Young Puffins with pride

Kevin Curley
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Elliston teens making a contribution to their community

A group of youngsters in the Elliston area have taken it upon themselves to make a difference in the community.

The young Puffins of Elliston are (left to right): Justin Oldford, Evan Collins, Colin Faulkner, Daniel Tucker, Jordon Pittman, Madison Hayley and Taylor Chaulk. Jonathan Brine is also a member of the group.

Calling themselves the Young Puffins, the eight young people — aged 12-18 — formed the group earlier this year with a mandate of doing environmental projects such as beach and park cleanups.

The Puffins operate on a volunteer basis and plan to be a presence at all of Elliston’s summer activities including the Puffin Festival this weekend and the Roots, Rants and Roars culinary festival this fall. They also assisted with clean up and directed traffic for the recent Home from the Sea event.

Young Puffin Vice Chair Daniel Tucker says the group decided to come together to help improve Elliston for residents and tourists alike.

Most of the teens have summer jobs in Elliston’s Municipal Park or are working for the Puffin Festival.

All of the Puffins are friends who know each other from school. With Elliston being a tight-knit community with a population of just over 300, they find they have a bond that makes work enjoyable.

The young environmentalists have also held several fundraisers including a car wash to raise money for future projects.

“We are hoping to have a few games set up around the Puffin Festival to raise money as well. We are planning more cleanups and more community events; things to bring everybody together as one unit and elaborate on how great our community is,” says Tucker.

They will also be holding a tollgate and will be doing some town beautification work with flower planting and landscaping.

According to Tucker, the community’s reaction has been nothing but positive and encouraging. They recently made a presentation to the Elliston Business Partnership and were received warmly.

“We’ve had a presence in a few dinner meetings with other businesses and associates around town and all of them have been completely amazed by how just a few of us have taken our time to better the community,” says Tucker.

They hope the Young Puffins will survive and flourish in the years to come.

“We hope that as more people join and we start to raise more money that we are able to pursue bigger projects and bring in more recreational activities around Elliston,” says Tucker.

Calvin Hayley, with tourism Elliston, serves as the group’s mentor providing a bit of guidance for their projects.

He pitched the idea for the group to a couple of the teens and the interest quickly spread. Though he stresses his influence in minimal and the group does most of the good deeds on their own.

“I have to say they are off to a great start. I’m impressed with their leadership. We haven’t got two leaders in the group; we have eight leaders in the group. Some of them are pretty young and taking on important roles with the organization. That’s something we like to foster in the community,” says Hayley.

He hopes the group will carry on some of the community’s traditions. With Elliston being famous for being the Root Cellar capital of the world he has had concerns that the art and science of root cellaring would be lost if the younger generation doesn’t pick it up.

“It’s important that the younger generation takes an interest in the puffins and root cellars and other heritage assets that we’ve got. So for us, it’s enlightening to see this group come together. No doubt, I expect to see this group together for a lot of years.”

kevin.curley@thepacket.ca

Organizations: Roots, Elliston Business Partnership

Geographic location: Elliston, Municipal Park

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