Blue Horses

What is a Blue horse?

It is a horse of a different colour. It is a horse that is, and dares to be different. It is a being that runs together with the herd, but can lead, but also can follow. It is strength. It is creativity. It is being blue when no one else can see. It is a blue horse. From the BL:UE HERD.    …on being a blue horse


CREATED JOBS AND COMMUNITY Gained infrastructure money to build actual leave behind spirit square and more

It wasn’t only Stockwell Day’s rendition of Big Bad John that impressed the crowd gathered at the annual Merritt Walk of Stars gala, he also blew everyone away with an announcement of almost $700,000 for the Youth Mural Project.
On Friday evening, the Okanagan Coquihalla MP shared a song, made a star and announced two grants from the Government of Canada. The largest of the two is a commitment of $600,000 over three years from the National Crime Prevention Centre. The second is an annual grant of $99,741 in Youth Skills Link funding from Services Canada.
“The Government of Canada is committed to focusing crime prevention funding on those who are most at-risk and on projects that demonstrate they work,” Day explains. “I applaud the efforts of the Merritt Walk of Stars Society for developing a local solution to assist approximately 50 at-risk aboriginal youth in the Nicola Valley lead productive and positive lives. As Minister of Public Safety and Member of Parliament for this area, I am proud to support this initiative.”
Day says the mural project is an important part of the community because of it’s focus on the youth. He says the murals have become a statement of what a community can
“They represent the values that are expressed and founded in rural communities across the country,” he says of the murals. “They represent the importance of family that comes from a small community – the people who care for one another – that’s what its all about.”
He says crime in Merritt is no worse than any other community. The funding came to the city not because of its crime rate but because a few people with a vision worked hard to come up with a way to make a difference. He adds for that reason muralist Michelle Loughery should be commended.
He points out that young people need to know that they are accepted and that someone cares enough to help them move in a positive direction.
Loughery believes that is exactly what her program offers Merritt youth.
“None of the kids in Merritt are bad, they are just lost without parental support or structure,” she says. “They want that, and we offer it to them.”
She says the three years of guaranteed funding seems like lots of money, but it will only cover the wages of approximately 17 youth, their employment training, a life skills coach and some supplies.
But its value is that it offers them longevity.
“It means we can plan ahead,” she says.
She adds that looking three years ahead will break the cycle of the youth jumping from program to program. It offers them a real future and a chance for employment.
The focus of the crime prevention part of the grant is to support vulnerable families and children at risk, to prevent youth gang and drug-related crime and recidivism among high-risk groups and to foster crime prevention in aboriginal communities.
Loughery has co-ordinated the mural project in Merritt for four years. She says already it has made a difference.
“It’s already preventing crime,” she says. “The biggest crime of all is the loss of support systems in our communities.”
She says the youth involved in her project don’t start out with issues they struggle with now.
“They are victims first,” she says. “They are victims of a broken down society.”
Amber Papou worked for two years with Loughery securing the crime prevention funds. She says it was a hard journey, but having the two grants will make the program more complete.
“The Services Canada grant offers the youth employ-
ability skills,” she says. “And the crime prevention money is more focused on teaching them life skills.”
Loughery says the system Canada is using now for troubled youth is not working. Programs like hers help them reshape their future by building their skills and confidence.
“We will be studying its
success,” she says. “It enables kids to make a contribution to their community and take pride in the fact that they have a
voice and feel powerful.”

TRUEBL:UE Archives on the highway

Merritt gets promoted at Canadian Country Music Awards

By on September 21, 2005

The Merritt Walk of Stars had excellent representation at the Canadian Country Music Awards in Calgary.
A team made up of Amber Papou, Ron Sanders, Peter Moyes and Muralist Michelle Loughery all attended the prestigious country event to promote what the program has been doing in Merritt.
Papou mentioned it was a whirlwind of a time that included being on their feet from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.
“Overall there were some fun moments but it was mostly a lot of work,” she said. “It was a blur, we talked to so many people.”
The group managed to hand out more than a large number of the Walk of Star’s information packages. The package included information on all of the Walk of Star’s initiatives including the muraling project, star walk and facades project. The package also showcases Merritt as the Country Music Capital of Canada. There is even a promotional DVD that features Harley Carman’s Merritt Song.
Sanders said people in the industry are starting to take notice of Merritt.
“They like Merritt,” he said. “The artists want to come back once they’ve been here.”
“All the people I talked to were very keen on the project,” added Papou. “We made so many contacts with industry people, some of them major players in the business.”
Sanders went on to say that, in regards to the Walk of Stars, the muraling project has added a lot. It’s all part of the groups attempt to reach bigger crowds and create awareness.
One main focus will now be reaching the bigger media and even CMT.
“We really need to do more work there,” said Sanders in regards to CMT. “We would like them to come up when an artist signs a mural.”
Of course, having the Merritt Mountain Music Festival win best festival at the awards certainly helped get the Merritt name in people’s minds.
“Everybody knows about MountainFest,” Sanders said. “It’s important for Merritt to get that exposure and in the end artists coming to town will make that happen.”
Sanders also had the chance to visit the nearby town of Cochrane which has it’s own façade program that was done by Urban Systems.
“It was working very well for them,” he said.
A sign that the Walk of Stars’ program is working was that nearly every artist at the CCMAs already has their very own star on the walk. Also early every artist at the CCMAs already had their own star already in Merritt.
Next for the Walk of Stars is the British Columbian Country Music Awards, in which they have been asked to take part. It will be another chance to promote their work in Merritt.

Finding Your #Blue

Following your blue is a major part of the #RouteBl:ue highway. We are all connecting through the building of communities and the roads that have tied us together for centuries. But the truest first bl:ue connection is to yourself. Finding your Bl:ue is finding yourself. Self discovery of boundaries, growth and what part you play in the creative play of your life. We are all actors in the play of life. We change and morph into well defined versions of ourselves. Finding your part in that play takes courage and resilience. Be Brave… be bold…be Bl:ue


#CCMAHallofFame #route97 #merritt#routeblueroadtrip @michellelougherymurals#bluebirdcountry#walkofstars

The story as I remember in conversation with Amber Papou to the events



The First Home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Written by Randy Owen – Last Updated Wednesday, 02 November 2016 12:06

27 years ago today, the first home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame opened in Kitchener, Ont.! Singer, songwriter and producer Gary Buck had owned the copyright to the name, resulting in the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) recognizing the legends with their own Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour awards. At first, Gary’s plans in the late 1980’s were to open the Hall in an old converted school in Hamilton, Ont. (he once showed me the architecture plans), but renovation costs soon made that idea unlikely. His next plan was to have a pre-built structure assembled on the grounds of Sportsworld (an entertainment complex) in Kitchener. On Nov. 2, 1989, it was opened with Buck doing the official opening and then-Mayor Dom Cardillo and…

View original post 766 more words