Hitting the slopes for Aboriginal health

| April 12, 2012 | 0 Comments
From left, German Ambassador Georg Witschel, Polish Ambassador Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz and their wives, Sabine Witschel and Katarzyna Kosiniak-Kamysz.

From left, German Ambassador Georg Witschel, Polish Ambassador Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz and their wives, Sabine Witschel and Katarzyna Kosiniak-Kamysz.

The Ottawa Diplomatic Association’s annual ski day is a win-win. Diplomats have a chance to enjoy a pleasant afternoon on the slopes with fellow diplomats and their families, and the event raises funds for a good cause in Ottawa.
As it did last year, the ODA will once again donate the proceeds from Ski Day (and other events held throughout the year) to Ottawa’s Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. Last year’s proceeds amounted to a few hundred dollars and ODA president, Polish Ambassador Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz, says Ski Day 2012 raised upwards of $1,000 for the organization. Last year’s donation to Wabano was $2,160 but that included funds from other events held throughout the year, said secretary-general James Lévêque.
The Wabano Centre is a charity that encourages and practises community-based holistic health care which combines native cultural practices and Western medicine to combat poverty and illness among First Nations people. Each year, it serves more than 10,000 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, as it has opened its doors to the community as a whole.
The donation is not only materially important but also symbolically so, said executive director Allison Fisher.
“This expression of generosity gives our community a certain sense of possibility because it comes from hearts outside our country,” Ms Fisher said. “Aboriginal organizations work very hard in cities to acquire a voice that is strong enough to be heard. We are so appreciative to know that others believe in our work enough to invest in the Wabano Centre. We are grateful for support that will allow us to create a space of belonging and provision for a better future for our children. We celebrate the Ottawa Diplomat Association for their generous gift.”
The March 3 Ski Day at Camp Fortune, put on by the ODA with the German and Polish embassies, was its sixth annual event, and after a large dumping of snow at the end of February, there was plenty of snow for the big day.
Ski Day has grown over the years and this year’s event attracted 100 participants.
“It’s a really nice event,” said Mr. Kosiniak-Kamysz. “It’s very important to have such occasions, so that we’re interacting with the community of Ottawa. It shows that diplomats are not only involved in black tie and formal events but also sports.”
The event included downhill ski races and lessons in both downhill and cross-country skiing. An early-evening awards ceremony for registered participants and special guests was held at the residence of German Ambassador Georg Witschel and co-hosted by Mr. Kosiniak-Kamysz.
In addition to inviting participants from all the diplomatic missions in Ottawa, the ODA also extended welcomed its counterparts at DFAIT.
Besides an exhilarating day on the slopes, the diplomats and their families always enjoy meeting the greater Ottawa community, says Mr. Kosiniak-Kamysz.

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