The Prescott Journal - June 25, 2003
By Astrid Strader, Project Supervisor, Horticulturist, and Garden Designer
Did you know that Prescott Blossoms' main objective is to give each participant employability skills and life skills training so that they can become fully employed or go back to school? To qualify, the participants have to be youth - that is, ages 16 to 30 and they have to be receiving social assistance. We hope to achieve our goals through working with various community groups and town departments who have similar goals of making Prescott a better place to live, as well as a great tourist destination. Our first week resulted in the participants being certified in First Aid and CPR, WHMIS, workplace safety, public relations and salesmanship.
Every week I'll be highlighting what we're doing. For starters, Lori Harper is being trained as a town tourist ambassador and a survey taker for the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. Lori declares, "Being trained and getting to work along-side the tourism staff and volunteers at the Forwarders Museum is going to give me the skills and confidence I need to better myself and I will be more capable of getting my career goals off the ground."
Anthony Foreman's dream to be an artist is starting to come true. The talented Chuck Street, owner of The Greater Prescott Graphic Development Corporation, a charitable company, is training Anthony. Working around the clock, they have begun work on creating signs and graphics to disguise the boarded up windows of neglected downtown buildings (some may argue that it should be the responsibility of the owners of these buildings to fix them up - but arguing about this point won't get the results this town needs. Kudos to the BIA for initiating this project. Perhaps the seriousness of this neglect will become the focus it needs to be to get this problem solved at the source).
Peter Higginson is excited, and rightly so. To be able to train and work in such a production as Kevin Orr's The Tempest is, well, "Pinch me!" exclaims Peter. Artistic Director Deb Smith says, "We're so delighted that Peter has such an interest in sound and lighting - that's what we were looking for."
Everyone is getting involved with readying for the launch of the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival's The Tempest. Public works and parks and recreation staff will all be helping us out at the Sandra S. Lawn Harbour Amphitheatre. We wouldn't be able to get the amazing stage set together without the talent and skills of Ed Yandeau of public works. You'll just have to come out and see it to believe it!
Thursday is opening night for this world class theatre. I hope all can see what an economic opportunity this is for Prescott - big city theatre in small town Prescott - in a setting considered magnificent by all standards. Performances of The Tempest will run four nights per week for four weeks. During the day, the professional actors will be involved with the Creative Stage's Summer Drama Camps for youth, running weekly in Kemptville, Prescott, Winchester and Manotick.
For more information see www.stlawrenceshakespeare.com. For more information on Prescott Blossoms, see my Web site at www.oifhl.com.