Steppin' Out 2024 - Time to Come Together Again

Thursday April 25/ Friday April 26, 2024
Riviera Plaza and Conference Centre
(formerly Ramada Plaza Airport and Conference Centre)
3515 – 26 St. N.E., Calgary, AB
T1Y 7E3

Thursday April 25, 2024

5:30 PM-No Host Bar
6:30 PM-Dinner
8:00 PM-Presentation

A Banquet and Evening to enjoy good company, and the 3rd Time Lucky Quartet

Calgary Retired Teachers Association is pleased to welcome 3rd time lucky Quartet to the banquet stage. Since 2020, the quartet has been rehearsing and performing with great enthusiasm and love of singing! For the entire quartet, this is the 3rd Time they’ve been Lucky enough to find 3 other people to laugh with, sing with, dance with, and be in a quartet with! Their repertoire includes barbershop classics, pop hits, folk songs, touching ballads, and musical theatre tunes. Cathy Carson (tenor), Laurie Vainio (bass), Phyllis Davis (lead), Twyla Murray (baritone) are part of the worldwide a cappella organization, Sweet Adelines International.

MENU: Organic mixed greens, buns (GF and regular) and butter, 6 oz steak, smashed potatoes, asparagus, tiramisu, coffee or tea. Table wine courtesy of Orbit Insurance.

Call Linda Manwarren 403-200-0472 with any dietary questions or concerns.

Friday April 26, 2024

8:30-9:15 Registration and Continental Breakfast (plain yogurt, fruit salad, friulano cheese, mini croissants, preserves, GF muffins, coffee, tea)
9:15-9:30 Opening Remarks and initial Raffle Draws
9:30-10:25 Keynote Speaker – Darrel Janz: Aging with Purpose
10:25-11:00 Beverage and Comfort Break
11:00-11:55 Session 1
11:55-12:10 Return to Evergreen rooms for general remarks and Raffle Draws.
12:10-1:10 Buffet Lunch call by table numbers (chicken piccata, veg pasta, green salad with dressing on the side, roasted veg, mixed soda, fresh baked cookies incl GF, coffee and tea). The 50/50 Draw will be made at the end of lunch. 
1:20-2:15 Session 2
2:20-3:20 Wind Down and Final Raffle Draws

Keynote - Aging With Purpose with Darrel Janz 9:30 - 10:25am

CRTA is happy to welcome Darrel Janz to Steppin’ Out ’24. He was a frequent visitor to our homes through CTV evening News and introducing us to Inspiring Calgarians. Darrel will share some highlights of his 60-year career in Television Journalism. Through anecdotal information from his own journey, some quotes and other examples, his presentation will focus our attention on maintaining purpose as we age.

Darrel is a war baby, born in 1941 on a farm in southwest Saskatchewan. Early school years were in Main Centre and Herbert, Saskatchewan. He graduated from Saskatchewan Teachers College in 1961 and taught for one year in a one room, multi-grade schoolhouse. His broadcasting career began on radio in 1962 in Altona, Manitoba and proceeded to television in Moose Jaw in 1963.


Come and enjoy the sessions and the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones. The following sessions provide opportunities to explore the many dimensions of wellness. These sessions and presenters have been confirmed but may change according to the preferences expressed by you. Please identify the TWO sessions that interest you most. This information will help minimize conflicts between participant preferences and help us allocate appropriately sized rooms as we schedule the speakers throughout the day.

Calgary’s first radio stations hit the airwaves in 1922. These early broadcasts were primitive by today’s standards, but they set the stage for great things to come. In this presentation, historian Bob Pearson will use rare archival recordings and a wealth of colourful stories to bring the history of Calgary broadcasting to life. You’ll come to understand just how radio evolved from its beginnings as a novelty and a toy for enthusiasts, to its status as a necessity and an integral part of our everyday lives.

Bob is the Manager of Community Engagement at Heritage Park Historical Village. He has worked at museums and historic sites in the field of interpretation for more than forty years. His career has taken him all over the province, from Lac La Biche to Lethbridge. Bob has developed and delivered programs covering historical topics from knights in shining armor through to the RMS Titanic.

No one understands retiree benefits, and in particular the Alberta Retired Teachers (ARTA) Benefits plan better than Gary does. He has been a major architect of the unique aspects that make ARTA Benefits the plan of choice for eligible retirees. During this presentation, you will receive an update on the ARTA Benefit Plans, including plan performance, changes over the past year, emerging directions, as well as updates on developments in the benefits industry.
Gary Sawatzky has worked in Group Benefits for twenty-seven years and has been a most welcome presenter at “Steppin’ Out” Conferences since 2013. He has been the Chief Operating Officer of ARTA since 2017 and has worked on ARTA’s Benefit Plans since 2000.

Bird watching is the fastest growing recreational sport in North America. During this session Penny will introduce you to a wide variety of birds through a slide show and share some of the best birding spots in the city.

Penny Smith was born in Mansfield, England and grew up in Calgary. She attended school at Wildwood, Vincent Massey, and Ernest Manning and graduated from University of Calgary with four degrees. She is presently working as a substitute teacher with CBE. She enjoys bird watching, playing tennis, exploring nature and walking her three golden retrievers.

Join us for tips and inspiration that allow you to preserve the bounty of your garden harvest or farmers’ market purchases. The presentation will cover a myriad of preservation techniques including cold storage, canning, freezing, dehydrating, pickling, fermenting, jams, jellies, infused vinegars, syrups, liqueurs, and baked goods for freezing. Knowing what you want to do with your garden produce can help inform your planting decisions in the spring. Growing your own produce or buying in bulk can reduce your food costs and minimize food wastage.

Andrea Blonsky is the Chair of the Cochrane Community Gardens Society and sits on the board of the Cochrane and District Horticultural Society. In both those capacities, she participates in the initiatives of Cochrane and Area Food Connections. She is a veteran gardener with a passion for food security programs including the conversion of underutilized urban spaces into vegetable garden space. She loves to explore new cooking and food preservation techniques and discovering new flavour combinations.

The Brenda Strafford Foundation provides extensive services for seniors and their families, including aging care and senior living research and innovation. Join Sarah in this session to learn about some of these services with special emphasis on their Rec@Home program. There will be some interactive activities to demonstrate Rec@ Home and how it can be a support for Family Caregivers taking care of aging loved ones. A question-and-answer period is a key component of this session.

Sarah Allen is the Rec@Home virtual program coordinator for the Brenda Strafford Foundation.

Join Tracie to delve into the essentials of canine behaviour and its profound influence on both dogs and humans. This presentation offers insights into how dogs communicate, emphasizing the importance of early socialization, innate behaviours, and overall wellness indicators. Explore the foundational aspects of the canine-human bond and discover ways to promote mutual well-being.

Tracie is the founder and owner of Clever Canines. She is passionate about providing support to dog owners and dogs through sharing the latest training techniques and building sound knowledge in canine behaviour and handling skills. Tracie’s dog will join her for this session. 

This is an introductory Hatha Chair Yoga session with movements of gentle stretches, deep breathing, relaxation, meditation and limbering of the joints and glands. Using a chair, you will focus on breathing incorporated into the stretches for backs, hips, gluts and abdominal muscles. The chair will also supply support for some balance work. All the muscles of the body will be engaged through this practice, a brief cardio work and lengthening stretch. The calming chime bowl will help close the session with mediation to relax your mind. A participant’s name will be drawn at the end of this session to receive a hand massage.

Gina has a certificate in Hatha Yoga Teacher Training including instruction in meditation, relaxation and limbering of the joints and glands. Gina has been a registered massage therapist for 20 years, focusing on senior care.

During this session Wayne will provide a history of the development of Fish Creek Provincial Park in relation to the history and development of the City of Calgary. Included in the presentation are the floods of 2005 and 2013 and their effect on the park and its facilities. You will also hear stories about what happens behind the scenes and why decisions were made about programs and how the park was to be managed.

Wayne Meikle has been involved with open spaces all his life. Following graduation from NAIT in Forestry, he used this knowledge in a variety of ways: park ranger, urban park planner, and creating his own company to work on environmental issues and parks development. A regular volunteer with Friends of Fish Creek, his knowledge and experiences will provide an interesting look at one of Calgary’s gems. He is completing a book about Fish Creek Provincial Park which will be published in 2025, the 50th anniversary of the park.

Fungi thread their way through our lives, decomposing organic matter, enabling plants to grow, and are part of many foods we eat from beer to pizza, providing medicines, but most importantly bind our living world together. We are fascinated by fungi, both loving and fearing them, and the Fungi kingdom is the least understood by us all. In this session you will delve a bit into the world of fungi: what they are, how to identify them, collect and grow them, and how we as gardeners can protect and foster them for the good of us all!

Janet Melrose is known as Calgary’s Cottage Gardener. She is a garden consultant, coach, educator, and horticultural therapist whose motto is “Grow, Nurture, and Bloom”. Janet will have some of her books available for purchase. Her book, Soil, will be given as a door prize to a lucky attendee.

This session is a light-hearted presentation that takes a unique approach to discussing end-of-life planning. With the help of the Cooperative Memorial Society, you will learn how you or your loved ones can save some cash while planning your grand finale! This engaging talk infuses humour into a typically serious subject, offering practical insights on advanced planning, discounted funeral options and more while keeping the atmosphere relaxed and even a little fun. Attendees will leave with a smile, realizing that preparing for the inevitable doesn’t have to be a grim affair – it can be a meaningful and, yes, even enjoyable process.

Ms. Terry Gibb is the Board Chair of the Cooperative Memorial. Society

Life has begun to return to a semblance of normal with a reopening of the world to travel. One of the results? Overburdened services, planes, food supply chain issues, hospitality staff shortages, infrastructure breakdowns, management, and employee stress and surging costs. There are fewer bargains and challenges both getting to a destination and managing costs once there. Yet, travel remains an essential goal in many of our lives. This session will focus not on the above pitfalls, rather the steps you can take to ensure travel becomes part of your life and retirement again. Ron will share his extensive expertise on how to ensure we reach our travel goals and explore some of the best types of travel for today’s world. It is hoped at the end of this session, you will be ready to pack your bags and get back ‘on the road’!

Ron has accumulated an impressive body of experience in travel. He led groups of all ages, first as an educator during his 32 years as a high school teacher, and then in the travel industry as a business development manager specializing in educational travel. Prior to the pandemic, Ron had travelled to 49 countries, and already has begun adding to that number!

Calgary Meals on Wheels believes everyone deserves to be well-fed. Join Christine to learn more about the programs, impact, and many ways to get involved. Meals On Wheels delivers cheer and connection in addition to preparing and delivering nutritious meals from a state-of-the-art facility. They have served individuals, families, schools, and community agencies for 60 years.

Christine has been with Calgary Meals on Wheels for 10 years in different roles from marketing and outreach to client service and program management. Currently as the Community Builder and Development Manager, Christine focuses on building strategic and collaborative connections in the food security sector. She is also the data guru and leads internal program and project developments to help the organization grow and adapt.

Plant-based diets are featured in many news stories and finding out more about them is the focus of this session. Dr. Andrew McGooey-Smith will share his wife’s story with plant-based diets and summarize the work of the plant-based doctors. Kate McGoey-Smith was diagnosed with a terminal illness called pulmonary hypertension in 2007 and given 2-5 years to live. Standard drugs caused her to become legally blind and lose 50% of her kidney function. In 2012 she commenced a whole plant-based diet. She was then able to reverse the blindness and remove daytime oxygen. She prolonged her life 10 years beyond expectation. Andrew, Kate and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn co-authored Kate’s story in the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention in September 2019.

Andrew is a scientific consultant in chemical risk and reliability based in Calgary. He holds a PhD in theoretical chemistry from the University of Manchester, UK. He served as a faculty member in chemical physics at the Universities of Waterloo and Maryland, worked in the tech industry, was a consultant in the environmental and energy industries and taught environmental physics at the Carleton University as a sessional professor.

Behind its trendy boutiques and eateries lies Calgary’s Secret Mission. With its French street names and large Catholic presence, the Mission District is as old as Calgary itself. This is the story of how Father Lacombe’s independent little village across 17th Avenue became one of the most fascinating spots in modern Calgary.

A native Calgarian, Doug graduated from William Aberhart High School and U of C. He learned customer service working for Woodward’s Department Store, taught Social Studies to wonderful kids at Woodman Junior High for 33 years, then retired to become a Senior Interpreter at Heritage Park. For nine years there, he enjoyed sharing Western Canadian history with visitors from all over the world. He retired again, to enjoy his hobbies of model railroading, pop music history and giving presentations on Calgary history.

During this session, Venetta and Myra will share their knowledge on

• Unison at Kerby Centre and the programs available for seniors
• Various housing options
• Benefits and features of each housing option, including the amenities and services available to residents
• Explain the application process for each type of housing, including eligibility criteria, required documentation, and the timeline for approval
• How Unison at Kerby can assist seniors in navigating the application process, providing guidance, resources, and support

Vinetta Kapoor is the Manager of Seniors Supports and Volunteers at Unison at Kerby Centre. Myra Praxidio is a Seniors Service Advisor at Unison at Kerby Centre.

How would you feel if you discovered that the family you had researched for years weren’t your ancestors? Eager genealogists sometimes build an inaccurate family tree. This session will provide 10 strategies to reduce the risk of making this mistake. You will feel confident building your family tree as you use these strategies. This presentation will benefit new and not so new genealogy researchers.

Tara Shymanski is a professional genealogist and educator. She has deep Canadian roots, with Loyalist and Hessian soldier ancestors who came to the country in the 1780’s. Tara has a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Certificate in Canadian Records from NIGS. An enthusiastic speaker, she has lectured at conferences in Canada, United States, and England.

There is poetry in all of us. We have all come up with a witty comment, a stunning insight that we have vocalized and have amazed a few listeners. How many times have we thought about something we should have said in a conversation, long after the exchange. The difference between these events in our minds and poetry, is poets write it down and yes, even edit it. Come and listen to a poet talk about the craft of poetry and answer questions for those who are curious about the process.

Kirk has published four books of poetry and won the Alberta Screenwriters Award in 2009. In 2011 he was awarded the Golden Beret Award, from the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, and has been nominated four times for the Calgary Poet Laureate position, and short listed three times. In 2020 Alberta Foundation for the Arts gave him a grant for his recent manuscript Window Opening to Sky.

Each of us has a personal story to tell. Our “defining moments” create our transformative journey even though we may not recognize it yet. Sharing our legacy through personal letters is a way of acknowledging the difference we have made. Join Judy in this interactive workshop as she shares some insights from her personal journey.

Judy Steiert is a former teacher with the CBE, a Certified Sage-ing Leader, and a life-long learner. In a recent course called Bold and Visible, she created a monologue of her transformative journey called “Belonging” which she will share along with the four components of a legacy letter.

SOCIAL HOUR 2:20-3:20 PM

Wind down the day by joining in Happy Hour (no host bar) with your fellow participants and enjoying the tunes of Trevor Waters. Take the time to visit old and new friends and talk about the day’s highlights. A light snack will be distributed. While you enjoy this social time, the final raffle will occur. 


Buy a puzzle for $5.00 or trade a puzzle for one you bring in. Funds from this table will be donated to RESET Society of Calgary supporting women exiting sexual exploitation.

Drop off used glasses (readers, prescription, sunglasses) in the Lions Box


This is our 16th Annual “Steppin’ Out” Conference, and it would not be possible without the Generosity of the following partners who have supported us for years.

More than 50% of the cost of this year’s conference has been funded by the generosity of the CRTA and these other SPONSORS. Special Thanks to:

The Calgary Retired Teachers’ Association recognizes Mohkínsstsisi [mohk-KIN-stiss] and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksiká [six-ih-GAH], the Káínai [GUY-nah], and the Piikáni [bee-GAH-nee] First Nations; the Tsúūt’ínà [soot-IN-uh] First Nations; and the Stoney Nakoda [nuh-KOH-duh] including the Chiniki [CHIN-ih-kee], Bearspaws [BEARS paw], and Wesley [WESS-lee] First Nations. We acknowledge that this territory is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland.