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November Character Attribute is FAIRNESS.

I will treat others in a just, equitable and unbiased manner.


FAIRNESS is being consistent.

FAIRNESS is listening and being open.

FAIRNESS is being careful making judgments about others.

FAIRNESS is treating people equally and equitably.

FAIRNESS is following procedures.


Play by the rules.

Take turns and share.

Be open-minded and listen to others.

Treat people equally.

Not blame others carelessly.


“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you”.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Print off our MONTHLY ATTRIBUTE card to use all year long.


Character Conversations

Character Conversations is an open blog where we can have a conversation about some of the good things going on in our community.

We will share stories and articles we run across and hope you will share and comment in the same manner. Please keep your postings Character like!

June 2017

The Kids are Alright.

Jun 3, 2017 7:00 AM
Shawn Shepheard

Do you remember how you felt on the first day of school?

It was likely a combination of nerves and excitement.

You start thinking: Will my new classmates be nice?

Will I like my new teachers?

Will I get lost?

Most things that we experience for the first time has us feeling this way.

It’s the same feeling I experience when going to a new school that has not hosted the Slapshot program before.

The children arrive in the gym for the first session, not quite sure about what they signed up for. They don’t know what to expect.

Ironically, neither do I.

Although I have run over 50 of these programs over the past 8 years, starting with a new school brings me back to the experience of the first day of school.

My recent experience with a new school had a little bit of a rocky start.

In the first two lunchtime sessions the children were, shall I say a little too excited.

The sessions were loud, and Coach Shepheard found himself blowing his whistle a little too often and raising his voice a lot.

After the second session, I sat in my car frustrated and thinking about what I needed to do differently.

On week three I started in a low voice (for those who know me that is rare).

I addressed the group with:

“Can we all agree that we want to have fun today?”

The answer was a responding YES!

“Perfect, then I need your help, could you help me?”

The answer was a resounding YES.

“How could everyone help me?”

The answers came fast and furious:

We could stop talking when you blow the whistle. If we see someone talking we can ask them to listen. We could listen more. We could treat each other with respect.

And the program and experience went extremely well after that.

I just need to ask for help.

My Three Big Lessons were:

1) Make your team true partners in the experience. We all wanted to experience the same thing.

2) Show Them, Don’t Tell Them – Less lecturing, less raising my voice, and more leading and modeling the behavior I wanted from them.

3) Give Them High Expectations to Live Up to – I shared my vision of the type of team they were capable of, set the bar high, and they rose to the occasion.

Overall this experience turned out well for all 30 students involved and we received high words of praise from the Principal who didn’t really know what she was getting into either!

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October 2016

The Gateway To Making Hockey Accessible - Celebrating World Girls' Hockey Weekend

Oct 6, 2016 7:00 PM
Karen Addison

She was nervous, admittedly not athletic, and shy.

Having a hockey stick in her hand felt beyond foreign, never mind the head-to-toe hockey outfit.

Slap Shot is a Character Community program geared towards teaching newcomer elementary school students the game of hockey. But this story's focus isn’t about any of the kids, it’s about Markham Gateway Public School teacher Candice Lee.

It’s her story we are telling as we celebrate World Girls' Hockey Weekend, an event hosted by International Ice Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada.

Hockey Canada's website explains:

"This event aims to celebrate and grow the Female Game from coast to coast and unite Canadians through grassroots programming that is led by local communities, MHAs and families."

And there's a lot to celebrate.

The last time Ms. Lee put on skates she was in elementary school roughly 20 years ago. Hockey terminology was not in her vocabulary. Nevertheless, she stepped out of her comfort zone and joined the kids during lunchtime Slap Shot floorball lessons with program manager Shawn Shepheard.

“I consider myself one of the kids learning to play still. I don't see myself as a teacher helping out,” said Lee.

She could have easily sat on the bench and cheered her students on. Instead, she chose to be a leader.

“I wanted to set an example. The kids were always really positive. It made me much more comfortable.”

Fellow teacher Jared Yoshiki had nothing but praise for Lee’s efforts.

“Teachers don't know everything and we are also beginners at things. We are willing to take the risk and try. It's very motivating for a lot of the students to see her do that,” he said.

Both emphasized the message that young girls need to know that they can participate in any sport they choose.

 “We need to give young girls that message that they can play sports just as well as men can. There should be more women playing professional sports,” said Lee.

Yoshiki has two daughters and said women in sport is important to him personally and professionally.

“We want to even the playing field so that males and females have equal learning opportunities. Hockey and sports aren't just for boys. There's equal opportunity for both,” remarked Yoshiki.

Here at Slap Shot, we aim to make hockey inclusive and inviting.

The entire Slap Shot community, from teachers to our staff, celebrate World Girls Hockey Weekend. Let’s follow Ms. Lee and head onto the ice!

Slap Shot Hockey is funded through The Regional Municipality of York and delivered by the Character Community Foundation of York Region.

Visit www.charactercommunity.com to learn more.


Karen Addison

Executive Director

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March 2016

Slap Shot teachers, volunteers and parents reflect on the program and it's impact.

Mar 5, 2016 8:22 AM
Karen Addison

Terri ­Lynn, teacher

“I’ve definitely seen sportsmanship develop. I’ve seen them come more together as a class.

They are very helpful to each other. They are very kind to each other, but the skills as well. They

didn’t know a thing about hockey and they are trying really hard, they pass to each other. They

have all the skills. I’m really proud of them. I love this program.

YRP Constable Meghan, school resource officer

“It builds a good relationship between the police and kids and foster that trust between the

police at an early age. This is a new activity that they’re doing­ so there is an overcoming of fear,

trying something new, putting themselves out there, it’s helping them realize it’s okay to make

mistakes and that’s the same teaching we can apply to anything in life”

Rose, parent

I’m just thrilled. I’m so happy with the Slap Shot program they offer. It’s free, a good experience

for the kids, maybe they want to play hockey in their future. I think it’s a really, really good

program for the kids and for the school.

It makes me feel very excited and happy. I just love it.

Diana, parent

“I really am excited. She had a little bit of skating, some lessons but it’s actually seeing her play

hockey with the puck, on a team, it’s great. I wonder if it will spark interest for hockey.

I’m excited.”

Elaine, parent

“I really like it. Even today I took a day off because I have to be here because I’ve never seen

my son wear the full equipment for hockey because you know it’s quite expensive. I have 2 boys

so it’s hard to get two boys to learn hockey because I know a set will really be quite expensive.

I’m so happy when I see the program at the school. I feel so happy and so excited. My boys are

excited too.”


Karen Addison

Executive Director

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October 2015

I'll be Back.

Oct 13, 2015 10:54 AM
Karen Addison

I’ll be back.

Arnold Schwarzenegger made the line famous and we at Character Community’s Slap Shot program have something to say.

Not only are we back, but we are better than ever.

Our program has kicked off and I can tell you the kids this year are itching to learn Canada’s game.

We are heading back to our Markham and Richmond Hill schools, but we are excited to announce that we have expanded!

Students in East Gwillimbury and Georgina will now get to experience the magic of our hockey program.

Shawn Shepheard (www.shawnshepheard.com), Slap Shot program manager, says this season will have all the children’s favourites back on the ice. Hockey Canada (www.hockeycanada.ca), Ontario Minor Hockey League Association (www.omha.net) and York Region community police officers are again giving their time, spirit and skating skills to help newcomer students learn the joy of the good ol’ hockey game.

Students learn how to play at their school gym and after weeks of practice, they finally get to go on the ice. From helmets, official jerseys to skates, these new athletes get to experience every aspect of what it’s like to dress like a hockey player.

We sing the national anthem. Shots are made and the whistle blows. The feeling in the air is electric as proud parents watch and act like paparazzi.

Welcome to a new season of Slap Shot.  We are back.

Jessica Young, Slap Shot Guest Coach

Karen Addison

Executive Director

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May 2015

Community Superheroes

May 2, 2015 10:47 AM
Karen Addison


 Shine a light on character. The #CCA15 recap

It was my first time at the Character Community Awards  and I have to let you in on a little secret.

In the packed theatre at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts  I was thinking about superheroes.

Batman. Ironman.  All the wonderful comic greats that fight evil and pursue good.

The nominees this year, whether they know it or not, are our Community Superheroes.

Maybe they don’t have flashy getups or the ability to fly, but they often save the day and I know they make the world a better place.

Here’s the beauty: we often never see these acts and as the humble people that they are, they never seek recognition.

Day in and day out, they give back because they can.

On this special night, we rolled out the red carpet to shine a light on all of the great citizens of York Region.

Thank you for being our Community Superheroes.


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November 2014


Nov 28, 2014 9:10 AM
Karen Addison

Every time you fall, get right back up.

It's a motto when you skate on the ice for the first time.

It's a motto for life.

After weeks of learning the ins and outs of the game, the kids were now ready for the big day-to head onto the ice.

Pure joy, excitement and nervousness were written all over their faces.

I'm not going to sugar coat it for you. Kids were dropping like flies at the MasterCard Centre, practice home base for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As a volunteer I would smile, stretch my arms out and say, "Skate to me, if you fall, it won't hurt! You're fully protected in hockey gear!" For brief moments, my words seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

They were scared.

Regardless, each one of them took the leap and attempted to slide one skate in front of the other.

For weeks I had watched Slap Shot program manager Shawn Shepheard turn many shy, apprehensive kids into confident and quite talented floor hockey players. It was inside the school gym every lunch hour that I witnessed children blossom in their athletic skills, but more so in the belief in themselves.

A seemingly defeated player would be greeted by words of encouragement from their teammates. Members of the opposite team would congratulate the goal scorer. At every corner, great character was being built.

It's funny as adults we often fall into the habit of always playing it safe. We are less likely to try new things.

Adventure can easily take the back burner to fear and excuses.

This is the beauty of children. They can be fearless. Yes, they may be scared, but with a little encouragement, it's amazing to watch them persevere.

Try, fail, and try again.

It's a lesson embodied in this program, and one for certain I know participants will take with them in the years ahead.

Jessica Young – Guest Coach for Slap Shot

To support Slap Shot click on our Donate button to view the Holiday Giving Jersey and Stick program.

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March 2014

2014 Slapshot ON ICE days begin.

Mar 6, 2014 2:14 PM
Karen Addison

Character in Action

Sometimes we know the correct answers, or words, but maybe we don't always put them into action. Knowing and doing are two very different things.

The character attributes are no different.

Compassion, initiative, perseverance, optimism, courage, respect and responsibility are  demonstrated each and every time we do a Slapshot ON ICE day.

At the end of a very tiring ON ICE day with the Slapshot program yesterday, I returned home and thought about how amazing the members of our community are at bringing these attributes to life.

Simply put the program could not happen without this amazing group of 15-20 volunteers at each of our sessions.

Here are just a few examples I saw yesterday as 57 Slapshot players from Markham and Richmond Hill took to the ice for the first time.

I get a phone call the day before from Kevin from Ontario Minor Hockey Association, saying that he and his friends at OMHA will drop by our storage facility and help me load the 40 bags of equipment on the bus at 8am in the morning. And they do, and then several also come to the rink and help out.

Tom our bus driver, always goes beyond the call of duty and helps us load, unload the equipment, sort and tidy it up in the dressing rooms and anything else we need help with at the rink. Because he wants too.

The York Regional Police officers, who come out to meet the kids during a session at the school, play floor hockey with them and make the kids smile. Then they return for the ON ICE day, and the kids greet them as friends, because they are now.

To the amazing group of Character Council and Neighbourhood Network volunteers that take time away from their busy schedules and come out to help out in the dressing room and also on the ice.

I am so grateful.

The common thread is that they do all of this, because they want to.

The spirit and heart shown by everyone is beyond inspiring and reflects the true spirit of what it means to be a Character Community.

Thank you for all you do, I am proud to be part of this amazing team.

See you again in April.

Shawn Shepheard



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February 2014

The Olympic Spirit is Alive and Well with the 2014 Slapshot program.

Feb 20, 2014 9:08 AM
Karen Addison

Shawn Shepheard our program manger has begun this year's sessions at Markham Gateway PS in Markham and at Richmond Rose PS in Richmond Hill.

He is midway through the floor hockey sessions and our first ON ICE day is coming up the first week of March.

He shared this refelection yesterday and it speaks to exactly why this is such a rewarding and inspiring program for us to share with over 250 students this year in York Region.

Funded in part by the Regional Municipality of York we are honoured to be able to share the "good ole Hockey game" with new Canadians and those who would not have the opportunity to learn the game we all love.

Shawn's report:

I had an interesting conversation with one of the new Peer Mentors of the current group of Slapshot students in Markham.

The grade 7 student has returned to the program she loved, this time as a leader helping the new Slapshot students.

I asked her on the second day if she still plays hockey, and she answered:

"I do, but my friends don't because they think hockey is for boys"

Then the Olympics started.

Two weeks later that same student leader ran into the gym and said:

"Mr. Shepheard did you watch Team Canada women's team play? They are so good and fast! And guess what?  My friends also watched the game and now want to play hockey.  It's not just for boys you know."

I could not wipe the smile off my face.

This is one of the many lessons that the children have learned from taking part in Slapshot, seeing character being put into action and watching the Olympics.

It doesn't get better than this!

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December 2013

A Challenge to alleviate the 'loneliness' factor in the workplace..

Dec 8, 2013 10:26 AM
Karen Addison

Kathleen Redmond's latest  blog entry deals with a difficulty that can occur in the workplace that we all can take some time to help to change.

Click here to read more.

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November 2013

2013 Character Community Week

Nov 17, 2013 10:54 AM
Karen Addison

Our 2013 Character Community Week activites have wrapped up and it was a terrific week of over 20 activites across York Region.

Thank you to all who took the time to Show Us your Colours and who created character themed events where they live, learn, work or play!

Click here to view our recap video.

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