Passing the Family Pastimes Torch - theHumm December 2021
Passing the Family Pastimes Torch - theHumm December 2021
By Kris Riendeau
When the world seems to be changing incredibly quickly, it’s good to know that some things are made to last. In the case of Family Pastimes, those things come in colourful boxes and contain imaginative and cooperative games! Owners Jim and Ruth Deacove have been running this delightful business in Brooke Valley for 50 years and are now into their eighties. I have fond memories of playing such games as “Sleeping Grump” and “Max the Cat” with my own kids (who are now aged 27 and 30), so when I heard that the Deacoves were getting ready to sell this established business, I contacted them for more details.
theHumm: Congratulations on 50 years in business! What first inspired you to create cooperative games, and how did you turn that passion into a business?
Jim Deacove: When our girls first started playing games they were always squabbling, and first we questioned our parenting methods until we realized that the structure of the games caused the conflicts. After all, the point of the game was to beat each other. We looked around Ottawa game stores and couldn’t find any games that nurtured the family values we promoted: share toys, help one another, be kind to pets, find peaceful ways to settle problems, etc. So, necessity being the mother of invention, we started inventing them. Kids played our creations at birthday parties, folks asked where they could buy them. Ergo, a cottage industry was born.
Although the world has changed rather significantly over the past half-century, Family Pastimes has stayed true to the cooperative game model. What have been some of the biggest changes in your games and the way you market and sell them?
We started out selling at craft sales, then to retail stores, and now we sell on our website familypastimes.com . With new equipment, we made our handcrafted versions look more professional. The basic rule of thumb for my designs has always remained: “Play Together”. That is, I don’t pit people against people.
What has evolved is that early on, I marketed the games as “Everyone Wins or Everyone Loses”. My thinking has evolved away from this rather competitive win/lose paradigm to “How well did we all do?” Now we measure the degree of success and there is no losing involved. Didn’t get all of our carrots harvested before winter arrived? How many did we get in?
Why do you think it’s still important to offer kids (of all ages) cooperative, hands-on games to play? What skills are fostered by playing Family Pastimes games that perhaps aren’t addressed by electronic toys and video games?
The list is long, and includes being conducive to better health and liking one another, teamwork, shared decision making, openness, trust and safety, self worth and personal power, less aggressive behaviour, emotional maturity… all the myths about competition are dispelled. Cultural conditioning trains us to confuse success with trying to beat others. All games require overcoming some obstacle, but nowhere is it written that the obstacle must be other people.
I understand that you are hoping to sell the business to someone new who can run it for the next 50 years. What kind of abilities and expertise would make someone a good match for this business?
Having a kind heart is essential. Family Pastimes is very much a social mission disguised as a business. As the business grew internationally and took on a fair-sized work force, the help of local business experts was necessary. Currently, Covid has made us small again and, to be honest, while we have been big, and whoever takes on Family Pastimes again may choose to go big, they may realize what we are feeling now, which is that small is beautiful.
Ruth and I are keeping the business almost at the level it was when we began 50 years ago, as a meaningful hobby. Digital printing, cutting and assembling parts, gluing game boards and boxes and so on are easily learned. It is a little more complicated preparing invoices and labeling cartons, because this is done by internet these days, but that also is easily learned.
There are two, if not more, ways the hand-over could take place. A young couple with the technical skills in place could take over. But I also picture a recently retired couple who are looking for a meaningful hobby — that would also be a perfect fit. In any case, interested folks can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send them a detailed Sales Prospectus.
By Kris and Rob Riendeau
Here at theHumm we’re big on local economies. The retail and service businesses in the small towns that we cover play a huge role in the cultural life of those towns. Each store, restaurant, or small enterprise attracts and serves a particular clientele — some inside the community, some from outside. Some businesses host their own special events; others join together with local festivals to make the whole experience more vibrant. Many provide support in cash or in kind to local initiatives. All of them add their own particular flavour to the delicious mix that is small-town Ottawa Valley.......
Carleton Junction in Carleton Place will come alive from December 10 to 12 with the sights and sounds of a Winter Wonderland! The Winter Wonderland Festival encompasses a variety of outdoor winter activities, live entertainment, music, food vendors and more. Tickets are on sale now online at Tickets Please (ticketsplease.ca or 485–6434), or in person at the Carleton Place Arena at 75 Neelin Street.
Friday’s kick-off will have the crowd amazed with a fire show by Brant the FireGuy at 5:2......
Peggy Schenk — She’s A Sketch! - theHumm December 2021
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
Peggy Schenk is delighted that postcards are making a comeback. This Perth artist creates picture postcards that feature her whimsical hand-drawn sketches. Captured in pen and ink with watercolour accents, her sketches celebrate the beauty of the everyday mundane. From a hockey rink scene to a tangle of Christmas tree lights, her sketches warm the cockles of your heart.
It’s inevitable that as photography becomes more accessible and ub......
Lanark County Interval House and Community Support (LCIHCS) is bringing back their Angel Tree campaign again this year. Much like last year, the Angel Tree is available virtually at lcihvirtualangeltree.com . The website allows donors to select a person to support this holiday season from the comfort of their own home. To encourage shopping local, LCIHCS has paired up with twelve local businesses to bring The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving to Lanark County. More details will follow on LCIHCS’ social media!
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There I was, ear pressed up against a wooden door in the Almonte Library listening in to a Sketchy Santa rehearsal — around me the sounds of a vacuum clearing up the day. I leaned in closer. What? Sure, it was a frosty night, and yes, I had my mask and gloves on, but still a chill set in. The things I heard. The marvelous, perturbing things I heard!
Don’t even ask me about the power of the Clayton Rhombus… I tremble as I type this… you’ll just have to buy a ticket and find out. Let......
By Sandy Irvin
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It will be still Folkus, but things will necessarily ......
ABBA Revisited is North America’s #1 tribute to ABBA, and its members have been dazzling audiences across the globe since the year 2001. ABBA Revisited recreates the magic of the band with authentic costumes, spectacular harmonies and note-perfect musicianship, taking their audience on a musical journey back in time.
From Vegas to Bermuda, Mexico to Dubai, ABBA Revisited has recreated the show-stopping look and sound that fans around the world can’t resist! This must-see show will be live o......
The Art of Gift at Strévé - theHumm December 2021
“The Art of Gift” is the new show of fine art and fine craft at Strévé Design Studio Boutique and Gallery in Downtown Perth!
Consider giving gifts to your family and loved ones that are handmade, artful, made by only one person, and infused with soul and love. Every item in the main floor boutique and in the second-floor art gallery at Strévé Design is meant to be collected, cherished and then passed down to the next generation. Call this way of thinking old-fashioned and the way people used to l......
By Robert Betcher is the President of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust
Each holiday season, if we are lucky, we surround ourselves with the people and things we love most. A lucky few, like Paul and Cathy Keddy, awaken each day in a place that brings them wonder and joy — their forest.
The study and love of nature is a lifelong journey. Each foray into the forest can bring delightful discoveries and wonderful curiosities that send us searching for field guides and pique our desire to share with friends.
Paul and Cathy Keddy are MMLT members, eco......
A Tale of Two Tales - theHumm December 2021
If you’re looking for wonderful local gifts for children, you can’t get much more local than books written and illustrated by authors in our area. Here are two that are available right here in Lanark County!
Wendy Healey has been a stay-at-home mom, a daycare worker and an Early Childhood Educator. Her first book, Felicity Mouse and her Farmhouse Adventures, is based on her experiences growing up in Carleton Place — specifically on Glen Isle. When h......
A Creative New Spark in Perth - theHumm December 2021
By Kris Riendeau
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By Susie Osler
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Give the Gift of Nature - theHumm December 2021
By Vickie Walsh
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It is the perfect year to allow values to lead the way in our traditions. That can include shopping for products that are sustainable and made from recycled or eco-friendly material. It can mean prioritizing local and Canadian stores. More businesses, such as mine ...more
Feeding Hope Together - theHumm December 2021
By Claire Marson
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Other churches and organizations were sta......
“Just In Time” Studio Sale - theHumm December 2021
On Saturday, December 11, everyone is invited to a wee day-long, open hearted, open-doored offering of nourishing goods for the soul. This special studio sale will feature an eclectic assortment of ceramics and drawings from Susie Osler, hip handmade leather goods from Willa Murray Design, and a host of nourishing herbal products from Clarendon Herbals. 5% of sales will be donated to a local Indigenous-led organization or project.
This pop-up sale will take place from 11am to 5pm at 2501 ......
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The Carleton Place & District Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Smiths Falls and Perth Chambers, is launching a Think Local shopping contest to support local businesses during the holiday season.
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Is it Christmas Already? - theHumm December 2021
By Glenda Jones
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By Kris Riendeau
When the world seems to be changing incredibly quickly, it’s good to know that some things are made to last. In the case of Family Pastimes, those things come in colourful boxes and contain imaginative and cooperative games! Owners Jim and Ruth Deacove have been running this delightful business in Brooke Valley for 50 years and are now into their eighties. I have fond memories of playing such games as “Sleeping Grump” and “Max the Cat” with my own kids (who are now aged 27 and 30), so when I h......
By David Hinks
I reserve a special place in my heart for our Lanark County Horticultural (Hort) Societies. These are groups of enthusiastic gardeners (some might even say obsessive) who in their own quiet ways make our communities come alive. In the gardening season, Hort members can be seen planting tulip bulbs at the Cenotaph in Almonte, adding some plants at the Victoria School Museum Garden in Carleton Place, taking care of gardens at several historic properties in downtown......
By Chandler Swain
The holiday season is following hot on the heels of the final word from the UN Climate Change Conference (COP) in Glasgow. The final declaration was cobbled together and a tad disappointing to say the least. Young activists who know our futures depend on aggressive action on the climate crisis are telling the world that it’s up to each and every one of us to do our part since governments still aren’t acting sufficiently or quickly enough to keep the climate in a safe p......
May 1 - 31 Exhibition: Jeweller Anne-Marie Chagnon
May 2 - Jun 20 Exhibition: Visible Mending
May 22 - Sep 5 Head Over Heels
May 23 The Co-conspirators
May 24 - Sep 6 Eric Uren
May 26 Greg Ball
May 27 - 28 Carole King/James Taylor Tribute Dinner+Show
May 27 Rag Bag Cabaret
May 30 Matt Dickson
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