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Back to School

So, this is a big weekend for back-to-school shopping.  How much will it cost you?  

It may come as a surprise to learn, according to a new survey, Canadian parents will spend more on back-to-school than they did on Christmas last year.  No kidding.

53% of Canadian parents agree that back-to-school shopping puts a financial strain on their families with the costs of clothing and technology rising to new heights.

On average, Canadian families will spend $883 this month to get the kids ready to get back to the books and that's about $325 more than they spent on the children last Christmas.

Among the items in demand from the kids are new clothing and shoes along with cellular telephones and technology like I-Pads and laptops.

And, it's interesting to note, 62% of parents believe getting their kids what they want is more important than saving money.  That wasn't the case when we were kids, was it?

Avonlea

We're in Avonlea, Saskatchewan today - destination #4 in our annual Great 8 Summer Tour for Hawk's Agro on 800 CHAB.

I can tell you about many memorable moments in Avonlea and out at their Long Creek Golf & Country Club over the years.  Good times with good people.

I'll never forget the lesson in finances I learned many years ago at the golf course.  I was in a charity tournament and playing in a group that included a multi-millionaire.  

He wasn't interested in visiting with his teammates that day.  I found it amusing that he spent most of the day in the bushes, looking for golf balls.  He came away with lots of scratches on his skin and dozens of golf balls.

After the game, I brought that up with the other two.  They thought it was funny too. And, one of the guys said it:  "It's just one of the reasons why he has more money than the three of us put together.  He never has to buy golf balls."

What's Your Role?

We're featuring a local hockey player on the local sportscasts on CHAB today.  Our Marc Smith is talking with Branden Klatt, a young man who grew up in Moose Jaw and now plays for our Warriors.  He was acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oil Kings last season.

A couple of things strike me as I listen to the stories.  One is the fact that Klatt listens to the questions and shows the ability to speak fluently and coherently - the very definition of eloquent.

The other thing;  Klatt talks about having "a role and identity" on his team, something he believes was lacking when he was with the Oil Kings.

It made me think about us - you and me - and the fact we all need a role and identity, no matter the situation.  We need roles and identity in our families, within our social circles and at work.  It serves to give us direction and focus. 

It's something for you to think about at home and at work today.  Thanks, Branden Klatt.  

Marquis

Marquis, Saskatchewan.  It's the latest stop on the 800 CHAB Great 8 Summer Tour today.  They're raising money to repair their rink.  It's a place that brings back childhood memories for me.

I remember one particular game on a Saturday afternoon.  I was in my first year of Pee Wee with the St. Andrew's Orioles.  We were the worst team in the league.  Our goalie, "Porky", was away for the weekend.  One of our guys volunteered to give goaltending a try.  It was his first and last game as a goalie.

The Marquis boys were relentless.  A kid named Scott Wilson scored 17 goals and my old buddy "Cube" scored 8 times.  They beat us 27-1 that day.  What made it worse was the fact they played with just 3 skaters in the 3rd period.  That's when we scored our only goal.  I scored it on a breakaway.  Our bench erupted like we just won the championship. It was the worst.

Marquis, Saskatchewan...the place where I truly learned the meaning of the word "humiliation".  

On the bright side, the rink burgers were really good out there.  

Playgrounds

We were there to capture some of the fun on Friday as the City of Moose Jaw's playground program wrapped up for another summer.  City Hall spends some our money to staff a number of playgrounds with specially trained young people.  They, in turn, supervise local children at play.  It's money well-spent.

I spent a lot of time as a kid over at Elgin Park, learning how to play with good communication and cooperation.  I would become a leader among my playground peers and that eventually got me my first summer job - as a playground supervisor.

Oh, I remember a lot of great times and some wonderful little people.  I clearly remember a number of children who would come before the playground shack opened and stay 'til the end of the day.  Some of them were the kids who came from families that didn't have much. They were the kids who would never go to the lake or go camping. There were no summertime get-a-ways for those kids.  The playground WAS their vacation.

As a city, we've made many decisions to cut spending and save money in parks and recreation over the years but that playground program has survived.  

Thank goodness.

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