The Participant Christmas Banquet is a highly anticipated event, every year, for Gateway participants. This special day includes an early dismissal at 2:30, allowing everyone time to go home early and dress up for the evening. Doors open (at the Days Inn Conference Centre) at 5:30 p.m. and the evening officially starts at 6:00 p.m. This is a wonderful time to socialize with friends in a non-working atmosphere; to share gifts and cards, and to enjoy good food (prepared by George K. Catering). Everyone enjoys lively music and there is always some form of musical entertainment after the meal. Joel Klassen, (for the past 2 years) entertained us with a Christmas carol sing-along and this year his sons joined him. Many get up to participate in the singing (some right on stage with the performer) and dance along to the music. The evening ends with each participant receiving a Christmas gift from the organization as they head out the door.
Participant Christmas Banquet
December 13, 2018
Board & Staff Christmas Banquet
November 28, 2018
Once again, this years’ Board and Staff Christmas Banquet turned out to be a wonderful evening that was well attended. This event is planned and organized by the Gateway Wellness Committee. The evening included a delicious supper at the Days Inn Convention Centre, prepared and served by George K. Catering; it included the presentation of the 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 Years of Service Recognition Awards; it included entertainment provided by comedian Big Daddy Taz, who has often been described as one of the best comics in the business. He did not disappoint.
The 2018 Service Awards were as follows:
5 Years of Service: Tyler Loewen, Debbie Winter, Rhonda Friesen, Stephen Krahn, Mercy Muyambo, Allison Wiebe, Denise Enns, Melanie Chaboyer, and Lina Klassen.
10 Years of Service: Tom Baker, Lydia Hildebrand, Betty Peters, Patrick Simoens, and Margo Vachon.
15 Years of Service: Cornie Hildebrand, Erma Thiessen, Aline Winters.
20 Years of Service: Helen Warkentin
25 Years of Service: Tina Wolf
Congratulations to everyone who received a service award.
Thoughts about the banquet from Tina Wolfe, chair of the Wellness Committee and recipient of the 25 Years of Service Award about the evening were as follows. I thought the evening went really well and we had a really good turnout. I just wished that, although many who received awards were at the banquet, that all the people who received awards from Gateway had been there to receive them. To me it means a lot when I receive an award and I always try my best to be at the event where it is being presented. Overall the food and entertainment was great and it was a very enjoyable evening.
PattyAnne LePage, co-chair of the Wellness Committee and Director of Human Resources had this to say about the evening. One thing that really struck me from that night was when I asked people how they enjoyed the evening, employees mentioned that it was a great opportunity for family/friends who had been invited as a guest to see what Gateway was all about; to see the work that we do. The evening gave them a bit more understanding and insight into the organization. They heard how employees who have been with Gateway for a long time or for a short time – both ends of the spectrum, have a lot of care in their hearts for what they do and for the people that Gateway supports.
Some comments from some of the Gateway employees who were in attendance at the banquet:
- Entertainment and food was good. It was a really nice outing.
- The food was awesome as usual; entertainment was enjoyed; good company at our table; all around the evening was well attended; good atmosphere.
- It was alright. It was good. I thought the entertainer was decent enough. I have only been to about 2 banquets previously and doing what I do, I only see a small part of the organization, so seeing the greater network that evening was interesting to me.
- I liked the banquet. This year was good. I have no complaints.
- I enjoyed it. The food was good and I liked the comedian’s sense of humour. I liked his style. I really enjoyed it.
- I really enjoyed it. It was really good. I really liked the comedian. It was nice to laugh with people. I thought that was a really nice touch.
In conclusion, Kim Nelson, CEO of Gateway Resources Inc. had this to say about the evening. The Annual Christmas Staff and Board Banquet is one of my favorite Gateway events. It’s a great opportunity to see many staff and significant others out for the evening. It allows us the opportunity to share delicious food, stories, success, visits, laughter and great entertainment. Being able to recognize employee milestones and sharing the success of each and every one truly resonates that we have amazing DSP’s in all divisions, and I love having the opportunity to thank everyone for the commitment, dedication and time they give to the organization means a lot to me BECAUSE every employee of Gateway is a walking expression of the Spirit of Christmas.
Gateway Christmas Concert
November 28, 2018
The Gateway Christmas Concert is one of the annual highlights at Gateway. Practicing for the program usually begins in October, right after the Thanksgiving holiday, and continues every Monday and Wednesday afternoon until the date of the program, which is generally the last Thursday in November. Tina and Pearl have been instrumental in making this concert happen for many years. Pearl generally directs the reading of poems and narrations and Tina generally directs the choir. All participants who want to be a part of the choir are welcome.
Tina, who has been with Gateway for 25 years, as of this year, started helping with choir practices about 22 years ago by accompanying on the guitar and then, later, and for many years now, directing the choir. Tina enjoys every minute of the preparation – choosing songs, practicing – all building up to the night of the Christmas concert. “To see their faces light up – that’s the best Christmas gift anyone could receive – at least in my eyes.” She continued to elaborate a bit on this statement by saying that when you see the excitement in their eyes and you know what’s in their hearts; the fact that they can bring the true message of Christmas to the community, “that is, for me, the best Christmas gift ever.”
Pearl’s has had a part in the preparation for the Christmas program for about 18 years now. Her role for many of those years has been to find poems/narrations for the concert; however, in the last number of years she has been in charge of choosing all the material – from the theme, to the songs, the poems, narrations – making sure it all fits together and flows. Pearl alluded to the fact that working at a recycling depot does have its advantages as far as the Christmas Concert is concerned. Some of the ideas for the concert have been inspired when on the job, sorting through recyclables, seeing old Christmas musicals, poems and songs. She mentioned how special it is to see how the excitement of the choir members builds as the date of the concert approaches. She also mentioned, with a smile on her face, that some years there are some participants that show up to be part of the choir, on the evening of the concert, who have not made it to any of the practices – and are just as enthusiastic about being part of the choir as the others who have been practicing all along. There is just something special about being on that stage, part of the Gateway Choir. In the end, the concert always conveys the excitement of Christmas, the message of Christmas, and marks the start of the Christmas season for Gateway and for all who attend. The Gateway Christmas Concert never disappoints.