely see the difference when my older brother walks in a room. That's the feeling I want. The feeling that your father, the man who brought you into this world, would actually be happy to see you. Happy to hear about your day and happy to speak about the man you've become and continue striving to be.

I know it was before my 13th birthday that things had changed with us and it was around that time I felt abandoned by you. You had thrown your hands up into the air and metaphorically speaking you had reached your limits, you had no idea what else to do and so you gave up. For the next 20 years I experienced many of the horrors life can hand an individual, and I faced them alone and I never broke! When we talk there is always animosity and that's if you're even listening. I know this is a very sad thing I'm about to say, but it's true. I have such little belief in myself and my abilities because you seem to have none in me. How can a young boy grow into a successful adult if the one man he trusts, loves, idolizes and looks up to, doesn't have belief in him? As an adult I have to give myself a pep talk everyday to offset the damage that was done by never having you tell me that you believed in me or you were proud of the choices I was making. I have to stare myself in a mirror every morning and tell myself I'm great, special, lucky and able to handle anything that comes my way, because if I don't, nobody ever will.

That is not how life should be. At this age I should be confident in who I am and the path I've chosen. I shouldn't have to remind myself everyday that I'm on the right path. But doubt crept in from a young age and I haven't been able to fully shake it since. You can't do what you want and you can't follow in my footsteps, you'd tell me. This is who I want you to be and this is the only version of you I will support. How does a child deal with that? I was punished and ridiculed repeatedly for not falling into line, when truly I should have been rewarded and awed at that such a young child could stick to his own beliefs and have so much resilience. I never hurt anyone, I only wanted to be me. I guess this is one of the reasons there has been so much struggle, nobody else seemed to be happy with me being me. So I guess you're right, at some point I turned my back on all of you. What other choice did I have? But the fact that you or anyone in our family has ever attempted to put the onus on me as a child, truly makes my blood boil. How is it possible that a child could even formulate those kinds of thoughts? Oh wait, I get it, it's much easier to place blame on a child than to accept that maybe you had something to do with the way he behaves.

I know better than to blame others and I have worked extremely hard at becoming the best version of me that I can, but it still hurts. You don't think I wish I could flip a switch and everything would go away? Do you not think about how many times I have to sit and wish I didn't have the memories I do? I would give almost anything to never again have to see/feel what it was like to be sexually assaulted as a kid. Do you know how many times I wish I could never think about how at 15 years of age you sent me to live at a group home because you didn't know how else to deal with me? Was that really the case or was I too much of a burden? Did I get in the way of your schedule or your idea of how life was supposed to be? I'm sorry you had me and I'm even more sorry I didn't turn out the way you'd hoped, but how foolish was it for an intelligent and successful man such as yourself to believe you could bring a life into this world and you would be able to plan/dictate exactly how their life turned out? I'm a 39 year old man who still feels the burn of being abandoned by a family that is quite close. It was like being born into a great group, but as soon as they found out you were left-handed, all of a sudden you were cursed and evil. That may be a bit extreme, so a better comparison would simply be that if my family were all part of a special and secret club, I did not make the cut.

I am now a father myself and when I see how close and loving my relationship is with my son, would you believe that I look at the calendar at times and wonder how many years I have left before my son and I have the same falling out you and I did? It scares me more than anything when I think about my son ever thinking about me, our relationship or the way I look at him, in the same way I think of you! I'm super protective of him and can you blame me? Every person that was close to me when I was young and growing turned their backs on me and then told a child that it was he who turned his back on them. I don't want my son to ever feel that his family turned on him or didn't think he was special and amazing. I would keep them all away from him forever if I thought that was the case.

Now I work with children and youth who are a lot like I was and also a lot different, but I want them to know it gets easier and there are many ways to avoid falling as far as I did or others I know did. When I come to you for validation, it appears that all that matters is how much money I earned. My value on this planet seems directly linked to my bank account in this family and it makes me crazy. Do you not know how hard it can be? Do you not think about how easy it is to give up on your dreams and go do what everyone else does? Do you not understand that if I'm not passionate about what I'm doing, it's literally impossible for me to do?

I love you dad and I will continue to strive for my personal best. I hope one day I do something that somehow breaks this almost 30 year curse and we can get back to where we once were. I do want you to know that I'm aware that much of what you do is not consciously done to hurt me and I'm extremely well aware that we all have our limitations, but if you care about me like you say you do, maybe you can try a bit harder in a few places.

Funny thing is I'll probably never send this to you and you'll probably never read it, but I wonder if you did, if anything would change or you would just read it and look at me with the same disappointment you've been looking at me with for as long as I can remember.

Just in case you do get a chance to read this, I want you to know something! I think and so do many others, that I turned out pretty amazing and I'm still climbing.

Love you dad,

A son.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Do we choose the easy way even if it negatively affects us?

As I continue to come crashing back down to reality after the high from hosting our second fundraiser Soccer 4 Heroes this past weekend, ( I found myself contemplating whether or not it is us as humans that choose the easy way in life, even if it negatively affects us.

Sunday March 15/15 I was experiencing every emotion known, as we prepared to host Soccer 4 Heroes. As the day unfolded I found myself completely overwhelmed with all the support we had and how successful the event itself was. I still can feel like that junior high student with zero belief in his abilities to be successful. Even though I have changed and grown over the last several years and we now have many positive examples to look back upon, my knee jerk reaction is still to think everything is going to fail.

It was after the weekend that I decided I really needed to explore the emotions that lead to this knee jerk reaction of gloom & doom. I realized that these thoughts weren't coming from the present version of Josh, these were stored away many years ago and they still rear their ugly head whenever the opportunity presents. It's like the idea of you being scared at age 40 of all dogs, because you were harassed by one particular dogs aggressive behavior when you were age 8. We have to find ways to eliminate old thoughts and reactions so that we may progress to where we should naturally be physically and emotionally.

Oddly enough, the one song I've always found annoying, "Happy" by Pharell Williams, began playing and before turning it off out of frustration, I listened to the whole song. I have definitely been known to have interesting views on things, this is yet another example. Could it be possible that a song like "Happy" actually sets us up for disappointment?? I know you're probably thinking what the heck is wrong with a guy who can think negatively about a song called "Happy", but just hear me out. Are any of us truly happy all the time? I doubt it. It only takes a brief moment to be taken away from happiness. What if people listening to that song began to think that there must be something wrong with them if they aren't happy. What would be more unsettling to you, a person who showed a multitude of emotions or a person who every time you saw them or interacted with them they had a big smile on their face and everything was just awesome? I personally would be a lot more intimidated by Mr. Happy. Maybe if we got rid of the word happy and understood that we should strive to be content as much as possible, things would get a bit easier.

The other idea I kept thinking about was this idea of making an easy choice, even though it could have negative results. I began talking with a friend and colleague about the word depression. If depression is a mental illness and as wide spread as the media describes it, I wonder what would be easier for an individual that was wondering if they themselves are depressed/mentally challenged. If I'm unsure of what I'm experiencing physically and emotionally, but a powerful and large group (the media) tells you that all these symptoms you are experiencing means you are depressed, where does that leave me? It means I have a choice. I can choose to believe that I am like the majority they describe and I'm depressed. Isn't that the easy choice? I now have an excuse for why I feel how I do, I have a name for it, I can get band-aid fixes to help me with it, I can get a doctors note to assist me when I'm not feeling "normal" and I have a loving group of other "depressed" individuals who are anxiously waiting to greet me with love and support because I am just like them. Sounds like any other exclusive club somebody would want to be a part of.

This is where the easy and hard comes into play for me. I believe it's easier for me to accept and acknowledge that I'm depressed, than it is to figure out why I'm having these thoughts and emotions and how can I make them stop. It's like on the one hand you get to watch movies with your friends on a couch eating popcorn because you've accepted your fate as a depressed individual (and all the bonuses that comes with) or you get out there and climb Mount Everest because you are not willing to accept that you cannot change the patterns of thought you currently have! It's much easier to tell myself I'm a drug addict and that way I can stop fighting what must already be a part of me, than it is to tell myself that I can get these cravings under control and I can stop anything I want to stop.

It is us who controls the outcome and I don't know about you, but I'm fighting until the day I die. I will not have any other individual tell me who I am, or what is wrong with me. I will accept that there will be days that suck, days that are awesome and everything between. I will do everything in my power to look at all these days with the same set of eyes in order to not get too excited, when the day is awesome and I will also do my best to not get too disappointed, when the day sucks. We need to remember that we are humans that send rockets into space and we invent supercomputers that can clone sheep, but we are supposed to believe that we can't get rid of thoughts we no longer need or have use for? That's like me handing you a brand new computer and saying it can do everything, but you can never reset it or wipe it clean!

As always I never want to take away from anything anyone is ever feeling or experiencing and my number one piece of advice is always to find someone to help you if you feel anything is not right physically, emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually. Everyone needs help and just because you do, that doesn't mean there is anything wrong.

Love and light to you all!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is Everything Backwards??

I trust that most of us have shaken off the holiday hangover and we are all diligently back to somewhat regular routines. As I began to clear the cobwebs it was clear that a few things were lingering.

During the holidays we typically have an abundance of social time and for me one moment really sticks out. It was one of those moments that you just can't shake and as much as I tried to play it off, there was little I could do to keep the wheels from turning. A close friend and I had a lengthy discussion about the world as we see it! I know, real light, holiday fun, kind of talk!

It was incredible to me how many things we agreed were so backwards about our world and how frustrated it made us feel. Don't get me wrong, I definitely don't think this was a revolutionary conversation by any means! In fact I'm sure every generation has had talks like the one we had, I guess now it's our turn.

Maybe it has something to do with how I am now the parent and even though I still feel like a child inside, I am very aware of how I perceive and analyze things differently. If nothing else I am thankful for all the communication my 7 year old and I have, as it helps me remember what is truly important!

One comment he recently made to me was actually the catalyst for the discussion I had over the holidays. My son came to me after watching some approved children's television and he asked me why it is that he watches and listens to things on TV that are supposed to be for kids, but if he went to school and acted or spoke like the TV show he'd get in trouble. It really got me thinking because often times I've asked myself the same question as I hear the words stupid, dork, shut up loser and many other inappropriate comments and themes coming from shows like iCarly, SpongeBob, Jimmy Neutron, Johnny Test and many more!

Now I am definitely a very hands on father, so before this becomes a TV ratings rant, I want to make it clear that I believe that my relationship with my son is the determining factor in what offsets this phenomenon. But what about all the other kids who don't have a parent that is always around, always taking to you and who already runs a youth charity so kids are his specialty? Trust me when I tell you that the average youth I meet is easily as daring, has more disdain for authority and is way more outspoken then I ever was. The difference being that when I did it, I stuck out like a sore thumb, nowadays, these types of behaviors are almost routine.

If television, music, internet and media haven't stepped their game up as far as contributing to the delinquency of minors, what else could be the cause? I'm pretty sure that Madonna, who was extreme in the early 80's, is not comparable to Rihanna of present. But maybe they are the same and it's I who have changed. Okay, so then the next logical thought would be the shift in parenting and the family structure. Now this is something I believe we can all agree has undergone major transformations!!

In my opinion the average parent/family are fighting an uphill battle that they may never win. With the cost of living, lack of sticking together as a family, work and most importantly the media and all our wonderful handheld devices, how do we even stand a chance? Nintendo, XBOX and Playstation all have the ability to go online, browse internet, access YouTube & Netflix and much more. So even if you bought all the right game titles, video game time can very quickly become, "let's search the internet and see what we find", time.

I can share more than a few of the awesome explanations I've had to give when my son returns from his mom's house and he tells me about all the new things he's seen on his WiiU and YouTube. My personal favourite had to be the time he came and asked me about a video where Batman is shown smoking drugs, getting drunk and being a criminal. That was a fun one.

Just to quickly make the leap to more "mature" television, I have to speak of Two & A Half Men, even though there are many shows you could use for the same examples. I'm not going to be ridiculous here, but it is something to talk about. This show is one of the highest rated shows on TV and it's definitely a humorous and entertaining show, but let's have a quick look at something. Almost every single episode depicts women as bimbos, whores and typically only valued for sex, they regularly smoke pot and talk about it all the time, not to mention how much they glorify it and alcohol and being drunk is always good.

Now if I as an adult can scratch my head at some of this, just imagine what a child, adolescent or teen is thinking when they watch this? Youth under the age of 25 do not process things the way we do as adults. Their minds are not capable at filtering all this crap on their own. The most amazing thing is these are American Television shows and American Prisons are filled mostly with drug users. So of course their television shows should encourage the youth to get drunk, get high and have many one night stands?? Before you tell me that these shows are for adults and they are on at night, think back to a few paragraphs ago where I mentioned online access! Today's youth are much better with technology then we ever were and they can find anything! Not to mention re-runs of these show play in the afternoon as well.

In other words we have to be so diligent watching and communicating with our children or else... Yet in our world watching and communicating with our children seems to be in major decline! All I know is I hope there are a few more adults out there like me who don't just watch the television and sit there and laugh, they too think about how much these things affect the world around us and the youth that will be taking over one day.

If we can all acknowledge that a child growing up with a loud, obnoxious and rude parent has a very high chance of showing these characteristics from a young age, then is it so far fetched that in our world today when so many youth are raised by a television, computer, nanny or older sibling who is unqualified for the job, they are losing the fight?

At The Josh Project ( we do everything in our power to ensure that all children grow to become successful adults. Hopefully a few of you out there feel the same way!

Love and Light to all.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 is finally here!!

I can honestly say that 2014 was a roller coaster year for me on a personal and professional level. As the name would imply there were many ups and many downs, many moments of excitement and pure joy, alongside many moments of sadness, fear and disappointment, but what I am most certain of is the fact that like every other time I nervously step on the platform just before strapping myself in for another go-round on the roller-coaster of life, I survived.

Not only did I survive this year, but I'm pretty sure I learned more than I expected and I'm even better prepared for when I take my seat on the 2015 ride and this year I think I'll be sitting in the front car ;)
In other words, no fear for 2015. Of course we all have things that frighten us and there are many things we don't like to think about because of the uncomfortableness it evokes, but regardless of all that, I'm pushing forward no matter what. I will take whatever life has to offer and I will greet it accordingly. You don't decide half way up the mountain that this is a dangerous trek, you anticipate all that can go wrong before you leave. So now that my climb has already begun, there is no point in focusing on anything but arriving at the top.

2014 truly finished with a major bang. Most importantly The Joshua Project Foundation received it's official charitable status and on top of how overwhelmed I am with the accomplishment, it was truly a climb I'm happy I embarked on and completed, it was one of the scariest adventures I ever completed. All things totaled The Josh Project has been operating for over 3 years on fumes and essentially everything I had financially, emotionally and spiritually. To find out in the earlier part of 2014 that the CRA was denying my lawyer assisted application to obtain charitable status was a major shot to the chest. I had invested time, money and a lot of energy with our legal team and I was completely beside myself that this could happen. Maybe its part of the world we live in where we believe that if we are paying a professional to get the job done, it's going to get done. When I was reading our potential rejection letter, all those thoughts went right out the window.

Obviously my initial reaction was to go see my legal team and let them have it. I was livid and I wanted someone to pay. For one of the first times in my life, before I reacted I had this aha moment where it was almost like a soft voice whispered, "It was you who decided to leave one of the most important aspects of your life in another persons hands, its you who should pay!" Almost instantly I was filled with a feeling of "if I got myself into this mess, I can get out of it." I immediately connected with the person assigned to our application and over the next 6 months I worked diligently and I accomplished what my legal team could not and in half the time. I have yet to experience such a feeling of success in my adult life, other than the feeling I get when I'm around my 7 year old son.

I didn't know what pride in oneself was truly like. The emotions made me feel like I could fly. I was proud of myself and I didn't care who knew. In fact, I never even made mention to my legal team that I was disappointed or anything. I know I was experiencing a lot of growth when I didn't act on that one. It took a lot of self control and self realization to understand that it was pointless and why taint the positivity I was experiencing by sprinkling some negativity on top.

I truly believe I am on the path I was always meant to walk and I truly feel lucky and blessed every day that I have a chance to do this, instead of being in jail, on the streets or dead. I am thankful everyday and now I feel like my mission is just getting started and I have a ton of fuel in the tank. I want the responsibility of showing as many people as possible what we are capable of and what we are going to accomplish through The Josh Project. The first domino has been knocked over, let's just see if they fall as we had planned!!

Bring it on 2015!!

To find out more please visit as always without you, none of this would be possible!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Climbing Your Mountain

I'd like to 1st apologize for the delay between blogs but to be honest, I'm still trying to figure out how to juggle so many things at once and it gets overwhelming at times. I’d also like to mention that I never intended for this to be a daily, weekly or monthly blog, my goal was more about sharing thoughts and important messages as I continue along my journey. This post clearly illustrates the prior sentiment because I recently felt the need to share some of the inner workings of my mind and what I've been going through. The main reason for any of the work I do is simply based on the belief that someone out there will benefit from it and that's why I do it.

Over the past 6-8 weeks a lot of incredible things have been happening for me and I've literally woken up several times wondering if these things are actually real. I am so unaccustomed to feeling this positive about the way my life is heading and I’m guessing that it’s a product of my past experiences where I have let others support of me affect the final outcome. It has been quite the climb thus far and I don’t even think I’m a third of the way up my personal mountain. I think it’s definitely a product of the hard work and dedication I’ve put in, as I attempt to re-program the way I look at things and life in general.

Outside of my struggles to accept that this journey was mine and mine alone, I spent way too many years letting other people dictate the way I perceive things and more importantly, or maybe more detrimentally I allowed people to have too much influence over my personal journey. The first step to taking back ownership of my journey was to accept that at the end of the day anything I have ever fallen short of accomplishing were based on decisions I made. No matter what the contributing factors were, it was only I looking back at myself in the mirror and it took me quite some time to realize that it was I alone who had the final say in my life. My biggest obstacle to overcome is that even at 38 years old, I was still reflecting on the part of my life where maybe I didn’t have as much control as I do now.  By that “part of my life”, I’m referring to my childhood, adolescence and teenage years.

I believe that my lack of accomplishing goals I had set out for myself at a young age made it difficult when I was trying to accomplish things in my early twenties and even into my thirties. I’m pleased to say that I finally have begun to turn the tides and I use some of the frustration and determination I had as a youth in order to push me forward now. For instance, I am truly thankful for all the years I dedicated towards being a professional athlete. The memories I have of trying to hit a tiny square on my garage repeatedly without fail, (My fathers idea on the best way I could increase my chances of being a top tier baseball pitcher) day after day and well into the darkness of night, definitely is a positive accomplishment I can pull strength from. Especially when I consider the success I had as a young baseball player. Unfortunately for many years all I could take from this memory was the disappointment I felt when my family didn’t support my goals/dreams of trying to be a professional pitcher. I literally paid zero attention to all those years of dedication and hard work solely based on the fact that I didn’t make it to the Major Leagues.

It almost sounds like that saying we have definitely all heard countless times before, which is “we can choose to look at the glass half empty or half full”. I was a glass half empty kind of guy for way too long and that to me is one of the most important reasons for my lack of success in the past. Life is constantly a work in progress and I am nowhere near finished, the finish for me is when I die, so in other words I’m hopeful I still have a long way to go. What I can tell you is that for the first time since my athletic days and even then there were other things going on that kept me from fully appreciating every morning, but nowadays I am excited to open my eyes everyday. I am finally aware of the fact that the way you view your world is most likely the way your world will be. Just like how I have mentioned many times in the past how perception IS reality, well this just confirms it for me. If you change your perception of the world you live in, trust me when I tell you the world you live in will change right along with it!

As always, keep climbing no matter what the cost, unless your goal is not to get to the top ;)

Thank you for taking the time to read and share and most importantly thank you for being a part of this journey!

For more please visit


Monday, September 15, 2014

After The Event!

It's been about 48 hrs since Hockey 4 Heroes this past Saturday and I'm still up in the clouds. I haven't felt this many emotions since the birth of my son 7 years ago. For the past 4 months Hockey 4 Heroes had literally consumed me. I was literally operating on fumes when Saturday finally arrived and as many of you already know, the weather was not looking good.

We had already postponed once and we couldn't postpone again, it was rain or shine! I can't even describe what the drive to the site was like at 6:30am, as I watched out my window praying the rain would hold off. When I arrived the rain followed suit and didn't let up for much of the morning.

On the one hand I was very pleased with what we had pulled together and I couldn't believe how amazing all the volunteers were, but on the other hand I felt a lot of guilt because it was evident from early on that the event wouldn't be the financial success we had hoped for. I felt bad for sponsors who invested time and money and probably didn't get all they had hoped for, but then an amazing thing happened. My son came up to me with another young boy and they had ear to ear grins on their faces. Both of them told me how this was the most amazing thing they had ever seen and with the snap of a finger I remembered exactly why we were hosting this event.

Around 11am the Sun cracked it's way through the sky and Mayor Rick Goldring, MPP Eleanor McMahon and myself handled the opening ceremonies and had a very fun time cutting through our ribbon to signify the start of the first ever Hockey 4 Heroes. The KidsZone was a huge success as kids filled the rides. By far the human hamster ball races and human bowling attractions took the cake as favorite rides. Seeing those kids rolling around in the giant balls was exactly what I needed and had hoped for.

Raina Krangle from Raina's Rainbow got the Sun fully shining with her amazing performance and it was followed by the amazing Lorne Lampert of Mystic Drumz. You want to talk about a guy who is amazing with children audiences, Lorne is that guy. We finished our shows with a performance from PRO Martial Arts and the kids in their uniforms were unbelievable.

Yes it wasn't all that I had hoped for, but I think I got even more than what I expected in many ways. The connections we made, the smiles that were shared and the realization that we can do this and we can do this often, are what made this event so amazing for me. I want to personally thank everyone for all their efforts and support during this crazy time in our lives.

The Josh Project and Hockey 4 Heroes will be back and better than ever next year and we look forward to continuing our journey.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

An evening with many meanings

Last night was definitely an evening to remember! I had been asked to speak at Nelsons Youth Centre during their Annual General Meeting. It has to be one of the top honors of my young life. Being chosen to speak in front of such an amazing group of people, whom I could only hope to be in the same category as some day, was truly humbling and amazing.

Since meeting the phenomenal staff at Nelsons Youth Centre many months ago it was clear to me what we had to do. I don't want to name anyone, because I don't want to leave anyone out, they are all incredibly dedicated individuals who greet you with a smile every time you meet. Hockey 4 Heroes was created to assist Nelsons with their annual fundraising requirements and we can only hope that this is the first year of a very successful initiative that can provide some much needed financial help for many years to come.

As much as I would love to only highlight the amazing aspects of yesterday evening, I feel I would be doing myself and many of the youth and people I work with a dis-service if I didn't touch on the intimidating and uncomfortable side of the night. I recently turned 38 years old, however last night just before the majority of the guests and board of directors arrived, I felt as if I was an awkward kid again. I headed directly for the back of the room where the chairs had been set-up, and to make my uncomfortableness clear to anyone who was paying attention, I even chose a single aisle seat so that nobody could sit beside me. I then proceeded to stare at the evening program repeatedly in order to hammer home the anxiousness I was feeling about my impending speech.

Finally the time came and I was introduced to the group. I'm pretty sure I didn't hear a word of it because I was trapped in my own little bubble of childhood fears. As I began to speak I believe I even opened with how nervous and awkward I felt and how I probably resembled a lot of the youth the staff currently work with. I did my very best to focus on the many familiar smiles in the crowd and I just did what I truly believe we all have the ability to do. I shared. Sure I was scared and nervous and I could feel my heart pounding, but I also chose to ignore those feelings and power through.

At the end of the speech we all headed upstairs to mingle and immediately my child version was back. I did everything I could to avoid people, I hung by myself and I found things to do that would not leave me susceptible to any of my fears. Then a young lady I have worked with before came over and we started talking and she had a completely different version of me. She told me how well spoken I was and how confident and passionate I was and how everyone could see it and how she wished that she could do what I did. I obviously enjoyed the compliments for a moment, but quickly I asked her how she could see all that while I described how I truly felt. We both had a good laugh and she finished by telling me she was proud of me.

I scratched my head for a second and then I realized that is the most important thing any of us can do for any other individual and especially our youth! We must remind them each and every day how proud we are of them. How awesome their efforts are and how mistakes are great too because without them we don't learn.

The single most important thing to take from all of this is to always KEEP MOVING FORWARD!!! No matter what, keep pushing. Regardless of what you think, there are many other people with many different thoughts and just because you don't think you are capable of something, that doesn't mean you can't do it! Remember that old movie and song line, "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!" That is the best piece of advice I can give. Life is going to suck and kick your butt more times than it will ever reward you and you know what, if we can greet those ass-kickings and failures in the same way we greet a friend bringing us a present, I have a feeling we will all be doing just fine!

To find out more about the amazing people at Nelsons Youth Centre Burlington, please visit and of course we can be found at

Hope to see you all at Hockey4Heroes on Saturday Sept. 13th an all day street festival to raise money and create more awareness for Nelsons and The Josh Project.

Have a great day :)