The Musings Of A Past President Part I - Establishing A Millennium Project
As a Past President of the Masonic Foundation, I have been requested to reflect on my years as a Director. Placing my thoughts down is not a difficult challenge. It was through the Masonic Foundation that I became engrossed in what is deemed to be a cornerstone of Freemasonry Charity. It was also what has given me the most satisfaction and enjoyment in the more than 45 years that I have been a Mason.
In total, I was elected a Director sixteen times, serving from 1988 to 2004 and spanned three major initiatives undertaken by the Foundation - too much to try to cover in one article and still retain the readers interest. These introductory observations will be followed later by articles on the establishment of the Masonic Foundations Millennium project and my term as President of the Foundation.
The question that comes to mind, of course, and one that I have pondered, is: How did an ol Ottawa Valley boy become a Director of the Masonic Foundation? The reason goes back to 1985, when I was asked to lead a campaign in Ottawa District 1 on behalf of the Foundation to raise funds to support the Ottawa Chapter of VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children. VOICE is a self-help group of parents and teachers of hearing impaired children founded in 1963 and supported financially by the Masonic Foundation since 1982. VOICE promotes an alternative to communicating by manual signs (sign language) known as the auditory approach, which aims at teaching hearing impaired young people to make full use of what listening skills they have (virtually all deaf children have a certain amount of residual hearing) and, with the assistance of amplification (hearing aids) and an auditory therapist, teaches them to communicate by speaking.
This project educated me in two areas which became very important and close to my heart over the ensuing years. I really did not know much, first, about the Masonic Foundation, notwithstanding having been District Deputy Grand Master, or about the programs it supported, and, second, I was unaware of the large incidence of hearing impairment in babies and young children. I had actually been introduced to this latter concern on Boxing Day, 1982, when, as DDGM and upon the request of the Foundation, I attended a Christmas Party for hearing impaired children associated with VOICE at the home of the President of the Ottawa Chapter, to present a donation on behalf of the Foundation. Having luckily been the father of three healthy children, I, likely similar to many of you, was completely unaware of the quasi-silent world in which many children, even in Nepean, were living. This experience opened my eyes (and ears) every grandchild experienced this Grandpa testing their hearing in a rudimentary fashion when they were babies!
My first meeting as a Director of the Masonic Foundation occurred in September 1988. It was an exciting time to become a Director - the Foundation was launching a major fund-raising project to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Foundation. The campaign was called Help Nip Drugs in the Bud. The target was to raise a capital fund of $1 million during 1988-89 it was a great success, raising $1,103,000! The income generated from this project is still being used in Ontario communities to support peer education programs to address the problems of youth and drugs, with the emphasis on peer education, where secondary school students deliver the program to their fellow students and to primary school students, warning them of the problems associated with alcohol and drug abuse.
Promoting the Nip Drugs in the Bud Program, particularly in Eastern Ontario, began my personal involvement with, and commitment to, the Masonic Foundation of Ontario.
More musings to come.
R.W. Bro. Ronald K. Campbell