Presentation of the Caring Canadian Award
Langley, British Columbia, Monday, June 3, 2013
I am delighted to be here for a very special presentation of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award.
In November 1995, The Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc announced the creation of an award to honour Canadian volunteers—the unsung heroes of our communities.
The Caring Canadian Award recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter and more caring nation.
And in this case, a more fair and just world.
The members of the Langley Little League baseball team are so very deserving of this honour. Their story is truly inspiring.
It began when the Langley Little Leaguers were scheduled to play against a team from Uganda at the Little League World Series in the United States. Unfortunately, the Ugandan team was unable to play in the tournament due to visa complications, meaning its members had to stay in Uganda and watch the game in which they should have been playing on TV.
Ruth Hoffman of Vancouver could not abide this injustice. Together, she and the Langley Little Leaguers, along with a number of partners, raised the money for the team to visit Uganda and play the official game. Langley lost 2-1, but more importantly, won many friends and admirers in Uganda and here at home.
They also raised money to help develop baseball in Uganda and visited charities and local communities. The members of both teams became the best of friends, and a documentary has even been made about their experience.
This remarkable story of caring and generosity epitomizes the best of our country. The Caring Canadian Award was established to recognize just such individuals as the members of the Langley Little League baseball team, whose sense of fairness and justice led them to reach out across the world.
Canadians today are pushing the boundaries of volunteerism, taking the tradition of caring that exists in this country into the 21st century. Volunteers today are finding ways to help that were never even dreamed of a generation ago. Retirees are rechanneling their skills, knowledge and experiences to teach and help others.
Newcomers to this country are enabling Canadians to learn about different traditions of giving. And people of all ages and backgrounds are going online and using social media and other advanced communications technologies to carry out virtual volunteering, micro-volunteering and crowd-sourcing, among others.
And then we have the Langley Little Leaguers, giving in such extraordinary ways.
As governor general, I consider it a privilege to recognize the members of this team and those who supported them.
On behalf of all Canadians, thank you for your caring and kindness.