|Achieving Gold - the provincial celebration
One of the benefits of aging and commitment has to be anniversaries. As the 50th anniversary of the OACYC approaches I have to
opinion that since the first conference in Kingston in 1999 I attended the OACYC has truly gone from storming to forming, setting the
gold standard for association growth to which sister associations would do well to reference going ahead.
Much of the credit has to go to Dennis McDermott for expanding association services, making them dependable and cost effective. A
bi-monthly newsletter, an annual conference, being inclusive of all regions of Ontario, insurance converge were some of these
services. There has also been a constant respect for the past recognizing founders including Les Weber and T. Lawson ( among
many) for their contributions to the field and association.
This also included respecting and promoting the work of Mrs. Sepp to bring reform to the
profession. Dennis has a phenomenal memory for names and many across the country have
met and spent time with him at conferences, provincial and national over the years. He has
not be alone in doing the work. Over the years, Keith Lindsay, Bob Heeney and Andy Leggett
have done much to support Dennis at provincial conferences. I hope they and all who have
been involved can take some satisfaction knowing their work has contributed to the
development of the child and youth care field across the country..
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a legacy web site on the
This has taken the form of being hosts to the Council's Annual Meetings
at several provincial conferences which are conveniently set on a
biannual schedule opposite the Nationals. On a more substantial level,
member associations have taken many of the lessons and successes
of the OACYC and applied them to their specific association building. A
regular and inclusive newsletter, business practices and provincial
conferences have all been inspired by the Ontario model.
My hope would be that all associations could realize the fantastic
milestone the OACYC has just enjoyed. Fifty years is no small chump
change in the anniversary department in a country itself not even 150 old.
It was the privilege of the Council to be hosted once again this year and
for many on the board to attend the celebrations. Our President was also
the closing keynote who used the occasion to remind everyone there is
much to do and that it very much begins with individual participation.
One of the best experiences in life is seeing some one person or even generations of them achieve something of incredible value not in the usual measure of
money or bricks and mortar or sales figures but in human terms. This can take the form of a man making good on his word for example, one telling a group he
will commit an entire decade to their service and make it happen. Or perhaps, it can take the form of someone being invited to help form an organization
because you had some meeting skills in your background five decades ago. Now imagine the one congratulating the other 50 and 10 years on respectively,
still friends, still passionate about the task at hand and still building. For those of us lucky enough to be in the banquet room and well perhaps to have met or
known each or both of these fine men somewhere along that journey it was truly a golden moment.
I am referring to Les Webber, who with a few colleagues, some of whom are now gone; pioneered so much back when including founding the first child and
youth care association in Canada certainly and perhaps North America. And, of course, to Dennis McDermott who built the Ontario Association of Child and
Youth Care Counsellors into the largest such association in Canada and it has been suggested, North America.
Master of Ceremonies -
Richard Teskey not so
much kicked off but
togaed off the conference
with a Roman reference
to the days when heroes
were award golden laurel
wreaths. He went on to
guide delegates through
three days of events.
LEFT: Conference Chair Jennifer Foster and unknown volunteer. ABOVE: Founding
President - Les Webber, Sitting President - Wanda MacArthur and Executive
Director (Past President) - Dennis McDermott
Three keynotes: Past President Keith Lindsay - Past, Dr. Kiaras Gharabaghi - The Present, and CCCYCA
President, David Connolly - The Future; between them covered 50 years of child and youth care in Ontario.
Keith reviewed the remarkable history touched upon above and the growth of the field from primarily
residential to an array of settings today. Kiaras warned his audience he may be depressing and then
offered a thoughtful analysis on the crumbling of the child and youth care foundation ethic as cyc's are
assimilated into ever novel work settings with attendant loss of supervisory reflection, self care,
inclusiveness and not engaging with youth and their families in a working partnership. He called for
greater kindness wherever child and youth care is practiced and an explicit gratitude toward the youth we
serve for their contributions to our professional experience. Finally, David sketched out the association
field, its challenges and the need for practitioners to move beyond asking what is in it for them and to
become active members at every level.
Julie and David Connolly, Jo Wells and Ken Lee enjoying
"Goodbye, Mr. Bond!", the Mysteriously Yours Dinner
Theatre at the banquet.
The banquet evening was notable for its humour and honours. The Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre
cruised through the audience and engaged several in participating in finding the villain who poisoned
James Bond. Of course, Miss Moneypenny chose Dennis to run off with!
Perhaps, she knew, as he did not that the evening would ultimately belong to him. The OACYC has
created a Distinguished Career Award in his name, to be presented at the provincials going forward and
then made him the first recipient. Someone in the audience suggested he keep his comments brief (he
is well known to the membership) and he did reducing them to four words, one adjective of which had
four letters to describe it all as "fabulous". Dennis will retire from the Executive Director position this
August yet will keep his hand in as Editor of the beloved Chronicle. In whatever capacity, his passion for
the child and youth care profession in Ontario and Canada will continue.
In June of 2009 the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Counsellors
celebrated its 50th anniversary This page archives a feature on that