Fun! Laughter, Creativity! Cardboard Challenge! Adult Spelling Bee! Support Literacy!

Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee



There are a number of ways you can participate or support building literacy in the Foothills.  Literacy can not stand alone.  It is a community responsibility. Check out this website for information on the work Literacy for Life does in in the community:

  1. Enter a team of 3 ADULTS to compete for the title of the “Gratest Spelling Team” for 2017 (event will have a max. of 12 teams and 10 are registered to date).
    • $50 registration fee plus (optional)$100 for mulligans.
    • Collect donations. Use this easy online fundraising tool! Grate prizes for the teams that raise the “Gratest Pledges”: 1st place , 2nd place and 3rd place.
    • (optional) Sell a book of raffle tickets to raise extra funds. Only 1,500 tickets being printed at $10 each. Prize is $3,000 in Air Canada travel cards and an awesome travel goody bag.
    • On event day, your team members should arrive in their “Awesome Costumes”.  Invite family and friends to come and cheer you on! *New* this year is a prize to the Audience Member with the Gratest Costume!

Go to this LINK for more information on the bee and to get your entry forms.

If entering a team isn’t your bag but you still want to help:

    • Sell raffle tickets – email or call Stephanie @ 403-652-5090.
    • Purchase a raffle ticket(s) for $10 each – contact the Literacy for Life office at 403-652-5090 or watch for volunteers at various community events – e.g. High River Hospital, and High River Farmer’s Markets to name just a few).  The draw date is December 27th – Grate gifts for Christmas – do your charitable giving with the chance of winning a grate prize.
    • Donate – all funds support literacy programs in the MD of Foothills.  Each team will have an onlinne fundraising page.  Support your favorite team by following this link!
    • Like Literacy for Life’s Facebook page and Instagram, or follow them on Twitter and share posts/tweets about the Bee:
  1. Join us in the Foothills Cardboard Challenge from June to September. Literacy for Life is challenging families in the Foothills to have fun and get creative. Post a picture of your creation to our Facebook and/or Instagram. On September 30th 2017, from 12:30 to 3:30 pm  come down to the Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee,  have fun and participate in some creative play. Material will be provided.  We will take pictures and post them to our Instagram and print them to post on our Creativity Board.  You can take your item home and enjoy.  (We are hoping families and schools would get involved over June, the summer and into July) Check out this link to find out more about the Foothills Cardboard Challenge

    Build Community and Creativity – Global Cardboard Challenge

  2. Buy a Bee for Literacy!  June 1st to June 30th you can support literacy in the Foothills by purchasing a bee for only a Toonie at the Okotoks and High River Sobeys and AG Country Mart in Black Diamond. Every little bit helps.

Programs, Busy Bees and so Much More!

Family Literacy Day – January 27th to February 27th.  – Play our Family Literacy Bingo Card

Starts January 27th.  1 card per family. Cards can be picked up at Literacy for Life Foundation Office, Okotoks Library, High River Library and Sheep River Library. They also will be handed out to all Grade 3 children in the schools.  Complete all the activities, fill out the back and hand in to your closest location.  All completed bingo cards will be entered into a draw for a Telus Spark Gift Certificate, Boston Pizza Gift Certificate and 3 Board Games.  Each library will draw for a prize. (3 separate prizes)  Please note the dates for the draw at each location as they vary.

Family Literacy Activities to try!! Play and have fun!

Program Registration

December 5th 2016.  Call the office at 403.652.5090 or register online at

Raffle Tickets:

The draw for our 2016 raffle was held on December 14th.  Darcy Blanchard from Okotoks was the lucky winner.  He will recieve $5,000.00 in Air Canada Gift Cards.  Thank you to everyone for supporting our raffle.  Watch for the 2017 raffle starting March 2017.


Wonderful Cards for sale:

We still have our cards for sale at #3 1204 – 10th St. SE, High River, Alberta.  Available during work days from Monday to Thursday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Do you need Greeting Cards?  NorthplusSouth, an Okotoks business, donated some wonderful good quality cards for our use.  Only $1.00 a card.  Choose from Christmas, Thank you, Birthdays, Anniversary and much, much more.

Conversation, Chocolate, Cookies and Cards
Conversation, Chocolate, Cookies and Cards


Little Libraries:  Community Reads

If you are interested in having a “Community Reads” box on your property contact Sue at We have started a list of people who are interested in their own little library. It was first come first served and presently have a wait list.

Highwood HighSchool Industrial Arts class has agreed to make our libraries as a school project. We are excited to partner with the young people at that school.  They will start construction in January.

All those that have indicated they wanted a library will be invited to a work bee to paint and decorate their library.  Once they are painted the individuals/families can take them home and set them up on their property.  Help will be provided to install if needed.  It will be the responsibility of the owner of the “Community Reads” box to maintain the books and the library.

Some boxes will also be set up on public property.  A map will be made showing where all Community Read boxes are located. The map will be available on our website as well as Our High River, Town of High River and other appropriate locations.

More information to follow.

Preserving Memories – Technology, Seniors and Youth

If anyone is interested in becoming a mentor for seniors to learn more about technology or to get help to preserve memories to digital contact the High River Library at 403.652.2917. Training will be provided for mentors to learn about the new technology and some tips on working with the senior population.

This project is a partnership between Literacy for Life Foundation, High River Library, Bow Valley College and McBride Career Services.

As seniors begin to downsize their homes and have to move into care or a smaller home, there is often limited space for many of their memories and items that give quality of life, such as records, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, photographs, slides and negatives. A portion of the funds would be used to purchase equipment that would be housed at the library to transcribe these memories to a digital format.  The second part of the project is providing volunteer mentors to help support the senior’s learning. (Partially funded by the New Horizon Federal Grant).

Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee – October 1st 2016 at the Wales Theatre. 

Watch for information in February 2017.  The 5th Annual Bee will be held on September 30th 2017.

The 4th Annual Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee held on October 1st 2016 at the historic Wales Theatre was a success. Raised: $26,225.00 

Gratest Spellers – Big Rockies, Town of Okotoks

Gratest Pledges Raised – Wild Roses

2nd Gratest Pledges Raised – Tie – The Kaliedoscopes and the Super Bees

3rd Gratest Pledges Raised – The Business Babes

Gratest Costumes – The Kaliedoscopes


Check out the 2015 video. Thank you Meagan and Christina for volunteering your time to create this GRATE video.


Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee
Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee

The Buzz is Out!

Q: Why do bees buzz?
A: Because they can’t whistle!

A big thank you to all the teams that have entered the 2014 Bee!  Please check out the list below of the BEEEautiful businesses who are the Busy Bees of our fundraiser.  They are out buzzing around our communities raising funds for literacy and learning.  The name of the business  has a link to their fund raising honey hive page!  Pick a team and help them BEEcome the team that raises the Gratest Pledges.

Check out our “GRATE”  video created by Richard Williams a 15 year old volunteer.  The Bee happens October 4th at the Wales Theatre and doors open at 12:30 – Bee to start at 1:30.   Limited seating and silver collection at the door.  We may have a few tickets left for our West Jet raffle although they are going fast. We have a Tooney raffle for other grate prizes, an Audience Participation Fund raiser activity and 50/50 which will all help make this a successful fundraiser, supporting literacy and learning in the Foothills.

Click on the Teams name ot take you to their fund raising Honey Hive – fund raising page.

Above and Beyond–  Hair Studio that has been open for five years in downtown High River. A team of five great stylists, offering all of your hair and beauty needs. They are excited to take part in the Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee to support literacy in the Foothills, and raise awareness for a great cause founded in our hometown! They invite you to  visit them at 201-126 4th Ave SW to make a pledge and meet the team!

Business Babes– Comprised of entrepreneurs.  Alison Laycraft decided to attack the world of entrepreneurship after having her children. She owns her own Interior Design company called Decor Diva and is a founding member of a women’s business group called Building Ties-Entrepreneurial Support for Women, both of which have been going strong for over ten years.  Lorraine Boulton is a successful realtor and works for Remax although in reality she works for you.  If you are looking to buy or sell property she is the one for you.  The third member is Catherine Van Gaalen the owner of Highwood Printing, High River. She has been a business owner in town for a number of years and came back from the flood to continue to provide printing service to community members.

Big Rockies– The Spelling  Champions from 2013 are back to defend their title.  This team is comprised of Town Councillors from the Town of Okotoks.

Hearts and Minds – A group of dedicated people that are supporting teachers, families and children impacted by the flood of 2013.  These individuals are working within the schools and the community.

Home Hardware – in High River.  Home Hardware stores are 100% Canadian owned, with 100,000 different items available! Home Hardware Building Centres offer a complete range of both hardware store and building centre products. Lumber, tools, paint, plumbing and electrical supplies and an extensive selection of building materials are available, along with housewares, sporting goods, automotive items and lawn and garden supplies. 170 – 12 Ave SE High River, AB T1V 1E7

Okotoks Western Wheel –The Okotoks Western Wheel is the leading source of information on news and events in the foothills region. The Western Wheel has published every week since 1976. More than 35,000 readers open the pages of The Western Wheel on a weekly basis. Over 80% of the Foothills residents use The Wheel (Combase 2007 National Readership Study)

Scooby Drew and the Mystery Crew – are university students from Calgary representing Crescent Heights Dental Clinic which provides high quality preventative and restorative dental care in a gentle and compassionate manner. All of our dentists, hygienists, assistants and receptionists work together as an integrated team to deliver the most advanced dental care and restorative services available. From general restoration work to dental implants, cosmetic dentistry to sleep dentistry, we strive to provide exactly what you need for your best oral health.

Team Optimum Wellness –High River is committed to serving the High River and Foothills Community.  Generations Chiropractic is now partnered with Optimum Wellness Centres.  Generations Chiropractor is a large organization with 25 other locations and growing with a commitment to one stop health care encompassing patient care and education as well as offering multidisciplinary health care in each clinic. They offer many value added services such as direct billing for third party insurances motor vehicle and worker compensation care. Optimum High River currently offers Chiropractic Care, ART, Massage , Cold Laser therapy & Acupuncture .

Urban Optique Okotoks  provides vision care for the Foothills, South Calgary and surrounding communities. Their optometrists and professional eye care staff are dedicated to quality service and superior products for you and your family.  Their fashion-forward team is here to help clients with any concerns about  vision along with finding the perfect frames to fit your facial structure and your personality  223- 200 Southridge Dr
Okotoks, AB T1S 0B2

Western Witties – Western Mortgage Services is an Accredited Mortgage Brokerage operating as a transaction facilitator in the Western Provinces. They pride themselves on their knowledge of residential mortgages.  Head office is located in High River, Alberta, Canada.  They  are 4 time nominees and finalists in the Canadian Mortgage Professional Awards (CMP) and were also nominated for the BBB Ethics Award, with the most recent National Award of “AMP Mortgage Broker of the Year.”

BEE THERE! 2nd Annual Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee

Only  room for one more team. Enter your team and help raise funds to support literacy and learning in the Foothills.  Though your  participation get free promotion for your business.  Literacy for Life has a strong social media presence and traditional promotional tools.  High River Online, Sun Country 99.7 and AM1140 are major sponsors of the event.

The Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee is the hottest competition in the MD of Foothills.  This hilarious, action packed afternoon  on October 4th, 2014 has teams of three people competing in a battle for bragging rights to spelling supremacy and to win the coveted BEE Trophy.   Not only are they battling for spelling supremacy they are in a competition to see which team can raise the most pledges to support literacy and learning in the Foothills.

Join us October 4th 2014 at the Wales Theatre, High River for the Bee-vent! Thank you to the Kidwai Family who own the Wales Theatre for their major sponsorship of the Bee!  Check out our Video promoting the Bee and Literacy for Life.

Are you a better speller than our participants? Come out and watch.  Test your own skills. Enjoy a fun afternoon  without being a participant on the stage.  There is limited seating and a cash donation will be collected at the door. We’re thrilled to announce  the return of John Barlow our Conservative MP as the Bee-Master of Ceremonies and Darrel Janz of Inspired, CTV as the Master Bee Pronouncer, and Danielle Smith, MLA and Leader of the Opposition as Honorary Chair.   Also returning is Sandra Wiebe of Routes Media and Doris Daley as our esteemed Bee- judges.  The spelling bee-vent will be at the Wales Theatre, High River.

How can you help!

  • Enter a team!
  • Make a pledge? Donate Now!
  • Be an event sponsor!
  • Set up a Fund raising page to support your team or Literacy for Life.  Click on this link Canada Helps  and set up your Fund Raising page.
  • Go to your team’s Fund Raising Page  on our event page and support your team!

We’re currently recruiting Bee-keepers. If you would like to volunteer, we’d love to hear from you! or 403.652.5090

Follow our Facebook Page or follow the BEE Tweets at @FoothillsLFL to keep up to date on what is happening. Watch for news about our special Bee mascot when she tours to your community.  Thank you to Anna Quick, Dianne Vallee and Taylor Fleming.   Please use the social sharing tools below to share this announcement and get your community buzzing about the Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee!

  October 4th 2014 Wales Theatre  High River, Alberta

Major Sponsor
Sun Country 99.7AM 1140

What does horses and bees have to do about literacy?

Can you guess what horses and bees have to do with literacy? It is a tough question but the answer is really easy!  Horses and Bees raise money for literacy. Spruce Meadows with the support of ConocoPhilips and the Calgary Sun launched an initiative called “Horses Give a Leg Up” which was a response to the Southern Alberta Floods of 2013.

Through adversity came opportunity. Literacy for Life was chosen as one of the 20 non-profits to participate in this exciting project.  Not only did the organization have an opportunity to raise funds for programs; the initiative created a platform to raise awareness about literacy.

Each non-profit was supplied with a life sized fiber glass horse and $500.00 to purchase materials to decorate the horse.  This all had to be done in less than a month.  Prizes were awarded for best decorated – first, second and third place.  All horses were displayed at Spruce Meadows over the summer and were  up for auction to all interested bidders. We were very excited to place second demonstrating creativity and style. Our award winning horse brought in $7,000.00 in prize money.

The design of “Letter Go!” was chosen for its visual simplicity and its representation of our organization’s core values. The horse is divided into 9 sections, moving from black, through various shades of grey, to white. Each section corresponds to one of the 9 essential skills.  Thanks to Nicole Levesque for her vision.  We are awaiting the results of the online auction. Stay tuned for further information on the new owner of “Letter Go”.

2nd Place - Letter Go
2nd Place – “Letter Go”

What about Bees?  On October 4th we are holding the second Annual Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee at the Wales Theatre, High River .  Our Bees will bee out Buzzing around creating the Buzz about the BEE!  We have 11 teams entered into the Bee and they are all out buzzing around collecting donations in support of literacy and learning.  Click on this link for further information.  The teams are listed and there is a link to each of their fund raising pages.

October 4th 2014 Wales Theatre  High River, Alberta
October 4th 2014
Wales Theatre
High River, Alberta

Bees and Horses do have something to do about LITERACY!

Meet the Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee Teams

A Colony United for Literacy in the Foothills

The Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee is fast approaching. This is the 1st Annual spelling bee fundraiser for Literacy for Life.  Funds from this event go to Literacy for Life programs and the teams who collect the highest, 2nd and 3rd highest number of pledges will win money for the library of their choice.

On Friday, June 7 the teams will gather for a lighthearted, head to head competition for spelling supremacy. It promises to be a night of fun and laughter. While the stage is being set and final plans are being made, let us introduce the teams.

Meet the Spelling Teams

Team Black Diamond

Black Diamond Gem Stones Mayor Sharlene Brown, Councillors Sharon Hart and Judy Thomson
Black Diamond Gem Stones
Mayor Sharlene Brown, Councillors Sharon Hart and Judy Thomson

To support the Black Diamond Gem Stones

Team M.D. of Foothills #31

M.D. of Foothills #31 Foothills Fillies Mayor Ted Mills, Councillors Doug Longson, Judy Gordon*, Ralph Nelson, Barb Castell*, Julie Peters*, Suzanne Del, Ron Chase *Team
M.D. of Foothills #31
Foothills Fillies
Mayor Ted Mills, Councillors Doug Longson, Judy Gordon*, Ralph Nelson, Barb Castell*, Julie Peters*, Suzanne Oel, Ron Chase

To support the M.D of Foothills #31 Foothills Follies

Team High River

High River Kool Ade Spellers Councillors Emile Blokland, Don Moore, and Al Brander
High River
Kool Ade Spellers
Mayor Emile Blokland and Councillors Don Moore and Al Brander

To support the High River Kool Ade Spellers

Team Turner Valley

Turner Valley BEE G's Councillors Barry Williamson, Sandra Rishaug and Gerald Pfeil
Turner Valley BEE G’s
Councillors Gerald Pfeil, Sandra Rishaug and Barry Williamson

To support the Turner Valley BEE G’s

Team Okotoks

Okoktoks Big Rockies Mayor Bill Robertson and Councillors Florence Christophers, Ed Sands
Okotoks Big Rockies
 Councillors Ed Sands, Matt Rockley and Florence Christophers

To support the Okotoks Big Rockies

Your Vote Counts

Now it is your turn to vote for your team and library. Select which team you would like to support using the links above.

To find out more about Literacy for Life Foundation, visit

Donate now through Canada Helps

Thank you for supporting literacy in your community!

“The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service.”     Henry Wadsworth Longfellow