Blue Goose Holds Historic Virtual Convention Awards Night

Posted by tmaloney on September 07, 2020
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As so many aspects of our professional, personal, educational, and social lives have changed from the restrictions of COVID-19, Blue Goose saw the opportunity to adapt as we held a Virtual Convention and Awards Night on Tuesday August 25, 2020.

A summary of this event has been written by our very own PMLGG Dan Rich.

Congratulations to the Northern Michigan Puddle 2020 Scholarship Recipients!

Posted by tmaloney on August 08, 2020
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Various Ponds and Puddles of the Honorable Order of the Blue Goose International have donated a total of $9,600.00 in scholarships this year, of which the Northern Michigan Puddle has contributed $4,000.00 to this total.

Congratulations to recipients Courtnee Zaremba, Hannah Johnston, Jack Holscher and Rylee Harding who each received $1,000.00!

Gander Spotlight: Ailie Bikaunieks (Ontario Pond)

Posted by tmaloney on July 24, 2020
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Ailie Bikaunieks, PMLG Ontario Pond Member since 2012

Where do I even begin….my experiences with Blue Goose Ontario Pond. I have so many memories, over the course of 9 years, I guess I’ll go with my first and most funny.

Ontario Pond brings in the new Ganders in Quebec City. I’m sure if you were there, you’d remember too. My very first official out of town “assignment”. It was important, and that’s how I felt. Like I was part of the flock, a team, a mission. Get these young Goslings initiated. But I was also scared out of my mind. Until I felt the warm embrace of my fellow Ganders who’d come from far and wide. Join in, further the cause, be part of the bigger picture. You can do this. And I did.

I was given the best task, to write a script based on a 100+ year old charter without losing meaning or the seriousness of the message, with a funky twist. Fellowship and charity. But it has to be fun, memorable without losing “the solemnity” of this sacred order. The theme, disco-chic, 1970’s funkadelic with a too hot to handle actress-teacher to bring the ponds to order.

All goslings were given their proper headdress, in the form of a super stylish afro-wig. Ontario Executive dressed in full psychedelia. Big glasses, short dresses , bell-bottoms and chunky shoes. Our Pond, along with anxious Goslings waiting outside a grand ballroom packed with members from all ponds. It’s almost time to make our entrance. To get this show on the road.

“Class will come to order!” the teacher yells. Again, “I said…CLASS WILL COME TO ORDER” as she slams her metre stick on the chalk board. This was getting serious. This teacher means business. Butterflies filled my stomach as the room filled with silence. All I could hear was this teacher yelling at my fellow Ganders. I almost cried. Oh no – I went too far.

The heavy wooden doors open, I can see the serious nature on the faces of an international order, eager to see what we could do.

Queue the Bee-Gees, enter Ontario’s executive members busting a move, grooving in a line as we approach the lectern, and the big chalk board filled with proper spellings of some old-world vocabulary. Anyone who has had to read or recite the charter knows the challenge of getting through all those tongue twisting words. To “inculcate”. Try saying that 20x in a row.

I could hear the whispers from the flocks at the banks of the international pond as we disco danced our way up the longest isle ever, to stay serious as we took our places to commence with the ancient initiation ceremony.

Chris Giffin, a serious kinda fellow has the “tweaked” charter in his hands. Our fearless leader, Laurel DiMaso, in a cheeky technicolour dress, also a take-no-prisoners kinda gal, standing on guard as she eyed the room. Confidence matters. You’d never guess that “Inculcate and Solemnity” would make you want to get up and dance.

I could see all those serious faces start to soften, lips started curling upwards, then engagement followed by booming laughter coming from the banks of the pond. These are real people, and if they’re here, they are fierce about injecting fun into the serious nature of charity and benevolence. I was home, and so happy to be there. And so was everyone else as the rite of passage came to its conclusion with a full-on standing ovation. Laughter filled the room as folks got out of their seats and came together, welcoming each other and making plans to tour the city and spread our wings.

This is what it’s all about. Fellowship, charity, and good nature with a heaping side of laughter. Welcome, the Honourable Order The Blue Goose International. It is my honour.

Ailie Bikaunieks, PMLG Ontario Pond.

Our Centenarian Gander of the Year

Posted by tmaloney on July 09, 2020
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The early part of May one of our YOUNGER GENERATION Blue Goose members was highlighted in the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper.  The article referenced that Mr. Ralph Wild was quite “Blue” in these pandemic times.  The Honorable Order of Blue Goose felt that they could aid in the cheering up of Mr. Wild and thus a request was made to the entire membership to send an email or a card to Mr. Wild.  Our goal was to show no matter how young or old, what corner of the world you reside in, we are there for each other.  It also was a reminder to all our members that too often we forget our members who might not make our monthly meetings.  But these veteran Ganders built our Ponds and may have helped keep those Ponds alive and well for us.

Born in Yorkshire, England, Ralph Wild joined the Royal Air Force as an instrument repair technician a few months before the Second World War began.  The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign of the Second World War to be fought entirely by air forces, and the largest, most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date.

This veteran did not stay on the ground forever. He volunteered for overseas service and came to Canada on December 4th, 1940 to work as part of the Commonwealth Air Training plan. He was here for three and a half years and oversaw instrument repair for the training aircraft. During that time, his air crew posting came, and he became a navigator and an officer. He returned to Britain and did a tour with bomber command until the end of the war.

While on leave in Winnipeg, Canada he met his future wife.  They were married June 1943 and soon they had a son, who followed him back to England, traveling the dangerous North Atlantic in a convoy.  After the war, while he finished his university in Britain before returning to Winnipeg, Wild gave lectures at museums and schools about his experiences in the war.  Then in 1948, Mr. Wild and his family returned to Winnipeg, where they lived ever since.

Ralph started in the insurance business with the Northern Employers Insurance as an accountant and latterly setting up their claims department. This Insurer was formed because of a merger with Northern Assurance and Employers Liability Assurance. This Insurer was acquired by the Commercial Union Insurance (UK Based) which at the time was one of the three largest Insurers in Canada. Commercial Union closed the Winnipeg branch in 1977 and converted it to a service office and Ralph was given a buyout package.  But Ralph became bored, so he began doing some legal work for a law firm, but found that this was not to his liking, so he joined Marine Office Appleton and Cox / Marine Office of America Corporation (MOAC) in the claims department.  Ralph finally retired in 1982.

He is believed to be the last living Royal Canadian Air Force survivor of the Battle of Britain.  But Wild explained there is no real secret to a long life.

Mr. Wild, our CENTENARIAN Gander, said genes have a lot to do with how old you live, and he was lucky to inherit the long lifespan of his mother’s side of the family.

“Never do anything to anybody that you wouldn’t have done to you.”

Mrs. Wild died on August 1, 2000, leaving three children and several grandchildren.

Ralph Wild is presumably our oldest Gander at 101!  Ralph has been a member of the Manitoba Pond for 61 years, joining in 1958, and is a PMLG.

A side note or two, is that Ralph still drove his vehicle until he himself decided to give up his drivers’ license when he was 98 years of age. Ralph continues to speak to children at schools about his time serving in the war. He has a great memory and speaks without the aid of any notes.

The Grand Nest Officers have decided to bestow on Mr. Wild the honor of being our 2019-2020 Gander of the Year! 

Manitoba Pond makes “Dream Factory” wishes come true!

Posted by tmaloney on June 26, 2020
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The Manitoba Pond generously donated $19,000.00 earlier this year to Dream Factory, which is a foundation dedicated to creating memories for kids battling life threating illnesses. Below is how their money was used to help one little girl.

Good afternoon Keith,

I hope this message finds you and the members of the Blue Goose well. I wanted to reach out very quickly this afternoon to say thank you again for the very generous donation you made to The Dream Factory last December. While we always are truly so appreciative for your support, your gift has been incredibly valuable in allowing us to continue our work through this difficult period of time. I want to make sure you know how much it means to us, and the families we work with.

I also wanted to share a little bit of an update on how we’re still making dreams come true. While a lot of our travel related dreams have understandably been put on hold, we are still supporting families here in Manitoba who need support right now. One example is Sophie, who’s dream shifted to a backyard makeover after her family learned they did not have time to wait. You can read more of Sophie’s story here – https://thedreamfactory.ca/blog/meet-sophie

Thankfully, because of donations like yours – we were able to make Sophie’s backyard makeover dream come true just a few weeks ago. I’ve attached a few photos to this email of Sophie enjoying her incredible new space.

From all of us at The Dream Factory – thank you again for helping make dreams come true, especially during this particularly challenging time. If we don’t connect before the end of the year, I will also be sending a more formal report showing how your donation made an impact in 2020, and some of the highlights of our year.

Please feel free to share this message with the rest of the group. If there is anything else I can do to be of help, please don’t hesitate to ask. I can be reached via email at this address or by phone at (431) 999-9437.

With appreciation,


Andrew Kussy, CFRE
Development Manager, The Dream Factory

Hartford Pond donates Household Helper Baskets

Posted by tmaloney on June 23, 2020
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The 2020 Hartford Convention’s planned interactive charity activity at the Family Luncheon was repurposed as a delivery of 28 filled Household Helper baskets to the Prudence Crandall Center today. The baskets were filled with much needed cleaning supplies with the support of the Hartford Pond, Ocean State Puddle, and the 2020 Convention Committee.

Rescheduled Announcement

Posted by tmaloney on June 15, 2020
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Good day Ganders and Blue Goose Friends!

We hope that you and yours are well at this time.

Seven weeks ago, it is with a great deal of sadness that the Honorable Order of the Blue Goose International announced the cancellation of the July 2020 Grand Nest Convention in Hartford, CT.

But today, it’s with absolute excitement, that we are announcing the rescheduling of the most GROOVY Grand Nest Convention in July 2021! The new dates are set for July 23, 2021 through July 28, 2021. The location will remain the same, and the schedule looks to be just about the same. We are still working on confirming a few minor details. Your event registration remains in place, and the price you paid remains honored for next summer’s event. The Hartford Marriott is also honoring the 2020 published room rates for July 2021.

Procedurally, the hotel will process a mass cancellation in a few days after this announcement. If you made a hotel reservation for this year’s convention you will receive a cancellation notice directly from the hotel. If you do not receive an email notice within the next week, please contact them directly. We will send out an updated link for the hotel reservations as
soon as it is available. Please know that we have added more rooms for this event as we expect a great turnout!

It is our hope that you can still attend! Yet, if you wish for a refund at this time, please send an email to kevin.brady@allstate.com & cherylm@pecpros.com by November 1, 2020. We will provide a refund in full. We still hope that you will re-consider joining us in July 2021! If you have any questions, you may reach out to any Convention Committee member or Cheryl McShane of PEC Meeting Company, our meeting organizer, at 414-899-7418.

We thank you all for your excitement to attend the Grand Nest Convention in Hartford, CT and we look forward to gathering again for fellowship and charity very soon! Stay safe until then!

Fraternally yours,
The Blue Goose Hartford Pond 202ONE Convention Committee!

Our Changing Environment – Restart

Posted by tmaloney on June 15, 2020
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In this ever-changing environment, the HOBGI would like to provide some guidance for you as you begin to re-plan and go forward with many of your meetings or events. We all are concerned about the welfare and safety of our members and any of their guests that will be attending meetings or events in the next several months but unfortunately we cannot guarantee anyone’s safety or protection from contracting the virus.

Right now every Country, State and Province have different re-integration plans, rules and guidelines. Grand Nest is encouraging every Pond to think about re-starting, however, it is essential that any Pond that is planning, scheduling or hosting events MUST follow the guidelines that your State or Province have in place on the date of said event/meeting. You MUST also send each attendee the State or Provincial guidelines in place at that time, as well as the venue guidelines in advance of the meeting, in addition to having them posted clearly at your event/meeting. This protocol will remain in effect for your Pond as long as restrictions continue to exist in your location. All HOBGI Regional events are postponed until further notice unless you are able to hold them virtually.

PLEASE NOTE: the HOBGI Commercial General Liability policy has an endorsement to the policy that clearly states that there is NOT any coverage for COVID -19 exposures resulting from a meeting/event we are hosting.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your MLGG, Dan Rich at DRICH@@travelers.com.


Registration for the grooviest convention is now open!

Posted by kbabler on January 14, 2020
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Who is ready for a groovy time? Click here not wo learn about the 2020 Convention Registration

December Hartford Ponderings

Posted by kbabler on January 01, 2020
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Click this link to read all about Hartford Pond activities as well as information regarding the upcoming Grand Nest Convention that will be hosted by the Hartford Pond July 19-July 21, 2o2o.