For the third year running, a Maple Ridge writer - in conjunction with The TIMES - is hosting a poetry contest that honours the community's veterans.
And this year, organizer Joe Robinsmith said the competition is being stepped up a notch thanks to the direct involvement of the local Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 88.
Partnering with the legion in a writing contest that specifically honours the community's veterans is a natural fit, said Robinsmith, who is working with legion past-president Jim MacDonald and youth education chair Judy Ballard.
Robinsmith is excited by the synergy created.
"I will be working with the Royal Canadian Legion this year to ensure that all elementary and school-aged entries are also entered into their local, then regional, and quite possibly national contest," Robinsmith said.
This will also allow the children who participate in the local Honouring Our Veterans contest access to greater prizes and national recognition, MacDonald noted.
"Wouldn't it be great to have one of our local students win a trip to Ottawa?" In fact, MacDonald said, he hopes the new union pays dividends with more participation
in both contests. The first year of Honouring Our Veterans, 40 scribes put fingers to keyboard, and emailed in poetry that expressed their support and admiration for this country's veterans. Last year, that number jumped to close to 100.
And for years, the local legion has coordinated local participation in the legion's national Remembrance Day poetry and literary contest for school-aged children.
But in recent years, participation in that legion contest has been dropping.
"Our problem is the lack of involvement at the school level," he explained.
"Although well supported by the school board, it has become progressively more difficult to get teachers to show an interest in this program," MacDonald said.
Working together this year - between the local legion and Robinsmith's contests - both parties are hopeful to reach and ultimately interest more young writers.
But Honouring Our Veterans is not a poetry contest exclusive to kids.
Once again Robinsmith is inviting poets of all ages to submit their own original works on the subject.
Various prizes will be awarded to the top three winners in each of two age categories (ages six to 18, and 19 and older). The poems can be emailed to email@example.com, or print copies can be left at the sponsoring Black Bond Books before the Nov. 1 deadline. Only one entry per person.
All participants are invited to a poetry reading at The ACT on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, following the Maple Ridge Remembrance Day ceremonies.
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