Ucluelet’s Army Navy and Air Force Veterans club brought a spicy new twist to its fundraising efforts by launching a 2016 calendar full of local history and local ladies.
“There’s a million sunset calendars out there so this is something a little different for the locals,” said the ANAF’s vice president Bronwyn Kelleher.
“People can go through the calendar and recognize people they know in locations that they go to often that aren’t just the regular old tourist shots…Ucluelet does a lot of stuff for the outside world to bring people here and to support their experiences here and it’s nice to be able to do something by the locals for the locals.”
Kelleher said the idea for the calendar’s vintage imagery was hatched when the Western Command Military Vehicle Historical Society visited Ucluelet in the summer.
“We thought that that would be an awesome opportunity for a photo shoot and that was when the idea of the calendar was born,” she said.
David Paul Crombie signed on as the calendar’s photographer and local businesses To Cut and Dye For and Beautiful You volunteered to do the models’ hair and makeup.
Kelleher said the calendar’s photographs are infused with information about local sites some locals might not realize had significance to Canada’s war efforts.
“Interesting things about Ukee that you might not know and will make you smile and love your home town a little bit more,” she said.
All funds raised from the calendar’s sales will go towards the ANAF hall and Kelleher said she was thrilled to offer locals an opportunity to help out without going out.
“Most of the money that comes into the Army and Navy comes through bar sales and not everybody drinks so we’re trying to diversify what we do for the community to open it up to more options and more demographics,” she said.
“A calendar is something that all community members can buy to help support the Army and Navy without having to walk in and buy themselves a beer.”
Kelleher, who is also featured in the calendar, was stoked when she saw the final product.
“They turned out better than we had imagined and fantasized and we’re extremely excited about them and proud to have Ucluelet represented in this way,” she said.
“I’m so impressed with the local talent and how it all came together into a calendar that I am very proud of and is better than I could have expected and I hope that everybody enjoys it.”
The Westerly News caught up with a handful of the calendar’s models, all of whom suggested they had a blast putting the calendar together and were delighted with the result
“It was a lot of fun,” said local DJ Jessica Bedard who has hosted shows at the ANAF.
“[Crombie] was very professional about it and he put together a really good calendar so we’re all stoked. Everyone looks great.”
Marcie DeWitt said she had a great time supporting the cause and “getting to hang out with a bunch of really great ladies and do something a little bit different.”
“The Army and Navy is a good place to host community gatherings and get people out of their houses especially in the winter,” she said.
Caro Mead-Miller said she was “flattered” when Kelleher asked if she would be Miss January.
“It was exhilarating,” she said of her shoot.
“I wanted to become more involved with the community and to support the Army and Navy and this was something creative and fun.”
Tanya Dittkowski said the calendar showcases the ANAF’s young energy.
“It was a really great way to bring some youth into an old institution just to keep it going and to keep it vibrant,” she said.
Dittkowski is featured in the month of July.
“People are going to love July,” she said adding, “All of the months are great; all the ladies look fantastic.”
Stephenie Charleson said she has been brainstorming other fundraising ideas for the club since participating in the calendar and is excited to keep supporting the ANAF.
“This was a fun opportunity to get together with a bunch of great women and do a photo shoot and support the Army and Navy,” she said. “It’s a great place for everyone to get together and have a good time.”
Jillian Edwards, Miss. September, said she was surprised by how much fun she had during her photo shoot.
“I was expecting it to be very awkward but it was really fun and everybody was cool and helpful,” she said.
“I got to stand on top of an old war truck with a machine gun and I’ve never been on one of those before so that was neat and I was just happy to help out.”
Heather Durward, the calendar's cover girl, was delighted at the opportunity to support the ANAF.
“It’s a place for people of the community to hangout and they also cater to youth nights, which I think is really awesome,” she said.
“It’s nice for the community to have a few places that they can go and have events, music and entertainment.”
Kelleher said it is important for the community to support the ANAF so that the ANAF can, in turn, support the community.
“We try to do a lot of things for the community and, as much as we can, we want to be able to offer events for people to come together and celebrate,” she said.