What they’ll need – Candidates for Classroom... will be persons 18+ who are:
Reflective – We’re looking for those who think about Life, their country, the world and their part in these. We’re not focused on IQ or ability to assimilate data/formulas though these may be useful skills.
What does it matter if one can name politicians or constitutional dates but sees no Why behind them? A thinking person can join the dots.
Responsible – Classroom participants will be people who can live on their own and take care of themselves and a personal living space. They will be able to show discipline and follow a routine when required. While we look forward to sharing many good times with enthusiasm/exuberance, our time travelling together is not a nine week long camp or party. It has a serious intent with measurable goals.
Resourceful – As a starting point, each selected candidate will be asked to raise $3600 at the time of their acceptance. One third of this ($1200) is a non-refundable registration fee. The remaining $2400 is a deposit that will be returned on successful completion of the course requirements. How they raise this—legally!—is up to each student.
As part of the group they’ll use their skill and perceptions to come up with effective ways of facing challenges and sharing experiences.
Representative – Our pilot group will include a participant from each province and territory and one from the national capital region. Each will serve afterwards as a regional contact for next year’s event.
There are aspects of our country to be represented besides regions:
Language – To foster cross-cultural connection, at least a third of the group will be able to speak both official languages. Fluency in other spoken languages will also be an asset.
Roots – Many of our most dynamic citizens have not been long in Canada. This helps to make us a global village. We’ll be for those who can link us to other parts of the world community.
Interests/orientations – Each student will have at least two talents: artistic/communicative ability, including music and movement, are definitely pluses in sharing our message widely.
…Classroom on Rails is envisaged as a Canadian leadership training school!
What they’ll gain – Students will return from Canadian Classroom with:
1. an awareness of how immense their country in breadth and how wide in contrasts. They’ll have truly been here: felt the wind, walked the land, stood by the waters and heard the echoes.
2. an appreciation of the many nations/peoples that make up Kanata: the riches of culture from those of the First Nations to the most recent arrivals, and a realization of the values we
3. an understanding of the activities and outlooks, the industries and pastimes, the strengths and vulnerabilities of each of Canada’s regions, and an ability to relate to these qualities
4. songs, skits, dances, poems, stories, games that serve as catalysts to connect people and builders of community, and can serve as bridges between communities as they are shared
5. friends from every part of Canada. From these connections, many of which will be lifelong, they will have roots throughout the country: No part or region will ever feel foreign or strange again
6. leadership skills demonstrated on the road, in personal and collaborative projects, in presentations made aboard, in the stations where they’ve stopped and communities where they’ve spent time
7. a solid sense of who they are as individuals, members of local and regional communities, citizens of Canada and of Earth. Earlier points of references such as families, faith connections, can be strengthened in a larger sense of inclusiveness possible in a country whose name means “village” or “meeting place,” whose motto is “from sea to sea” and whose prime value is Connection.
For instance …
If they are Newfoundlanders (and Labradoreans) they will see the Rock as an anchor in a larger New Founde Lande. What takes place in the larger land will no longer be away.
If they are Québécois(es), they will see “Mon pays” as a focal point of a federation they enrich and influence, and core of a hinterland that is theirs to explore and imprint.
If they are Westerners, they will see their open spaces as a foreground to a colourful backdrop they can penetrate and claim as they market themselves on the world stage.
If they’re Maritimers, they’ll have the satisfaction of seeing the country conceived at their own unity Conference.
If they are Northern peoples of the land they’ll be confirmed as guardians of a wilderness that has never been conquered.
If they are Aboriginals, they’ll recognize that the land they once held in trust is still theirs.
If they’re expatriates, they’ll realize that citizenship is more about spirit than ancestry or place of residence.
The values that are examined, strengthened and deepened on the journey are akin to the pilgrimages of earlier generations and traditions …
On creed and culture, citizenship and human values
In the elusive search for a Canadian culture, students will, in their existential search for a “Passage…, find there but the road back home again.” (Rogers)
“The road back home again” will be not be return to old talking points but a discovery of truth in the richness of traditions and practices from which they came. The word religio is root to both religion and relationship (Fr. relier = to join). If relationship and faith are to be alive, they must continually renew.
The experience of Canadian Classroom will lead to revisiting other reference points. In a country whose name means “meeting place” students can deepen and integrate citizenship and faith, relationship to Self, Others and to Source.
If they are Christian, they will see Kanata as a potential expression of the Kingdom announced by the Baptizer who mentored Jesus and inducted him as the Christ. The Baptizer’s 4-fold message (preparing a way in the wilds, social justice, non-racial citizenship and something/one greater to come) justify his adoption as a Patron in both Newfoundland (Cabot) and New France (Champlain)
If they’re Jewish, they’ll find Kanata a place where they can live their distinctiveness as a distinct community without need to return elsewhere to a homeland. Many post exilic Hebrews chose to remain in Persia under the benevolent reign of Cyrus. The French in Canada adopted this view of themselves as a faithful remnant in the New World following the British takeover and the fall of Old France.
If they are Islamic, they will discover in Kanata a more favourable opportunity (“a better country”) to manifest their participation in the larger Whole (submission to the plan of Allah) modeled by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The peace they invoke in his name will be the presence they bring to their new homeland as did the women who founded Canada’s first mosque in 1931.
If they’re Buddhist, they’ll discover in Kanata breadth of space and spirit to find a balance between polarities (parliamentary rule and federalism, “conscription if necessary/not necessarily conscription,” a charter of rights/freedoms with a legislative override). Gautama’s parallel series of encounters led to his withdrawal of identification with experience: the prelude to eventual peace and Enlightenment.
If they are Bahá’i, they’ll recognize Kanata as a meeting place like that envisioned by Bahá’u’lláh in founding a community of spirit that affirms the essential oneness of all peoples and faith traditions. Bahá’i respect for the equality of persons as expressions of God, its looking to a social order without violence or discrimination, and its emphasis on global peace represent Canada at its best in the world.
If they are Hindu, they may intuit in Kanata a temple of Light that embraces the complexities of the human condition and facilitates an orderly evolution of consciousness and freedom from bondage as did Mahatma Gandhi in his calling as liberator of the Indian sub continent, as would-be unifier of its peoples and traditions, and in starving himself a lightning rod as an alternative to violence.
If they are Sikh, Confucian or Taoist, they may perceive in Kanata the coexistence of ancient and emerging pathways in a New World and apprehend that our pluralism does not represent a lack of order or loss of consensus, but a cross sectional view of an evolving universe rearranging itself and “unfolding as it should.”
If they are animistic or Shinto, they may relate to the experience of Kanata First Nations in accepting the Creative Presence in all and invoking and manifesting this Presence in dance, celebration and storytelling without need of fixed creeds or verbal statements that, by using language, intensify linguistic and culturally based differences rather than seeing the inherent oneness of all things.
If they are nontheistic in respect of established traditions, hold a reverence for life and respect for humankind, they will experience Kanata as a benign environment/setting to pursue these values and in time uncover and articulate their own Transcendent.