Craig Johnston --Good Samaritan
(An article for the October 1993 Deep Cove Crier) As I was driving along Deep Cove Road by Myrtle Park, I was reminded of Craig Johnston and the fantastic job that he has been doing in the community for over 7 years. So often people like Craig quietly do their work largely behind the scenes. But how often do we express our appreciation for the fine job that they are doing? In talking to various leaders throughout our local community, I have found a strong consensus that we have been blessed with a very gifted Community Youth Worker in Deep Cove. Constable Marty Blais of the North Vancouver RCMP said that he personally thinks that Craig has done a fantastic job among the teens. He has always been impressed by Craig’s professionalism and his dedication to the needs of the community. Constable Blais believes that Craig is a real asset to the Deep Cove community.
Just this last July 14th, there was a very helpful community meeting which brought more understanding between teens and adults in the Panorama area. Since then, the problems with egg-throwing and excess noise really seem to have improved. Craig played a very helpful part at that meeting in facilitating greater listening and communication across the generation gap. Craig feels that the presence of the Myrtle Park Youth Drop-in has helped youth feel that they really belong in the community and are valued as people.
Trusted by the Adults
Phyllis Beck*, the President of the Deep Cove O.A.P.A. and Co-ordinator for Seniors Programming in the Cove, sees Craig doing a magnificent job. Phyllis commented that Craig has been extremely devoted and done tremendous work with limited funds. Through his level-headedness, says Phyllis, he gained the respect of everyone in the community.
Ian Ross, the Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society for BC and a former member of the Deep Cove Youth Committee, said that when you have teens yourself, you really appreciate someone like Craig who ‘goes the extra mile.’ Ian is impressed by Craig’s professionalism, his infectious enthusiasm, and his good rapport with teens. Ian believes that it is critical that there be a person like Craig in our community who can really listen to and speak for the youth.
Respected by the Business Community
Wilf Fawcett, a local businessman and long-term Scouting supporter, has known Craig for many years. He sees Craig as a very devoted young man who is having a definite impact on the youth in our community. Wilf appreciates his focus on the great outdoors, and his taking many teens on canoeing and hiking trips.
Al Back, the President of the Mount Seymour Lions, believes that Craig has done a wonderful job. The Lions have been very supportive of Craig in practical ways over the years. Al appreciates the way that Craig has tactfully had an influence among teens in the problem of substance abuse. In these complicated times, said Al, the kind of work that Craig does is needed and will be needed even more in the future.
Bruce Coney, the Publisher of the Deep Cove Crier, believes that Craig is a ‘round peg in a round hole.’ With his dedication and ability to relate well to teens at their own level, Craig is definitely the right person for the job.
Liked by the Teens
David Monks, a local teen, appreciated the time that Craig went on a camping trip to Black Tusk with his geography class. David sees the drop-in as a good place to keep teens off the streets. He says that "it provides some stuff to do and it is a nice, warm place if you want to get out of the rain."
Ken Bell, the St. Simon’s Youth Worker, has liasoned over the years with Craig on mutual youth concerns. Ken said that if anyone can stay 8 years in an area working with youth, he’s obviously doing something right. Youth work is much more difficult than most people realize. Ken really appreciates Craig’s willingness to work with other groups in the area. He sees Craig as someone who always has his ears open and is willing to respond to current needs and concerns.
Craig has a real heart for teens who may be vulnerable to substance abuse or violence. He sees a new wave of young people out on the streets, as young as age 11 or 12. His concern is that we be proactive in offering healthy alternatives to these young people. Craig reminds me a lot of the famous story of the Good Samaritan. When a wounded man was lying by the road, everyone else was too busy to get involved. So the Good Samaritan laid aside his own agenda, put the wounded man on his donkey, and even paid for his hotel accommodation. Jesus told the Samaritan story in order to answer the question: "Who is my neighbour?" My prayer is that God may continue to fill Craig with love for his neighbour, the love of the Good Samaritan.
The Reverend Ed Hird
Rector, St. Simon’s Anglican Church, North Vancouver
* Phyllis Beck went to be with the Lord in 1997
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St. Simon's Anglican Church
North Vancouver, B.C.