HISTORY OF LITTLE VALLEY JAMBOREE
The following article was written in June 2001 when the website began...
Rod Lewandoski had a dream. All his life he loved music and had wanted to help children, and in the spring of 1998, that dream would come true. Rod was at a local community club meeting in Polonia, Manitoba, a small hamlet, north of Neepawa, Manitoba. The members were discussing ways of making a little money to fix up their hall. Rod said, have you ever thought of having a music jamboree? You could get local bands, Rod having one of those country bands himself, to donate their music. We could serve food. Everyone loves perogies, and the Polonia Community Club are famous for their perogies.
Rod then told the club the other part of his dream, that of helping children. He told the members of a little girl, granddaughter of one of his band members, who was born legally blind. Another member knew a little girl in Minnedosa who was in need of some help. The members voted unanimously and they were eager to get started. First a name; “ The Little Valley Jamboree”, was going to happen, a day filled with music, fun and the opportunity to help children. Apryl Dawn of Portage and Candice Wright of Minnedosa were the first two members of our Jamboree Family.
Both families were approached and were grateful for any help that could be provided to them. Rod contacted some musicians he knew, the perogies were made and everyone did what they could to help. Local merchants, corporations, and individuals donated time, money, merchandise, and service to help out. The media including local newspapers, radio and television all gave us great coverage. Family members, and friends from the local area and further, joined the community club members, volunteering for the many different tasks. The event turned out even better than Rod had dreamed about, thanks to the people who had backed him up, and many, many more. Each year we have improved by adding pay-what- you pull tickets to sell in advance of the day and adding the ever popular Chinese and Silent Auctions.
We are very fortunate to be still operating the Jamboree with volunteers and donors. Just to back track a little and tell you a little about the setting for the Little Valley Jamboree. Polonia is a friendly little hamlet situated in a picturesque valley. Only about 10 people live there, summer brings a couple more. There is a community hall and a beautiful white church, St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic, which will celebrate its 100th birthday this summer. The church was the center of the life of the people of Polonia and surrounding area. Unfortunately it was closed a few years ago, but is still opened for the occasional wedding and funeral and is the focus of an annual pilgrimage, the second Sunday in July in 2002. The Community Hall was always a gathering place for meetings, weddings, card games, dances and more. The people living in the area today are working very hard to keep up the traditions of their ancestors.
Rod is very grateful to the Polonia Community Club members for supporting him and working so hard to make the Jamboree happen. Thank you for taking the time to read about the Little Valley Jamboree.
See where there Jamboree went next....
In 2006 the Mayor of Erickson. John Braschuk heard about the Jamboree needing a new place to hold their event. Rod had been speaking to some other towns about moving to their venue's. but when John called, Rod went for a meeting. After a few meetings with the town etc. and some volunteers from different organizations in town stepped up, it was settled. The Jamboree would move to Erickson. We stayed with one day, the Sunday and sponsored just one child for time purposes. After this successful event the town said why don't we go with two days and that was successful. It didn't take that much more work to go to two days. Seven organizations in Erickson took on different jobs and Rod and his crew looked after the children, the gate and the entertainment, plus the large auction they always held. This has been working very well, we get to help 2 kids each year, a few extras during the year and the town also has come revenue to do things for the town. The Campground run by the Town prospers as well and were able to do some major upgrades. Most business's noticed the extra people in town. Many people came to Erickson who had never been here. A good deal for everyone involved.
We are so very fortunate in that our committee stayed with us, with only a few changes over the years. We are fortunate that all our valued and so important entertainers, and a few new ones have changed venues with us and are still supporting us and our kids. We are so grateful to everyone who supports us in any way.
This will be our 20th year, unbelievable and we are hoping to do some extra events. As to where we go after the 2017 Jamboree , it's too soon to tell.