Cochrane Ideas – Nov 2018

15 Years Living in China

By William Hawkins
Cochrane Resident

7 pm, Friday Nov 9, 2018
at King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

William will present his interpretation of present-day China based upon more than 15 years of living in China, specifically the Qingdao region of Shandong Province, and including 15 years of extensive travels throughout this amazing land. He will show photos relevant to his experience and supply a cornucopia of anecdotes to support his claims. William will leave plenty of time for audience questions and perspectives but he intends to concentrate upon the harmony and beauty of China, reinforced by the resilience and strength of her people who are forever under a thumb of power designed to keep the masses controlled, both mentally and physically. William believes the Chinese people are the strongest, most adaptable, and motivated souls on this planet, and his depth of gratitude for what China shared with him is bottomless.

William Hawkins was born in the tobacco belt of Southwestern Ontario, and after seeing David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ in the local theatre at age of eight, spent a lifetime adventure traveling to, and residing in, at least 56 countries. With more than two decades of professional experience in the hospitality and allied industries in Canada and the USA, starting in the mid-nineties, management training and motivational sales provided him with a change of pace. Downsized at the turn of the millennium, William concentrated upon freelance volunteer work in Aswan, Egypt; Irbid, HK Jordan; and Dashinkali, Nepal. Then, after 15 years teaching English in China, new government regulations regarding age ended his career. In December 2017 William retired to Cochrane’s natural beauty and friendly demeanour, to be near family. He is presently living ‘happily ever after’.

Cochrane Ideas – Oct 2018

The Challenges Faced by a Small Canadian Charity Working to Improve Access to Water in Africa

With Laurra Olmsted
Director of Uniwater Education

7 pm, Friday Oct 12th, 2018
at King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Laurra: UniWater Education partners with African universities to get more people trained in Africa who have the skills needed to address African water challenges of the future. Based on her experience over the past 7 years, Laurra will outline the historic factors that have shaped African culture, and issues that influence our perceptions of Africa and Africans. She will contrast the differences in working as a small NGO compared to “the big 5” charities in the international realm. Also, the challenges of working in the water sector but not working at the community level will be addressed, and what implications this holds for water security in Africa in an era of climate change.

Please plan to attend her talk and add to the ensuing discussion centred on how best to effect change to the current paradigm.

Laurra Olmsted earned an MSc in Hydrogeology from University College London (UK) in Hydrogeology for Developing Nations in 1992. It was this exposure to Africans as classmates and the examples used in her studies that sparked an interest in working to improve access to water on that continent. She continued to work as an environmental consultant from 1989 until 2007, when an opportunity presented itself for a shift in her career.

Laurra has been working in the non-profit sector since 2005, co-founding Hydrogeologists Without Borders, and then founding and directing UniWater Education. She is a passionate groundwater proponent and believes that there is hope for a water secure future if we work collaboratively to create such a world.

Cochrane Ideas – Sep 2018


7 pm, Friday, September 14, 2018
at King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

“An odyssey” is the account of the life of cochrane area resident sarah leete since 1979 – seven decades of rural delights followed by two years of slogging through a slough of despondency and ending with several weeks on an andean high in ecuador.

The presentation will discuss why some people later in life endure a bout of anxiety and depression and how sarah came out at the other end rejuvenated.

If that topic does not turn your crank we shall end with a song to celebrate the lives of departed loved ones of the equine kind.

You can also practise your bowlines on the bight and learn how to tie a diamond hitch as the speaker did pack numerous horses in the rockies and the purcells.

JUNE IDEAS; We are are grateful to those who led the Schools debate, to all those who shared their viewpoints, and to those who came out to listen to the debate.

Cochrane Ideas – Jun 2018

The Annual Cochrane Ideas Debate

This year’s topic

7 pm., Friday, June 8, 2018
at King Solomon Lodge
Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Four speakers, two for, and two against, will discuss the following resolution:

Be it resolved that Catholic Separate schools in Alberta lose their status as fully funded by the province, or be integrated into the non-religion-based public system

Speakers for the motion are Heinz Unger and Michael Kerfoot
Against the motion are Andy Marshall and William Hawkins
Moderator is Nic David

Audience participation in the debate will be warmly encouraged. ​
Attendees will be invited to vote at the end of proceedings.
While the debate is potentially controversial, Cochrane Ideas will ensure it is conducted in a respectful way.

MAY IDEAS; We are are grateful to those who came prepared to discuss a favorite book or piece of writing. We are committed to organizing more round-the-circle sessions like this.

Cochrane Ideas – May 2018

Cochrane Ideas invites supporters to a round-the-circle, group participation session..



7 pm., Friday, May 11
At King Solomon Lodge
Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

  • Come prepared to discuss a recent piece of writing that you’d think others might enjoy.
  • Explain what moved you, what you learned, what attracted you to make your pick.
  • Would you recommend others read your selection and why?
  • Please, keep your presentations to about three minutes. We want to give all a chance to participate. And, ideally, there’ll be time for questions and responses.
  • Fiction, non-fiction, serious or comical, Canadian or not, any topic. We welcome them all.

April Ideas: Many thanks to Doug Bouey for his entertaining and informative talk at April Ideas on his Camino Walk. Doug was an engaging speaker with interesting commentary, occasionally reading from blogs, showing photos from along the route, sharing his own and other people’s stories, and also providing a good overview of history.

Cochrane Ideas – Apr 2018

A Very Long Walk

An evocation of the ancient Camino of Santiago
pilgrimage journey across Northern Spain
to Santiago de Compostella.

With Doug Bouey

7 pm., Friday, April 13th
At King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Context determines everything – dictates our drives, our successes and the limitations of everyday reality. It’s hard to see over the sides of the box we’re in – except when we jump over the sides and shake up our view of things.

Doug will put us into a radically different context – the mindspace and the physical reality of a very long walk as he takes us up and over 350 kms from Leon to the great Cathedral of Saint James in Santiago. Buen Camino!

Doug Bouey – Calgary presidential mentor and company change process leader – made a fluke choice more than 13 years ago to walk the Camino of Santiago – the venerated pilgrimage route that transits Northern Spain. Guided to the experience by spirit, Doug found it to be life altering. Every moment of that first trip is seared into memory. Since then two more Very Long Walks have had their way with him.

Working in the mid-market scale of companies – not too small, not too big – Doug has a track record of inducing significant changes in fortune for his clients. He is the author of Resolution – Getting out of Relationship Purgatory and Space and Grace – life experience for a new cadre of men of a certain age.

Doug writes and paints as well as continuing to walk – it’s a habit that’s hard to shake!

Cochrane Ideas – Mar 2018

Impressions of an Itinerant Doctor

With Dr. Jim Emmett

7 pm., Friday, March 9th
At King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

From 2007 to 2016, Dr. Jim Emmett worked in Nunavut as a “locum” doctor, filling in for shortages in their medical staff. Although much of his time was spent in the capital city of Iqaluit, at the Qikiqtani General Hospital, he was posted all over Baffin Island and the northern shores of Hudson’s Bay and the Arctic Ocean. He will describe his adventures in seeing these remote outposts, learning about their history, and dealing with the Inuit people on their own turf.

Dr. Jim Emmett did his medical training at the University of British Columbia, and McMaster University, during the 1960’s. After a few years of private practice in Vancouver, and also working with the indigenous communities in Haida Gwaii, he relocated to Morley as the Medical Director of the Stoney Health Centre for four years. After that, he practiced Family Medicine in Calgary for decades. He admitted patients to the Foothills Medical Centre, and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, as well as having a very busy private office. He had a special interest in serving patients with multiple medical problems. After retiring from his Family Practice, he has worked as a locum doctor in Nunavut from 2007 to the present. He has lived in Canmore for the last nine years.

FEBRUARY IDEAS: We are grateful to Dale Portman for the well prepared and well presented talk for our Feb 9th IDEAS evening. It was clear from the great turnout that this was a topic of great interest to a variety of IDEAS friends. Many thanks to Dale for sharing his experiences and giving us new perspectives and ideas to think about.

As follow up to Cochrane IDEAS September evening on Nakoda Stoney Perspectives on TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION with five members of the Nakoda Stoney Nation: please see this live, interactive webcast 6:30 pm Saturday, March 10th by Vancouver’s Theatre for Living. It is interactive because during the second performance, audience members will be invited to stop the drama and go on stage to resolve some critical Natrive/non-Native issue. Most of the cast are Natives from the west coast.
One participant: “Theatre for Living is one of the most prolific, life changing, humanity affirming and powerful theatre companies in the country. This is what theatre is to me.”
For more please see

Cochrane IDEAS – Feb 2018

Mind, Meditation & Mysticism


7 pm., Friday, February 9th
At King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

“Cosmic meditation is not an escape but recourse to a fountain of wisdom.  It results in a spiritual influx, the results of which the objective mind can translate into procedures, into useful ways of living.  What the mystic receives through such meditation must be passed on to humanity.  This is accomplished by transmuting such experiences into material realities, objective knowledge, in which others may indulge….”  Ralph M. Lewis

Mysticism and esoteric teachings have been practiced by scientific and theological luminaries for centuries.  They’ve harnessed their minds to solve problems and answer questions in their select field of study.  To accomplish this, meditation is used to access the highest levels of their consciousness.  Using the mind in this fashion is one of the most effective means of healing one’s self.  It is also the most versatile and useful tool we have at our disposal. Remember all three levels of being are interconnected; material, mental and cosmic.  Join Dale in better understanding the power of meditation for health purposes.

Dale Portman is a retired park warden who was a professional dog handler for twelve years while working in the field of mountain rescue.  He has written three books and co-written a fourth about his experiences working in the Canadian Rockies.  He has completed a manuscript titled “Through Adversity to the Stars” (a soul’s journey across the universe) and has published it on line.  He has another book that’s due out next year, a non-fiction account of his & Kathy’s many trips to China over the years and the changes witnessed.  He spent 17 years working in Jasper National Park and has spent 13 years working in Yoho, Lake Louise and Glacier/ Revelstoke National Park.  He was a member of the Jasper Park Masonic Lodge 143.  He has been a member of the modern Rosicrucian Order (AMORC) since 1991.  He is the president of the Park Warden Service Alumni Society and he and his wife Kathy Calvert live in Cochrane, Alberta.


Live, interactive theatre engendering potentially radical social change? Vancouver’s Theatre of Living, founded in 1981, is holding two plays at the MacEwan Hall Ballroom at UofC on 17 and 18th February, hosted by the Faculty of Social Work.  Focusing on Reconciliation and dealing with tough, current issues, they will be a very relevant followup to our September IDEAS evening with 5 Nakoda (Stoney) people as speakers.
For tickets and details please see

Cochrane IDEAS wishes to thank Fred Stenson, local and renowned author
for the wonderful presentation on February 12 which gave us a behind-the-scenes look at his life and writing. There was a big turnout and very positive feedback from audience members.

Newsletter Subscribers, we are experimenting with a new way of composing,  formatting and sending our monthly announcements..  We hope that using MailChimp will simplify this. We have more work to do with formatting, spacing, the banner image etc..

New Website and Newsletter

Thanks to all the support in getting this technology setup for our needs. We hope that this will help simplify, improve and streamline communication and discussion into the future.

Our monthly Newsletter or Bulletin as we like to call it is complete for the most part although still needs some minor additional polishing. This service (Mailchimp) also features an option for subscribers to individually manage and unsubscribe themselves. (Please subscribe to our bulletin if you haven’t already using the button to the right on the website).

Our New Website seems to be in good working condition so far but we expect there will be a few improvements yet to be made. Many of the past Cochrane Ideas announcements over the years will be added over time for informational and historical purposes.

The Cochrane Ideas Group Team