April 18, 2019 - We had a wonderful time at the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce 29th Annual Samuel McLeod Business Award banquet.
There is a good article on the P.A. Herald website called "Northern Lights Casino takes top honours at Samuel McLeod Business Awards" . It gives a great summary of the evening, with a quote from just about all the award winners. Great job Prince Albert Daily Herald!
The Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce is all about promoting local businesses, partnerships and great networking, if you are local and not a member, join up!
There was a recent article in www.panow.com by Nigel Maxwell, "P.A. businessman remembers close encounter with combine". This article is about my accident Sept. 30, 1997, which ultimately left me with no fingers on my right hand, only the thumb came through.
I've never had an issue telling anyone about my accident. Some folks tell their children not to ask, but it's been a long time since the accident, and I'm fine helping anyone understand the dangers of farming and farm safety. Maybe it will help save some one in the future.
One day I'll write the entire story out of my accident, well I already did years ago, but I'm not quite ready to share that yet. Likely it will include growing up in and around Prince Albert and my life story so far. Dad dying young at 55 years old (when I was 15 years old). Tough farm women that carry on. Story of the farm and agriculture, which shaped so much of my life. The College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan, were I met so many of my colleagues and friends. Becoming a Professional Agrologist and eventually becoming a Forensic Agrologist (an scientist that documents spray drift and unusual damage to crops and other Ag related crops) .
We did all the normal crazy kid stuff, except if we broke it, we had to fix it. We never had money to buy new items, so have fun, but don't break it. Might have to change the names to protect the guilty parties, but everyone has those stories, like bumper dragging off the old pickup, throwing water balloons on those warm June days after school, tubing at the "Red" (Little Red River Park), having a few tasty beverages around the firepit. Those standard things we all did, but to people from around the world, and maybe not too far from our backyard, these things are almost exotic, and quite fascinating. So I've been collect stories of youth, fun, ag, paintball, travel and high adventure. The story of my love, my wife and why I love Kathie. I think it will be therapeutic and maybe of interest to others so long as my story telling keeps the audience enthralled.
Exciting times, with our 25th Anniversary on Aug. 17-18, 2019. Register at http://pppa.classquest.com Lots of fun to be had. $15 for the weekend before Mar. 31, otherwise it's $20 for the weekend or $10 per event (Sat. Open, Sat. Supper, Sun Pump Pistol, Magfed).
We are looking for a few past members and such, please check out the Missing page.
Sat. Aug. 17, 2019
-Old Time Semi (maximum rate of fire is 7 b.p.s.)
-BBQ Supper and stories around the firepit, maybe a target shoot Championship.
Sun. Aug. 18, 2019
-Pump, Pistol or Magfed games.
Feb. 19, 2019 - First day of the Paintball Extravaganza (PBX) in Washington Dc started with a Field Owners Forum, before anything else. They started these forums last year, and they are fantastic. The topics for discussion were Drinking & Drugs (cannabis and good signage), Airsoft is still growing (lots of buyers never play), Employee Compensation and Training (S.O.P. Manual and dealing with tips), Paintball quality (better paintballs are more fragile and hurt less, cheap paintballs hurt more, most field switch years ago to better paintballs).
While to number of vendors and attendees were down at the PBX, there was a very optimistic vibe from those here. Maybe all the whiners didn't show up. Most field and store owners were here to make paintball better.
Next up was SEO Optimization with Harry Brooks, which mostly helped with what potential customers were looking for on your website, because if they don't find it, google ranks that too and knocks you down in SEO.
A very good class was "Turning website visitors into paying customers from Rusty Glaze. Rusty has a bunch of tips to keep visitors longer on your page, by making a better website, and his company can help constantpursuit.com
Next up was our old friend Greg Hastings and marketing. Greg is an excitable guy and gets everyone around him up too. Greg loves critical partners and Social Media Influencers. If you don't know who Greg is, he used to own Redz and runs Greg Hastings Paintball video games. Of course, Greg is leading the charge of the Paintball Time Trials across the globe too.
There was a Paintball Field Owners group meeting and there seems to be a good start for a Industry Group, but it will take time.
Of course, it wouldn't be the PBX without a few drinks afterwards with fields, stores, friends and manufactures afterwards.
Feb. 18, 2019 - No sleep before the flights to Washington DC, as I usually come down the night before our 6 am flights to Saskatoon. I arrived in Saskatoon, sat for an hour and realized I forgot my passport back in Prince Albert. So late night drive back home, get passport and drive back just in time to get up and go to the airport 2 hours early, like they ask. I'll sleep on the plane, for a few hours on the way to Toronto. Clear customs in Toronto, and grab the flight to Washington DC Dulles International. I get a "good" picture of Washington DC (usually we arrive at night, so day time is cool), easy to see the Washington Monument. Get to the hotel, lots of friends around the lounge so I drop of the bags and return for some networking. Run into the usual organizers Rick Chard and Thomas Ghee, and met in person Bea Paxson. Bea has been a huge influence in paintball for years, playing on the all girl team, and having many magazine cover shots. She is getting back in a huge way into paintball, with Team FB Destiny Paintball. and Instragram. Cool video on Youtube about 2018 and Destiny. Back helping with the Paintball Extravaganza too. Plus she lives in Montana. Hopefully, she will come for a visit and we can stop by her place sometime too. Awesome ambassador of Paintball, Bea is!
To be continued...
After 25 years of Paintball as a business, I need to get recharged. I do this by attending the Paintball Extravaganza in Washington DC, which is a worldwide event for Paintball Manufacturers, Fields and Stores to attend. No paintball players allowed, so you can talk shop with business owners. This is a business conference to improve your business. Great ideas on the trade show floor, amazing classes of ideas and tech classes too, and the social in the bar afterwards (some claim they learn more in the bar than in the show, might even be true), as you get to mingle with hundreds of paintball business owners and managers. Business owners would like to grow paintball and their businesses. Some are upset that other things besides paintball are on display, such as laser tag, airsoft, haunt stuff, but as my Paintball Field has progressed over time, so has our facility has grow to offer more than paintball too, like laser tag, haunted corn maze, pumpkin patch, music festival, haunted house. This blog post will grow with the week, as I can't make new posts on the road, but can hopefully edit this post, and include some cool pictures. Our Facebook page will have many pictures. www.facebook.com/paintballpa
I love being a member of the Optimist Club of Prince Albert, for the last 30+ years. Optimist International Clubs are service clubs which focus on helping the youth of the community, which in turns helps the community as a whole, for the last 100 years.
My Dad had been a active member until he passed away in 1982, and us kids always helped at Optimist projects the the P.A. Exhibition Food Booth (serving customers and collecting money) and the the P.A. Winter Festival Country North Show Canteen (selling potato chips, popcorn and such on the floor). So I already knew many members, there are always those number of members that Optimistism was a way of life. Great friends and mentors, many passed away now, like Stan Danbrook, Ralph Smith, Phil Samson, Del Anderson, Clem Kent and Arleigh Rogers, but many still around like Henry Hanson, Vince Parker, Roger Williams and Kris Eggum (an International Vice President) and quite a few that have moved away. Many strong friends still in the club. Our club is spoiled with having an amazing Bagpiper and retired School Band teacher in our club Dave Monette, and we have a bagpiper for all occasions and an excellent Burns Supper in Jan. every year.
I joined in 1986, just after I came back from my first year at University of Saskatchewan, College of Agriculture. During this University time, I was only home on the weekends and during the summer, but once I finished University, I got very involved with the club, being President in 1994-95, chairing the Bingo Committee, Finance, Bylaws, OptiMart, Website, Communications and many other projects. I was the Lt. Governor for Zone 7 (Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Lloydminster) 1996-97. As our club is part of a larger International District of Albert, Saskatchewan, Montana and Northern Wyoming (AMS&NW), on the few International Districts that cross borders, and now I have friends "across the line". Clubs travel to convention held around the District every quarter. Our club hosts conventions for the District from time to time, this last one was in Aug. 2018, which was a lot of fun, as the Governor Stuart Matice was game and we raised a few hundred dollars for the Optimist International Foundation (Canadian Childrens Optimist Foundation (CCOF) (Optimist Vince Parker from our club is the current President of the CCOF) by shooting the Governor with glow paintballs at the reception at Paintball Paradise Prince Albert, which includes a BBQ supper, bag pipers and drums, corn maze and tractor rides, besides the paintball shoot. Optimists are still scared of Red Deer Alberta for the infamous chainsaw the door down of the Governors hotel room to wake him up for the Saturday Morning Wakey Shakey Breakfast, which was videoed. LOL
Volunteering has many benefits, like networking, leadership training, guidance from experienced Optimists and leadership positions up through the Optimist organization. Plus it's just fun to met new and interesting people, that all want to help children and our community. It's been huge rewarding being part of a very successful Optimist Club, that really makes a huge impact on the local community, we do raise and give away $100,000 each year. We help so many wonderful organizations, schools, youth groups and the community.
Community Sponsored Youth Activities, Projects & Awards
I attended a "Green Trades Conference", which is for the Saskatchewan Greenhouse Growers Association, in November of 2018. One of the speakers had an interesting slide, about how much time we spend indoors now. I guess I'm not the average, as most of my career has been spent outside (at least in the summer in Canada). Days scouting fields, looking at agricultural issues and at the paintball field all weekend. The slide is summarized below:
The Hunting industry has the R3 Program. "RECRUITMENT, RETENTION AND REACTIVATION, “R3” is an important issue for anyone concerned about wildlife management, conservation and the future of our hunting traditions." They have noticed the same thing as the Reiner.
If you do want to get outdoors more often, the following list might help.
Here are some great reasons to spend more time outdoors.
I like our FEC Music service, which provides great music, and playlists. These playlists can be "Mom" friendly or "Mom Approved".
http://www.fecmusic.com/mom-approved From our FEC Music website
"How Mom Approved Works. Our team of playlist specialists analyzes every second of every piece of content in our system, then assigns it a rating. If it's tagged "Mom Approved," you can be sure that it doesn't contain alcohol, smoking, drug use, profanity, coarse language, or sexual or violent themes.
Better yet: When you're playing a Mom Approved program, our system makes it impossible to play PG or Adult content. With FEC Music, you can't go wrong!"
Teenagers and young adults playing their loud music in their vehicles, with quite inappropriate lyrics, for a young crowd, and they don't realize what they are listening too, might offend anyone, so our Music Service avoids this.
We like to follow the rules and the law. Personal Use vs. Commercial Use is important to us. Personal music at home or in your car is for personal use only, this is where Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube service is used. But when you stream music publicly (Commercial at Paintball Paradise Prince Albert over the P.A. system), it isn’t legal to stream from those Personal Use services, because these services don't , 1. Allow Commercial Use 2.Recognize or accurately compensate artists, songwriters or other rights holders when their music is being played in a business setting. It does cost more, but it's all legal. We like artists to be fairly compensated for their work.
Plus if you download the FEC Music App, you can request or bump songs to the top of the play list. The Playlist is picked every day, and it is randomly created each day. The playlist can be top hits, 80's rock, alternative, 70's, 60's, country, oldies, and many times a play list for current events like Canada Day, Halloween or in memory of an artist who just passed away, like Prince or Michael Jackson.
FEC Music is from Canada in Ontario, so we get great Canadian content too.
We also can advertise our up coming events. We generally have 5,000 players or customers come through every year, plus parents and rides. If you would like more information on advertising on our video and sound system, give us a call 306-764-9444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
I've been helping a number of local and rural businesses improve their online and social media presence, over the last few years. We now are doing consulting, to help improve your online and social media presence. Just understanding how some things work or don't, have helped these clients. Usually the first thing, is to create a Google Business Listing or claiming an existing one. Do some improvements there, as 64% of all searches are from Google, with Bing having 21%. We also grab the Bing Places listing too. With rural businesses, the map pin is difficult to get in the right spot, so we help with that too.
Metatags, within your webpage coding, are still important in delivering your message in searches. Sitemaps are great to get your business trusted and displaying correctly too.
I could do a whole class on Facebook, but it's a super Return on Investment (ROI). And make sure your site is mobile friendly, as 60-70% of searches are from a mobile device. When was the last time you used a phone book? Do you have a "Call me" button on your website? Social media is great for developing close bonds with your customers.
My personal pet peeves? Put your phone number at the top of your page, and put your location at the top of your page.
So if you need some advice, help, give us a call 306-764-9444 or email email@example.com
George Lewko PAg, is a Professional Agrologist, with a certificate in Forensic Agrology. He grew up on his farm, and started Paintball Paradise Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1994. A combine accident left him with only his thumb on his right hand in 1997.