Spring Home Owners
Kip McKenzie of Sturgeon Falls, second from right, in a recent group photo of the Kashechewan detachment of the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS) and the paramedic team. Const. McKenzie has been acting as the conduit for local donations to remote northern communities.
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by Isabel Mosseler
Officer Kip McKenzie is at it again, trying to raise funds and awareness for the children of Kashechewan, the remote First Nation community where he works, so far from his home of Sturgeon Falls. This time he is asking people in West Nipissing to donate baseball / softball equipment that he can take up north with him, so the youth there can stay busy in a constructive way this summer.
Kip McKenzie is a Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS) officer stationed in Kashechewan. Last year, he worked in partnership with the Conseil scolaire public du Nord-est de l’Ontario (CSPNE - French public school board), to bring material goods and moral support to the children of northern communities. The effort began as a result of crises involving teen suicides, and the success of those efforts has resulted in further requests for assistance from the community he works in. He said that due to his previous transportation of donations from West Nipissing, “a lady from the community approached me to see if I could assist to find donations for baseball / softball, for the youth aged 10 to 14. The adults are equipped and the older youth, aged 14 and up, have stuff, but there’s nothing for the 10-14 year-olds.”
Officer Mckenzie lives in Sturgeon Falls with his family and flies in to his work for two-week shifts. In the past, he has loaded his own truck up to overflowing and the items have been flown in at no charge. In previous interviews, he’s indicated that there are very sharp differences between the isolated communities of northern Ontario and our southern communities. He’s been working with Tammy McMeekin at the CSPNE, as she handles the portfolio for First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth, and students at E.s. Northern S.S. have done drives for clothing, personal hygiene products and school supplies, as well as books for the kids in Attawapiskat and Kashechewan. McMeekin was quick to jump on board this latest effort as well.
She indicated that the baseball / softball drive has just begun at the school, but time is of the essence. McKenzie is heading back north on June 20th and hopes to be able to take some equipment with him. “I’m still working with Tammy, so one drop off location in Sturgeon Falls would be the Northern High School. For people in North Bay, a drop off would be Rental City. I’m heading back up (to Kashechewan) early morning of June 20th – ultimately I would like to have everything by Sunday the 18th so I can organize and pack it on the 19th.”