Category Archives: inspire

Kids and Planes in Vancouver – 5 Summer Activities for Aviators at Heart

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Boundary Airport Airshow – FREE family fun

Pilots are basically little kids, just instead of their stories staring with ‘One upon a time . . .’, they start with ‘There I was flying . . . ‘. For young aviators there are many great places to find story material. So here are a few of the high experiences that will create life ling memories for kids and grown ups who like planes: 

  1. Summer Fun for All – YVR Friday Fun Days: In the summer for eight weeks, Fridays at the Vancouver Airport welcome travelers and locals who love flying. Activities, games and live performances transform the airport and make it fun for kids. There are contests and interactive events – a different theme every Friday in July and August. 
  2. For those seeking the thrills and sounds of demonstration and aerobatic aircraft it is airshow season with the Boundary Bay Airshow on July 19th (free admission) and Abbotsford Airport Airshow on August 8, 9 and 10 (paid admission with a mix of military and civilian aircraft).
  3. At the Langley airport is the Canadian Museum of Flight with some classic aircraft including a WW I Sopwith Camel replica, Douglas DC3, CF-100 Cancuck jet fighter and CF-104 high speed interceptor. Many of the aircraft can be touched adding to the fun of visit.
  4. If you just want to do some kid friendly ‘plane spotting’, there is the Larry Berg Flight Path Park located to the east of YVR airport. Just park and watch everything from twin engine commuters to the ‘heavy metal’ large airliners take off and land. There is a huge climbable sculpture that is a 3D map of the earth showing destinations in reach of YVR. Continuing around on the south side of the airport you can go to the Flying Beaver Bar and Grill for great hamburgers (yum!) and a super view of watching float planes operating on the water next to the restaurant, or crossing the road near by as they are towed into hangars.
  5. “Future of Flight” – a tour of the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington is a unique experience worth the trip – just 1 hour south of Vancouver. Go see where half of the world’s airliners are born! In the main plant where your could play 300 simultaneous hockey games your mind become overawed by the sheer size. Explore the dynamics of flight and experience new aviation innovations. The tour is better geared for older kids and they must be at least over 4 feet due to safety issues, but don’t think of old, dirty, dangerous – the plant is pristine and immaculate.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MOM CEO myBestHelper

7 resources to help kids Learn to Code this summer

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The case for why kids need to understand tech as an important 21st century skill has been made (see awesome code.org video on this here), but it’s not yet a core concept taught as part of the basic school curriculum.

So here are few options for parents interested in helping their kids develop tech skills this summer:

1. FREE – Virtual Google “Maker” camps – “Building, Tinkering and Exploring” 6 weeks starting July 7th 11 a.m. PST 

Google is offering six weeks of fun things to make and do for kids – all they need is a Google+ account and access to a PC, smartphone or tablet (if they are younger than 13, they will need to use the account of a parent).  The Maker Camps will have a weekly structure. In the morning, kids will complete a creative DIY project (for example a toy rocket) and in the afternoon they will also use Google Hangouts to talk to expert artists, makers and inventors as well as do virtual field trips to locations including Legoland in Denmark and Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop. See more here.

2. FREE – Sign up for a class at an Apple store – Various locations – local schedule 

At the Apple Store, you will find a variety of programs tailored just for kids, no purchase required. Youth Workshops, Field Trips, and Apple Camp are great ways to get kids thinking, learning, and creating — all while having fun. See more here.

3. $45: Learn to Code for Girls in Vancouver – Be like Ada – Sat, July 19th

Ada Lovelace, the beautiful black and white movie star and also a prolific tech inventor is the inspiration behind this one day bootcamp is for high-school girls only. They can learn to code and meet other girls just like them and hear from superhero women who have cool jobs because they code. To register, go to:www.belikeada.com

4. Code Kids Canada

See this CBC documentary for how and why kids are learning to code in the Maritimes. Inspirational videos galore you can show your kids to get them motivated. Motivation is then often enough to get them interested in using the many online and apps available to learn tech (see esp choice 1 above and 8 below).

5. Coder Dojo – Weekend Learn to Code for kids

CoderDojo is a global movement about providing free and open learning to youth, with an emphasis on computer programming. There are Coder Dojos in Toronto and Calgary, and one is being set up here in Vancouver.

6. Digital Media Academy – Summer Camps – $900+

This amazing opportunity to get top notch exposure to all aspects related to technology creation and use does not come cheap – but is now an option available across Canada. Week long summer camp classes for kids aged 8 to 12 and 13 and older covering a multitude of topics (film creating, game design, iPhone programming, robotics, app development etc) can cost around $900 each – sign up here for the few spots left. They have been doign in since 2002 and apparently, it is a life changing experience.

7. Apps and Games – Learn as You Play (ok for kids 8+)

 My Robot Friend allows kids to program the path of a funny robot and follow it’s adventures – hilarious and educational. Download here.

 The concept is simple — direct a robotic arm to move crates to a designated spot — but Cargo-Bot creates young programmers as it encourages the kind of innovative thinking necessary to learn programming skills. Download it here.

Hopscotch, is a simpler version of MIT’s scratch, and is AWESOME. It allows kids to quickly create games and animations by simple drag and drop of different commands. Kids can modify everything from size to speed to color – and see the results fast which is something that gets them hooked. Download it here.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, mom, geek, CEO co-founder myBestHelper

Neil Squire Society: Award-winning not-for-profit celebrates 30 years

The Neil Squire Society is a Canadian not-for-profit organisation that helps people with significant physical disabilities achieve greater independence through the development, adaptation, and use of innovative services and technology for the home and workplace.

Neil Squire Society celebrates today 30 years of service. Go see the infographic on what has happened in those 3 decades, not the least of which is 30,000 people helped. You can also see the historical timeline and the fascinating photos of how technology was put to good use.

It’s fantastic to be able to focus on celebrations, as I am convinced that the news today would have been all about shortages of funding, had it not been for the extraordinary efforts of Rob Attwell, my business partner and myBestHelper co-founder COO.

Rob has been served for years on the Board of the Neil Squire Society, first as a member then as Chair of the Board. Along with many able volunteers and team members at the Neil Squire Society, the funding cuts over the last few years were dealt with and more resources were deployed to help so many Canadians whose quality of life truly depends on the work Neil Squire Society does.

I have seen him first hand spend hours of his time, demonstrate resourcefulness, creativity and sheer will power to keep the organisation on the right track in today’s difficult funding climate. Jim Collins of “Good to Great” fame describes the key success factor of organisations that show sustained superlative success is the presence of “a Level 5 leader, a paradoxical and rare blend of genuine personal humility and intense professional will”.

Rob is definitely a level 5 leader, usually happy to do the heavy lifting behind the scenes – and although he might not like me writing about his contribution to the success of Neil Squire Society – someone just HAS to publicly recognize his hard work and incredible abilities. At myBestHelper, we all know how lucky we are to have someone of his capabilities – and are thrilled to support and encourage his commitment to community causes he is passionate about.

Incidentally the Neil Squire Society annual report has on its cover page that they use “technology, knowledge and passion” to accomplish their mission – and technology, knowledge and passion are also core to how we approach our company too.

Rob Attwell is seeing standing far right at the City of Vancouver ceremony recognizing Neil Squire CEO Gary Bearg - with Mayor Gregor Robertson

Rob Attwell standing far right – here in 2012 at the City of Vancouver ceremony recognizing Neil Squire Society with the city’s Access and Inclusion Award (Gary Birch, Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society is in front holding the plaque with Mayor Gregor Robertson)

On behalf of us all, we are so proud of your accomplishments, Rob – and of course, live long and prosper to Neil Squire Society!

Alexandra T. Greenhill, CEO cofounder myBestHelper

PS. Of course, ongoing funding and success totally depends on people like us – so donate, contribute, advocate and vote in support of worthy causes like this one!

Matthew Clarke (Dad, Superhero and Youtube Star) Answers our Father’s Day Questions!

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Matthew Clarke, Coco & family with Kraig Docherty from Invoke Labs.

I hope everyone had an amazing Father’s Day! I was lucky enough to catch up with Matthew Clarke, creator of one of our favourite webinar series here at myBestHelper called convos with my 2-year oldto ask him a few questions about what it’s like to be a Dad. I’ll let his answers speak for themselves…

Q: What is a change you’ve noticed in yourself after becoming a Dad, something you didn’t expect?

Matt: I’m not really sure to tell you the truth. I feel in a way like I’m so in the midst of it all still, I haven’t the perspective yet to sit back and pin point such things. And yet, ironically, I think my answer is probably that I’m more self aware. It’s so glaringly obvious to me how much an effect I have on my kids. My emotional state, my outlook, my patience level, how I handle all sorts of different things. I clearly see a correlation between my mental state/behaviour and my kid’s mental state/behaviour. So I’m constantly trying to check in with myself and see where I’m at. What am I feeling? What am I really feeling beneath that feeling? And so on and so forth until I reach some sort of existential crisis and bounce back up to the surface just in time to clean tomato sauce off the roof, or stop an entire shelf of groceries from falling. Now that I say that, maybe I’ve actually become a super hero of sorts. Yes, let’s go with that. I am now a superhero. Didn’t expect that.

Q: What’s a new “family tradition” in your household? Anything for Father’s Day?

Matt: I’ve been trying to start a Father’s Day tradition where I get waited on hand and foot all day while I sip a beer on the couch, watching golf in complete serenity. I’ve got a long way to go on that one.
I feel like our most consistent family tradition is being late.

Q: Do you have a “parenting hack” or shortcut to share? A favourite app? A ridiculous strategy?

Matt: I’m always asking this question, never answering it. I don’t know. One thing I’ve been consciously trying lately and seems to be making my life easier is trying not to micromanage so much. Let them go a bit more and just guide vs control. It’s amazing how letting her find her own longer, more complicated way to put on her shoes as opposed to me just grabbing them and putting them on saves me what feels like hours in argument time. If only we could put that into an App. We’d be rich!!

A big thank you to Matt – I sincerely hope you got your Father’s Day wish.

Are you a Dad? What did you wish for on Father’s day? Did you get it? And are you a super hero too?

 

Stephanie Phillips, User Experience Lead at myBestHelper, maker of many Father’s Day Breakfasts-in-bed that went a little awry….

 

 

 

 

Two People Who Made a Difference: Dr. Maya Angelou and Dr. Christine Simard

We all have our personal heros and – I need to stop today an acknowledge two people that made me a better person and a better leader.

The better known one – Dr. Maya Angelou passed away this week. The other – passed away four years ago this week – Dr. Christine Simard and was just acknowledged in this week’s Globe and Mail.

I never got to see in person Dr. Angelou, but her writing shaped much of how I see the world. My favorite quote from her is a core concept of the way I try to live my life.

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I did get a chance to meet Dr.  Christine Simard in person and her real life courage inspired in a way that only real encounters can. People often talk about leadership and humility, but rarely is it something that you actually get to see. Dr. Simard was a general surgeon who completed six tours of duty outside of Canada, including four to Afghanistan – often as the sole surgeon present, on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She saved countless lives by being unassumingly amazing at her craft, and doing complicated procedures requiring advanced sub-specialty training. She did them because there was no other choice – truly a matter of life and death. I really think Dr. Simard lived her life by the Maya Angelou quote above.

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Dr. Christine Simard

They were both forces that made the world a better place and their light will shine on.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, CEO cofounder myBestHelper

When we are lonely…

Take 3 minutes to watch this and you will feel better. How can one not feel inspired by this video about Brazilian teens learning English by speaking to lonely American elderly?

It’s amazing how isolated our teens and seniors can still be in our social media networked world and I loved the creativity of helping cross the paths between generations. If you do know a teen or a senior, give them a call today – love at random times is always appreciated!

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, Co-founder CEO myBestHelper