Author makes good on promise

In an Advance story about his book, Kootenay Inspired, last December, author Paul Saso promised that half of the net proceeds from the publication’s sales would be donated to charity.

Four months later, Saso says Kootenay Inspired “has just about reached the break-even point and I’m now making my first donation of $500 to Tipi Camp,” he said last week.

“The goal of Kootenay Inspired has always been to inspire people to live great lives. Recognizing that inspiration can only take you so far without action and resources, I am donating fifty percent of proceeds to local charities that empower and enable people to live well,” he said.

The funds will be used to sponsor kids to attend Tipi Camp’s W.I.S.E. (Wilderness Immersion for Self Esteem) kids program, which strives to give each child a deeper understanding of themselves and of the natural environment around them while fostering new friendships and building trust.

“It is truly an amazing program that benefits many children each year, perhaps shifting their lives forever,” Saso said. Tipi Camp is located in a beautiful wilderness setting on Kootenay Lake and camps run six days in length.

Tipi Camp is an apt recipient, with its co-founder, the late Peter Duryea, being one of the many Kootenay characters of the sort that Sosa celebrates in his book. The camp is located on land owned by Alice Bruce, who worked with Duryea (once an actor on the Star Trek television series) to create “a low impact place where people could come out and be soothed and educated by the natural beauty that is there,” according to the Tipi Camp web site.

Saso said on one his favourite stories in Kootenay Inspired, and one that generates a lot of feedback is the chapter on J.J. Verigin, the Doukhobor leader who heads the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ.

He quotes Verigin: “As Doukhobors, we don’t believe in leaders, but often people want leaders because it’s easier to be led than it is to become your own leader. When people ask me if I am the leader, what I say is, ‘I am a steward of an interesting heritage that I think has a lot to offer, and I want to sustain the most valuable elements of that heritage. Not only to sustain, but to give them the full light of day, and if they could benefit others, all the sweeter.”

While empowering people to lead themselves, the story continues, JJ also firmly places responsibility on each and every one of us for the state of our world. He challenges us to do our utmost to solve its problems, not by following someone else’s ideals, but by searching for our own truth and finding our own active and aware path toward goodness and peace.

JJ’s path is valiant and humble. He is grateful for all the experiences that he has had in his life and is dedicated to using what he has learned to improve the lives of others.

“I have to try to improve the human condition, whether it’s within my family or my community, or supporting the efforts of other NGOs,” says JJ. “Before my dad passed away, one of the best internal feelings that I’ve had in the course of my life is the feeling that my father and I were both working towards the same ends, trying to advance the same principles, and strongly believing in what we were doing, and the reasons for doing it. I will keep on getting nourished by the wonderful diversity in which I find myself – diversity of people, environmental diversity, and by other people who strive to make a positive impact. What more could a person ask for?”

Indeed.

For information on how to purchase the book, go to www.kootenayinspired.ca.

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