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Meet LeAnn Blackert. LeAnn is originally from the states but has lived in Kamloops for ten years. She loves hiking, exploring the great outdoors, and hopes to see a change in the world's view on the climate crisis.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kamloops?
I grew up in northern Illinois (United States) and moved to Kamloops from the San Francisco Bay area ten years ago.
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
My partner, Ivy Thomas, who is currently serving as a minister at St Paul's United Church in Kelowna.
What is your favourite local store in Kamloops and why?
Cosmic Rocks. Because the owner, Erin Maze, is pursuing her passion and dream and I support her courage in doing so. The store is very small but has big, dynamic energy!
Describe yourself in one word.
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
Prophetstown, Illinois, the home of my parents, because I don't get to see them enough! And I miss them.
What is your favourite activity in Kamloops?
Hiking in the amazing parks in and around the city.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
It's just too embarrassing to share!
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
The day my guide at a week-long land-based retreat on Vancouver Island whispered the question "have you heard of Wild Church?" in my ear last spring. It started me on the journey to finding out more about this form of spirituality which gathers on the land and looks for a connection with God/Creator/Source/Holy One/Great Mystery through the natural world. I am now working with two friends to develop a Wild Church community in Kamloops.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
My favourite childhood memory involves the nights my Gramps took my sister and I fishing in the small creek near his house. We would catch carp and an occasional catfish. We'd all sit along the bank in the weeds covered in Off to keep the mosquitoes away. While we waited for nibbles big enough to move our bobbers, we would listen to the St Louis Cardinals baseball games on a transistor radio. It was summer bliss from my youth.
Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
My previous work as a minister of a local United Church congregation kept me extremely busy and offered little time for volunteering outside of church-based activities. We sought ways to give back to the community there. I've only been working at Wild Church full-time since May and am currently looking for ways to be volunteer time and energy in the community. Wild Church has organized a cleanup effort at McDonald Park earlier this spring. I also volunteer as a spiritual care chaplain at RIH.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
That we would finally understand the severity of the climate crisis and take action to make the changes needed.
Where would you sneak away to in Kamloops to spend some time alone?
Kenna Cartwright is my favourite sneak away place.
Where would you like to see positive change in Kamloops and why?
We need to continue seeking ways to change the systemic challenges that create poverty and homelessness. Kamloops is making great strides but there is still much work to be done. My personal mantra is to "love God and love neighbour."
What do you think makes Kamloops great?
Music in the Park! And all the other ways the community supports artists and the arts.
What are 3 things on your bucket list?
To acquire Canadian citizenship, to travel to the east coast of Canada, and to have a book published.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I make a mean whole wheat chocolate chip cookie!
How do people connect with you, personally, through social media?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
What is the name of your business/organization?
Why did you get into/start this business?
Connecting the natural world and spirituality is my passion.
What is the goal of your business?
To enable others to find an expression of their spirituality that nourishes their soul.
What has been your biggest struggle either at work or in life?
Encountering those who have no room for different ways of being in their worldview.
What do you always find yourself saying?
I've been told I always say "God" with a funny midwestern US Blues Brothers kind of accent. Like "we're on a mission from God."
Tell us your best piece of life advice.
Find yourself. Be yourself.
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
Greta Thunberg, because this young woman is a contemporary revolutionary. I would like to listen to her story and be inspired by her courage in action.
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
For me, this is a huge piece of loving our neighbours, of lifting one another up. Corporations and capitalism are making it hard for people to live full lives. It's time to get back to being neighbours.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
My partnership. We have supported one another through life changes and live apart so we can each be who we are supposed to be at this point in time. Somehow we make it work, we keep our relationship fresh, and we support one another's work.
Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
Erin Maze, Cosmic Rocks, because she is living her dream!
My choice for the KamloopsBCNow In Focus spotlight is:
Michelle Walker, director of the Y's Women's Shelter.
We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE. Thank you, Kamloops.
In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition of the people, businesses, and organizations that help make our city great!