My Volunteer Story – Mark Boothby

CHAPS is looking for volunteers. We have a role for people with any type of time commitment. I’ve read that may non-profits attract people by existing members explaining their experience. Given that, I want to share what I gain by volunteering.

The above photo is one of our Grand Father at the time of the opening of the Legion. My volunteer experience has turned up several photos of family I’d not seen before.

I grew up in this area but pursued careers away for several decades. My wife and I returned just a couple of years ago to a town much different. We wanted to meet people and renew acquaintances so we looked for opportunities.

When I was young my parents and brothers went on many drives through the area. Both parents grew up here and we heard many stories. I’ve come regret that I didn’t really pay attention and forgot most of the details.

I heard about CHAPS and the Cochrane Historical Museum from a teacher and coach Gordon Davies. That convinced me I should get involved.

 

One of my jobs has been to refresh our website whose style and content had become dated.  Since one of my careers had been in Information Technology, I was happy to take on the task and develop the site with alot of help from contractors, photographers and volunteers.

Just recently, I came across this display about our grand parents in the Museum. It contains a very nice write up and photos. Many, if not most of the details I’d not been aware of.

 

One of my projects has been to electronically scan CHAPS albums. I’ve come across many photos of family that I’d not seen prior, like this one of our dad on the right, next to life time friend Bob Beynon.

I’ve gotten involved in research for this blog and for an article series for the Cochrane Times. While looking for and researching those articles I came across this drawing my dad did for my aunt Audrey Brown. I’d had an idea Dad had drawn but I’d never seen him do it. I was delighted at his talent and sense of humour. I’d only heard him called Billy by one person my whole life, yet that was how he signed it.

During the development of our social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube I’ve met people that I would not have without this volunteer opportunity.

I’m very happy to have been involved in a project on our YouTube channel that CHAPS sponsored years ago called 100 Stories for 100 Years.  The idea of that program was to capture some of the historical and simply people stories about Cochrane and area. Those videos have been in our archives for years but are now visible to people on YouTube. The videos contain many interesting and historical stories.

As time flies by, I’m very happy to be involved in the culture and history of the area. I believe that no matter how long you’ve been in Cochrane, have some extra energy, ideas and want to get involved we have a role for you

Get in touch

We have a role for you.

It’s time to renew your Membership

Membership fees for the 2019/2020 year are now due. If you would like to continue to be a member of CHAPS, please forward the payment as soon as possible. 

Dues remain $10 for an individual, $15 for a family, and $25 for a corporation.

The mailing address is:

 

CHAPS   
P.O. Box 2104,
Cochrane, AB T4C 1B8

We need your help in any of the following volunteer opportunities in:

  • Research
  • Social Activities
  • Membership
  • Museum committee
  • Fundraising
  • Social Media

 

Museum staffing future clouded

The Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) was recently cancelled. CHAPS has used the STEP program this past summer to partially fund the salaries of 2 summer employees. (Photo of Jade Lewis and Tim Collard)

With the cancellation of the program, CHAPS is exploring other options for the funding of summer employees to maintain our summer hours of operation.

A link to the Province’s announcement follows: https://www.alberta.ca/step.aspx

Comments or suggestions? Comments are moderated so please keep the nature of comments positive.

Phase 2 Historic Signs Installed

CHAPS recently sponsored the installation of 5 more historic signs. Each sign details a bit of the history involved with the site and why it’s important to our local story.

They include the Range Grill, Murray Hardware, Camden House, Shoemaker shop, and Meat Locker plant.

Thanks to all the volunteers and contractors that helped with the construction and installation. These signs help CHAPS fulfill our mission of educating people about the history of our beautiful town.

Everyone's high school favourite, the Range Grill.
Camden House - 120 3 Ave West
Shoemaker Shop - across 119 1 Ave
Locker Plant - across from 316 1st St W
Murray Hardware - across from 118 2 Ave W

My first visit to the Museum after flood repairs.

Today was my first chance to get back into the Cochrane Historical Museum after flood damage this past spring. The exhibits on the first floor were unharmed but the archives, work area and meeting space on the lower floor were significantly damaged.

I am sure impressed. Not only have repairs been done but it looks better and more functional than before. The area is divided into an Archives, meeting space and research space that is more attractive and useful than before.

Meeting area and one research station

The chance of future flooding reaching the Museum has been eliminated by adding a berm.

Berm to reduce flooding

Gravel placed around foundations

Access to the lower floor has been improved by making changes to the original stairs.

Improved access to lower floor

Thanks to all the volunteers, donators and contractors that made this possible. The history of our beautiful town can again be displayed.

2019 President’s Message

The yearly planned activities of CHAPS was suddenly interrupted and altered during the late evening of March 23rd, 2019. The Big Hill Creek overflowed it’s banks resulting in the flooding of our Museum basement.

Thanks to members of the Cochrane Fire Department and CHAPS volunteers, many historical and cultural artifacts, books, photo albums and other objects were saved. We were very fortunate to not of lost our entire basement and contents.

This event shattered our sense of safety. Though heartbroken and devastated, CHAPS members and volunteers rallied together to repair the damages. This publicly  demonstrated how CHAPS members and volunteers are dedicated and devoted to help protect, preserve and maintain the history of Cochrane and the surrounding areas.

As a result, many individuals, non-profit organizations and local businesses made financial donations to help recoup our losses.

Remember “out of tragedy, good things happen”. Human nature cannot live without the news. Through the local news print and social media applications, information about CHAPS has spread very quickly. This raised public awareness and visibility has helped mobilize people to support our identity, goals , values and purpose.

We must keep and improve this “recognition process” moving forward in 2020. We must move ahead with vigor, passion and fixed determination to achieve our goals. We all need to keep going.

 
 
It’s important for our volunteers to know what an enormous gift you give by simply helping and caring. Thank you.
 
Larry Want
President
 CHAPS

Opening day for Cochrane Historical Museum

Our local Museum opens for the summer with Jade Lewis returning for a third season. Jade with her family and friends have created two fabulous short videos that bring our rich history to life. Watch them here on our Youtube channel.

Timothy Collard joins Jade. In his own words

“Tim Collard holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from St. Mary’s University. He will be pursuing his Master’s in History at the University of Calgary in the fall focusing on historiography and the role of narrative in history. Tim moved to Cochrane with his family in 1984 and grew up in the community. His first job was at MacKay’s Ice Cream and he graduated from Cochrane High in 2001. For the past two years, Tim has been a regular busker at the Cochrane Farmer’s Market and can often be found around town playing guitar with his father. Tim is passionate about the stories that shape a community and he is excited for the opportunity to share some of the stories of Cochrane this summer at the Cochrane Historical Museum.’

CochraneNow.com photo of Jade and Tim

Nothing Really Outstanding – Aileen Copithorne

Aileen Copithorne talks about the freedom experienced growing up in Cochrane. CHAPS Cochrane has a YouTube Channel with over 40 interesting stories of Cochrane. 

Aileen Davies grew up in Cochrane in the home that is now the Cochrane Historical Museum.

She has many stories of growing up in a small town.

She tells a story of biking with friend, Dorothy Reed when Mr O’Keefe, the Bank Manager once offered them ride to 12 Mile Coulee to watch the Stampede Fireworks. They left their bikes behind Andisons’ store. Not thinking that fireworks were after dark they didn’t get home until late. Both parents had searched river and creek areas looking for them. “Our parents were so glad to see us we didn’t get in too much trouble.”

“Dorothy and I had stick horses which we rode over the hill to the brickyard. We also had stilts made by uncle Jack. The family across the road had tall stilts and used to sit on roof of house across the street just to watch people.  Their name was  Kinsley.”

Aileen went to school in brick school that used to be where Holy Spirit currently sits. She remembers looking south one day to see the Brushy Ridge fire.  Students were glued to the windows and the smoke was horrendous.

“I was the lone graduate in my class of grade 12. It was very lonely in high school.” She had classmates in earlier grades but they did not stick it out to Grade 12.

“School was  very regimented. Our Principal had a hand bell to call us back to class. If you didn’t behave you got hit with the bell. We used to have to line up girls then boys and march into school.”

“Cochrane used to be divided into east side and west side. You didn’t have friends from the other side of town. You visited the other side if you had relatives but there was little mixing. Many homes in Cochrane had barns behind them for horses and carriages. Homes had large gardens.” Aileen remembers Auntie Annie feeding a lot of men when they got off the train with food from the garden and from local chickens.

She attended a very rigorous 3 year Nursing program at Calgary General. “The first year you felt basically a slave, we were paid $6.00 per month, had no days off, had to attend lectures from Doctors during our off time and had a 10 PM curfew.  Year 3 you were a Senior and had more freedom.” Occasionally she came home on the midnight train.  The uniform was black stockings, striped blue and white dress, with apron and bib with white hat. “The stockings were terrible.” 

Since the train used to stop in Cochrane it was used to get into Calgary.

Thomas Davies Home

Aileen married John Copithorne and moved to their family place that originally sat where Gleneagles Golf Course currently is.

Aileen tells a story about John’s dad when driving their first tractor. He ran it through a fence into McPherson’s. When asked about his accident he said he hollered “Whoa but the damn thing didn’t stop”.

Copithorne family diary
Claude Copithorne 1920 using binder to harvest grain on Cochrane Hill.
John and Aileen Copithorne.

Aileen says they were lucky to grow up in Cochrane in an uncomplicated time. 

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Royal Canadian Legion Collaboration

Dave Usherwood of the local Legion Branch has been in touch for the assistance of our members and followers. The Legion is planning on completing the Cenotaph. While planning is ongoing they are asking for assistance:

  1. Original Cochrane Bricks
  2. Photos of the pre – 1975 Memorial.

Opening of the Original Legion.

I will update this post after doing further research. Right now, we want to get this request out.

What is our Why?

We want to share our “Why” with you.  I prefer to have other peoples perspectives but I’ll share a couple of my own first.

  • 20 years ago,  a volunteer group of people concerned with saving the history of Cochrane started the Cochrane Historical & Archival Preservation Society. 
  • 5 years ago,  CHAPS opened the Cochrane Historical Museum. This scope of this one project amazes and motivates me. CHAPS saved a historic building, fund raised, co-ordinated with several levels of government , had it moved to a wonderful location and had the building restored as a Museum. Truly Inspiring.
  • A dedicated, core group of volunteers has been keeping CHAPS active for 20 years. We are in need of help. We need to expand our membership, our influence and our volunteers.

In the next year, I want to interview a number of our volunteers and get their perspective on being involved in CHAPS. Stay tuned.

I hope you are asking yourself how I can help. I have a few ideas that don’t cost a lot of your time or money.

  • share and comment on our social media posts with your friends. We want to share our core message of saving and educating about our history to be spread widely. We’re seeing a massive swing lately. Help us keep it going!
  • Like our pages. CHAPS Cochrane and Cochrane Historical Museum have pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Youtube. I’ll be adding social media icons to our webpage soon to help you find and like our feeds.
  • Become a member. It’s super inexpensive. $10.00 a year for an individual, $15.00 for a family. Here’s a link to our Member page.
  •  Attend one of our meetings. We are having more and more educational meetings. Stay tuned to our events webpage for updates. 
  • Donate to CHAPS to help us fund our projects. We have a Donate button on the top right side and bottom of our webpages. Our CHAPS Facebook page is running a fundraising campaign until the end of March. They have been hugely successful so far and we can always go over the top.
  • Lastly, most importantly, become a volunteer. We have a core group but they can’t do it forever. We can use your help however you want to become involved. A couple of my own ideas are:
    • Membership. Help us find new members and stay in touch with existing members.
    • Become a Director. Volunteer now and let your name stand at the September A.G.M. I did, scared me to death but I’m sure glad I did.
    • Research. Get in touch to hear the topics we’re planning.
    • Volunteer at the museum during the summer.
    • Attend or help with our summer time guided tours of Historic Cochrane.

5 years ago,  CHAPS opened the Cochrane Historical Museum. This scope of this one project amazes and motivates me. CHAPS saved a historic building, fund raised, co-ordinated with several levels of government , had it moved to a wonderful location and had the building restored as a Museum. Truly Inspiring.

We have to say thanks:

  • to everyone that came out to our Photo Archive opening. Both members who shared stories and 15 excited, interested guests.
  • the support of the local media who have helped us share our message.
  • local admins of Facebook pages who provide a means for us to share.
  • everyone that has shared our message on any of our social media feeds.
  • to our existing members and volunteers.

Those other perspectives I spoke of:

  • an editorial in the Cochrane Eagle about maintaining our Heritage.
  • an article on CochraneNow about our Photo Archive.
  • an article in the Cochrane Times about a new exhibit in the Cochrane Historical Museum
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