Our forests have always been the root and crown of our community. For tens of thousands of years, from the first Coast Salish peoples who drew life from these lands to the settlers whom they first welcomed, our forests have been the mantle over the rich, at times troubled, and profoundly human story of our lives together. It is the story of our one, human, love set against the vast, primordial mystery of these trees. Our story.
The forest of trees at the Dundarave Festival is rooted in this heritage. From the heroes who plant them — a small army of West Vancouver firefighters — to the hundreds of people who decorate them, these trees become a forest of light, a beacon of hope. Through the five weeks of the holidays, they shine with the best spirit of the season and the true spirit of our community.
Some families and friends use their trees as the West Van alternative to the "tail gate party", collecting everyone they love for tree decorating parties at the Dundarave Christmas Fair. Some families and friends use their trees to honour the passing of an irreplaceable loved one. Their trees bear witness to a love death cannot overpower. Businesses use their trees to affirm the powerful role their enterprises play in contributing to the common good, building sustainably our prosperity. Schools, universities, community groups, parliamentarians, and the District of West Vancouver use their trees to affirm the values that allow us to thrive as a free, democratic and compassionate society. Each tree shines with a story of its own, and standing together they unite us.
But they do more than this. These trees, against all probability, have become a powerful engine of change because they are ending homelessness in our community. At a time when the demands on the Lookout Society's North Shore Shelter have reached an unprecedented level, as more seniors and more young adults turn to the shelter for help than ever before, these trees have allowed us the power to answer their needs with intensive, sustained, and professional care. The charitable donations raised by the Dundarave Festival's trees, over $105,000 through the past four seasons, have allowed the Shelter to double its transitional support staff. This is an area that had been a perennial bottle neck in the operations of the Shelter. While governments provide funding to rescue the homeless from our ravines, streets and beaches, they provide no funding for the all important transition from homelessness to stable lives. The answer to this dilemma, to the challenge of allowing the most vulnerable people in our community to claim their rightful places at the heart of our community, has come from your generosity through the Dundarave Festival's trees.
We've just put out the first call for tree sponsors in the Festival's 2013 season. (If you missed it, you can find it here.) There are one hundred trees on offer at Dundarave Beach. Within the first hours of this announcement, ten percent of the trees were claimed - and most of them by people who are making this their first season at the Dundarave Festival. This is a testimony to the way our forests call us to a deeper humanity. Be sure to claim your tree today, and join us as we let our humanity, our one love, shine in one hundred trees.
The Dundarave Festival Society
We are a circle of friends working in the Dundarave Festival of Lights Society to bring to life the promise of Christmas in our community, a season of life, passion and purpose that leaves no one in the cold. This is community-driven social change, in the true spirit of Christmas and the best spirit of our community.