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Well, this took me a very long time to decide on. My dream vacation? Hmm… I’ve never officially been on a vacation or planned one, but I’ve certainly thought about many. Who I’d bring, what we’d do, where we’d go, whether or not there would be a romance…… Just kidding, my life isn’t exciting enough for that to happen. But seriously, I have never been outside of Canada, and the farthest from Ontario I’ve been is Saskatchewan. So having an opportunity to WIN a trip somewhere with S-Trip?! That’s beyond amazing.

In case some of you don’t actually know what S-Trip is, here’s a little bit of background information; For over 35 years S-Trip! has been a leader in student travel providing life-changing trips to over 40,000 students annually in over 40 destinations around the world. S-Trip! travelers are encouraged to become global citizens; opening their eyes to new cultures, languages, and experiences. Recently named Profit Magazine’s 25th fastest growing company in Canada, and recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies by Deloitte and CIBC, S-Trip! is a leader in student travel in North America. Find out more at www.s-trip.com.

Cancun, Mexico. Credit for picture goes to www.newsvistas.com

Now, considering that this trip would most likely take place in winter sometime, of course my destination of choice would have to be somewhere warm. I love the sun, beach weather, sand and flip flops of course, I also love exotic places and places I know that I’ll be able to try new things along with old familiar ones. So, my dream destination would probably have to be Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico! I’m well aware as it’s reputation of being a spring break spot that a lot of people go to, but that’s part of the appeal to me. It has white sand beaches, and you can go explore ancient Mayan ruins (and let’s be honest, I AM a history fanatic).

If I had to choose, there are actually four friends that I would absolutely love to go on vacation with, Valerie, my friend since junior kindergarten, Jenna and Kerr who I’ve known since grade 8, as well as Allie who I’ve been friends with since the summer going into grade nine. They’re my closest friends, and we’ve all wanted to go on vacation together for a while. Although Jenna’s a year younger than the rest of us, we’ve actually been planning our grad trip along with her since the beginning of grade 9! Although they probably wouldn’t be as interested in the ruins and history of the place as I am, this is my dream vacation so let’s pretend!

There are so many things I would plan to do on this vacation! Let’s say we went up  for a week, and we got a stroke of luck so it was sunny and warm out every single day we were there, and none of us got jet lag or sick or anything. The very first day after arriving at our hotel and checking in, we’d all get changed and definitely head down to the beach! I’ve never actually been in the ocean before, and 3/5 of us have been, so for Val and I it would be an entirely new experience! After that we’d probably crash a bonfire on the beach or something and make some new friends to hangout with while down there, then head back to our rooms for the night.

The next day, we’d have a day packed with things to do, beach in the morning, go shopping (being careful not to blow all of our money of course), lounge around at the hotel for a couple hours getting food and making sure we didn’t get heat stroke, then at sunset we’d go horseback riding on the beach (in the most non-romantic way I can make that sound). For dinner, we’d probably end up heading to the hotel for a show (if there was one that night) and then back to our rooms again.

El Meco ruins, credit to www.tripadvisor.com

The third day up there would probably be my absolute favourite  out of all of the days because that would be the day we would get to go explore the Mayan ruins, preferably at El Meco instead of the ones by the hotel zone, as El Meco is much more interesting and has more still there. We’d get to go and explore a bit, as well as tour around with a guide so we didn’t get lost. I’d try and learn a bit about the history of the place, and then we’d go back to the hotel and then to the beach. That night we’d probably go into the city for supper and find a nice place to go.

The remainder of the week would be filled with beach time, spa time, scuba diving on the second largest coral reef in the world, snorkelling, and anything else we could find to do! My friends love the beach, and if they can find a show to go to they would absolutely love it as well, and as for me I’d just love every second of it- I’ve never been out of the country so just the experience of going there would be incredible! So, that’s my dream vacation! I would love to win the grad trip that S-Trip! is donating, it would be absolutely amazing!

  • S-Trip! takes student travellers on unforgettable adventures around the world. Celebrate the exciting conclusion of high school in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica or Bahamas with all your friends on Grad Trip. Spend a weekend skiing or snowboarding at one of Canada’s premier mountain resorts on Ski Trip. Experience culture, sightseeing and events in Montreal or Quebec City on Busaway. Make a difference in an underdeveloped country on an impactful student Volunteer Trip. Explore the culture and history of Europe on Euro Adventure. For more information visitwww.s-trip.com.

 

Written by: Selena Wand Tagged with:, , , , , , ,
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Okay, so it took me a ridiculously long time to figure out how I could make an ad for personalized towels interesting to all ages. I went through tons of ideas, but the best one I had was to go through all ages until adulthood. What do I mean, you ask? Well, I mean make the commercial like a timeline. Start out at around 6 years old and then create it in a way that would stretch to 25-30 years old.

So, I’d begin the commercial with a group of about six little kids running around outside in a big backyard with adults (who are obviously the parents) sitting around an in ground pool, the kids all pretending to be superheroes with various coloured personalized bath towels tied around their necks

Imagine something like this but with really little kids and names on the towels instead of stars ( credit to www.mightykidsmedia.com )

like capes, each towel embroidered with a different name. The kids would be chasing each other, shrieking and laughing as they tried to catch one another, the parents half heartedly yelling at them to be careful, but really just laughing and talking to the other adults as that Simple Plan song Summer Paradise played in the background (which happens to be the song that would play the entire commercial) .

That part would only take a couple of seconds, and then it would fast forward to the same group (as one would infer anyway) minus the adults a decade or so down the road as teenagers approaching a beach front in a topless jeep, just like you see in the cheesy spring break or summer romance movies, with one of the girls standing up and holding her personalized towel up above her head, it whipping behind her in the wind. They all get on the beach and throw their towels into a pile, and rush towards the water, starting to splash each other, yelling and one of the boys would throw the girl over his shoulder and toss her into the water. They’d all be yelling at each other and running around, almost like they did when they were little kids minus all of the capes.

I imagine it something like this except more like I had described (credit to www.masterfile.com )

Then it would fast track to being sunset and everyone being wrapped up in the towels and sharing them with each other around a campfire on the beach. Not quite done yet but I’m getting to it hang on now!

Finally, fast forward another couple years, and that same group of teenagers is all grown up all with kids of their own. The very last part in the commercial would be almost the same as how the commercial began, except the adults would be helping their kids tie their own personalized bath towels around their necks so they could all pretend to be superheroes too. The commercial would end with the adults all smiling and laughing as they watched their kids do the exact same thing that they used to do as children. I’m aware of how incredibly cheesy this probably sounds, but most commercials are these days. Besides, I think it would be really cute and fairly easy to film. The hardest part would probably end up being picking the part of the song to soundtrack it to and editing all of the shots together to be 30 seconds. Actually I know pretty much nothing about the way commercials are put together so it’s probably a lot harder than what it sounds!

 

Written by: Selena Wand Tagged with:, , , , , ,
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You know some history of Canada correct? Well if not you should have because you know, we all had to take grade ten history at some point! Anyway, although the attraction in my area is no Niagara Falls, it happens to draw people from all over the place seeing as it’s the birthplace of the thirteenth Canadian Prime Minister… Yep, you’ve got it, in Ontario, in Grey County, there’s a little village called Neustadt. It’s not very big, with a population of less than 600 people, however is one of Canada’s top ten prettiest villages. It also happens to have been the birthplace of Canada’s thirteenth Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker.

Although each time I went to go and try to see if I could go look around inside it was closed, the house itself is beautiful and clearly extremely old. In all honesty, the house almost looks abandoned with one plate of glass missing from a back window and the broken cellar. I went and took some pictures around the house, and happened to be tall enough I could point my camera inside of the broken window to get a glimpse of what was probably the kitchen of the house way back when. On the very front of the house, a plaque was placed there reading ” THE RT. HON. JOHN G DIEFENBAKER. John George Diefenbaker, the son of a local school-teacher, was born in this house on September 18, 1895. A distinguished parliamentarian, he was first elected to the house of commons in 1940 and served as thirteenth Prime Minister of Canada, 1957-1963.”  

I was quite disappointed that they actually don’t have a schedule of when it’s open or anything, just a “Sorry, we’re closed!” sign up in the window. I was really looking forward to looking around because I’m a total history dork, I love to see historic sites and read about events that happened way back when, but I especially love looking at old houses and things like that. However, the outside of the house was really nice and the gardens seemed to be well looked after, there was even a blackberry bush at the side entrance of the house.  Unfortunately right now, I’m not sure how to resize my photos to make them small enough to be able to be inserted into this blog post, so we’ll have to go with some other ones!  All in all, Neustadt really is an adorable little village, but I wish I could have gotten to see inside of John Diefenbaker’s home.

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So what exactly makes a building “green”? Well, although painting a building green could make it considered a green building, that isn’t the kind of green I’m talking about. I’m talking the kind of green meaning environmentally friendly. Having a white roof that reflects sunlight and heat is one example of how to make a building very energy efficient. In fact, if every building had a white roof, the world would actually be a few degrees cooler!

The Hanover and District Hospital building is dedicated to making their eco-footprint as small as possible. I live in a small town in Grey County, so you can imagine that my town isn’t the most environmentally friendly, what with all the boys and their big trucks, our two factories and more farm equipment than I can name, however I found out recently that a place you wouldn’t think would be considered green is actually the greenest place in town- which also happened to have recently celebrated its 90th anniversary; Hanover and District Hospital!

New Kinetico Water Softeners installed in April 2007

Hanover and District Hospital took the challenge to “be green” in 2005. Over the past 8 years, it has implemented millions of dollars in energy-saving retrofits such as; new water softeners that use no electricity which means 76.2 kilowatt hours of reduced electricity, water consumption reduction of 4,544 cubic meters, and uses less salt in its regeneration cycle, meaning 34,161 pounds less salt being sent to drain and back to the water source, water collection from plant humidification- or where warm air that passes over air conditioning cooling coils condenses and falls to the bottom of air handling units where the the water is then collected and saved in holding tanks where it is reused for other processes and irrigation for flower gardens, UV systems to protect the hospital water from being contaminated (which no one seemed to be able to explain to me), as well as simple things like adding a composting bin in the cafeteria and removing bottled water, although those are just some of the many steps the hospital has taken to become greener!

The biggest two most innovative projects that the hospital has taken on in my opinion are the replacement of the old 33 year-old Trane Chiller, which uses the most environmentally friendly products available for its cooling operation as well as passive solar collectors being used to decrease fuel consumption for hot water. The  Trane chiller line was developed with industry leadership and includes rotary and scroll compressor chillers as well as absorption chillers, ranging in capacities from 10 to 3,950 tons. Trane liquid chillers are relied upon for both comfort and

Trane Chiller at Hanover and District Hospital

applications excellence. Not only do the chillers provide the right temperature,humidity and ventilation, they also help reduce cost of operation, provide energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact. With passive solar collectors, the goal is to redistribute the energy collected according to a law of thermodynamics, which states that heat moves from warm to cool areas and surfaces. The simplest method of transferring the heat from passive solar collectors is through convection. Think of a sun room, as sun rays travel into the room through the glass  the heat is directed into the room. It then rises to areas where the air is cooler, including other rooms. Passive solar systems do not involve mechanical devices or the use of conventional energy sources beyond that needed to regulate dampers and other controls, if any.

Now if you don’t think that’s green enough to be considered a green building, they have proof that it is, as the Hanover and District Hospital received the Green Health Care Award in 2008. This amazing achievement was reached through hard work and a mission- as being green is in the hospitals Mission, Vision and ValuesI’ve been to this hospital

Hanover and District Hospital Staff accepting the Green Health Care Award in April 2008

many times (I’m quite accident-prone), and I can honestly say that I’d never known any of this up until a few days ago. Talk about a modest home town hero eh? If they had an embedding code for their video I would have put that in here, but if you’d like to watch it to see how unbelievably amazing they actually are you can click on this link here! It’s things you find out about your town like this that makes you proud of where you come from!

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Well, it’s official, I am a HORRIBLE blog keeper, but between getting ready for exams, working, and sponsor hunting, I never had much time to go on the computer and make up a post-worthy blog post. However, now that exams are all over and the pageant is coming up fast, I’m going to get right on to blogging, except of course when I have to work. I really should get caught up to all the other girls!

This blog post will not be a very cheerful one though, as I’ve been following some politics and I have found out the following things have happened in our world as of today;

  • Turkey: A peaceful protest which started to protect a park in Taksim turned into a whole chaos because of police’s brutality. People started to protest against government and PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Police is using guns, water tanks and gases against people.
  • Brazil: Massive Nation-Wide protests and riots caused by, among other factors, monetary focus on the World Cup and Olympics instead of the well-being of the populace
  • Venezuela: Massive protests and riots caused by unjust elections and violation of democratic rights
  • United States: Texas state law passed despite being voted on after a deadline and being protested by both the people and a state Senator. Protests at the senate growing, and law enforcement called in. – The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been declared inert in the US i.e people of color can be barred from voting.
  • United Kingdom: Government will ban Church of England and Church of Wales from offering same-sex marriage.
  • Greece: Trans*people and sex workers are being rounded up in concentration camps
  • Russia: Government creating anti-homosexuality policies threatening the safety of all LGBT*Q Russians. Never mind that the President Vladimir Putin supports the recent ban on same-sex couples being able to adopt Russian children, too.
  • New Zealand: Gay marriage legalized and everyone has a chance at life.

I know politics can be very boring to read about in a blog post, but these things are actually bothering me, except for the New Zealand one but New Zealand is technically considered the most free country in the world right now. People who have worked so hard to get rights are seeing them stripped away, more money is going to events than to the help the population of a country, peaceful protests have turned into utter chaos because of people meant to preserve and enforce the law who took things too far, and in a state in our neighbour to the south, the rights of minorities and women (who shouldn’t be considered a minority) to vote can be taken away. Honestly, I may only be sixteen, but I know the difference between right and wrong. And the most of the things happening in our world right now are far from being right or good or just.

I could rant on for hours about how much I’d like for the world to change. For how I wish that people could be treated equally no matter what their gender/gender preference, race, sexual orientation, how much I wish that basic human rights were not unceremoniously taken away from people, and governments would not infringe upon those basic rights. But wishing fails to do anything. It is not by sitting around and waiting for things to change that anything has ever been accomplished, it is by rallying against unlawfulness, by coming together as nations to improve the world that things get better.

We are lucky enough to live in Canada, a nation that, although is not perfect, somehow manages not to resort to violence often to resolve conflicts, and is a nation that is known for our peace-keeping efforts around the world. If we came together to incite a change, who knows what would happen?

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What is a stereotype? Well, you know, “You got your… freshmen, ROTC guys, preps J.V. jocks, multiple nerds, semi-cool people, Varsity jocks, Unfriendly hotties, Girls who eat their feelings, Girls who don’t eat anything, Desperate wannabes, Burnouts, band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet and the worst: Beware of plastics.” I’m sorry, beware of me and my mean girls quotes I apologize in advance for future ones. But you understand what I mean right? The category you get classified in according to the way you act, speak, dress, your ethnicity, your sexual orientation, etc… So, what was the point of this post you may ask? Think of it this way, your entire life you’ve been categorized by those things. They determine who you’re friends with, who you date, and eventually what kind of career you will get, who you’ll marry, and who you’ll raise your children to be. If you really consider it, that sounds so boring. You’re always wearing this uniform of conformity, never choosing how you get categorized. Yes you make your own decisions, but most times, these are things that were determined by the time you started school. My point is, do you really want to be the way everyone else expects you to be; or do you want to break those ropes that bind you and be someone entirely new, just yourself and not who others want you to be? That’s what I thought.

What most people where I'm from pictures a pageant girl to look like...

For an example, a lot of people seem to think that pageant girls have to be prim and proper, be smart and always have perfectly manicured nails, the “ideal” body type, be 5 foot 7 with bleach blonde hair, have a perfect tan, has never done a day’s work in her life and definitely will NOT get dirty. While I am smart, those other things I listed about what most people’s idea of a “typical” pageant girl is don’t actually apply to me. Most of the time, my nails are cut short because they ALWAYS break off and I have a habit of biting them when I get nervous, I’m definitely not the “ideal” body size, I’m too skinny for that, but not for lack of eating… I’m only about 5 foot 4 when I stand up completely straight, my hair is dark brown, I’m as white as a sheet of paper, I have a job, even if it is at McDonald’s, and I don’t have one bit of a problem with getting muddy or getting dirt on me. I love sports, like I said I play girl’s hockey, and recently joined my school’s rugby team. You should have seen my uniform after yesterday’s tournament, it was caked in mud. I’m nice and sore today, but this was something I chose to do because I felt like doing it, and because of things like this, a lot of people don’t expect me to be able to make it far in this pageant.

What I actually look like

But I’ve gotten this far haven’t I? I used to fit into a couple stereotypes, but not any more  I’m proud to have made myself who I want to be, and not the person others expect me to be. And I sincerely hope that others choose to do the same. What’s the fun in being stuck as someone else’s idea of perfect? Be you.

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Hello everyone!

First of all, thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope you keep me on your radar, as I will probably end up posting a couple times a day after I get this introduction post finished! I’ve always been horrible when it comes to those dreaded “tell me about yourself” questions, whether in school, on the internet, or an interview. So, I’m going to try and make this as exciting as possible, because in all honesty I’m a pretty boring person. My name is Selena Wand and I’m Miss Teen Grey County World 2013! I’m currently fifteen years young, turning sixteen a month from now. I’m from a small town called Hanover, which really isn’t all that small when, I come to think of it. My town marks the border between Grey and Bruce counties, and most people around here have a little habit of saying we live in Bruce. Although I live in Hanover, I go to Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton, and am in grade ten.

I have a love of reading and music, however I also love sports. I’ve played in Walkerton’s minor hockey league for three years now and just finished the season last month, sadly not placing in our district tournament. I am a very quiet and reserved person around people I’m not familiar with, but once you meet me and we become friends, I’m actually very talkative and friendly. I love to meet  new people, and I’m never scared to strike up a conversation with someone I’ve just met, which might be why  I have friends from all over Ontario, and a few from other provinces, especially now that I’ve competed in our Ontario Pageant, which by the way, happened to be simply AMAZING. Simply having the experience of that pageant was outstanding, but the shock of hearing my name being called as one of the finalists? That was crazy. There was no way that I was expecting to hear myname be called, hence why I looked around for a second after hearing it, realized it was me, and THEN took a step forward! I’ve always had struggles with my self-esteem, so you can’t even imagine the confidence boost that hearing my name as one of the 18 young ladies from Ontario heading to nationals!

I’m proud to be the first young woman to represent my town and county at this pageant, since as you can see, there are no previous year winners from my area. My platform is Suicide Awareness and Prevention, which is something that means a lot to me and happens to have a lot to do with where I live, but I’ll get into on another post. I’m very dedicated to this pageant, but between work, school, homework, and making time for my family time can slip away from me and I can get disorganized. But, I always seem to get back on track and get things together, even if it isn’t always right on time (you can ask my teachers, even they’ll tell you that), which is why I was so late on this post. I’m unbelievably excited for nationals this summer, and cannot wait to get there; I swear, July can’t come fast enough!

 

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