FAIRMONT HOT SPRINGS, BC – It's amazing what possibilities come your way when you simply open yourself up to friendship, that may have sounded a little cheesy, but it's absolutely true. Remaining closed off to strangers--safely nestled in a cocoon of reliable sameness, never taking a chance, never branching out--is just so boring. When the SnowSeekers team visited British Columbia's Fairmont Hot Springs Resort some two weeks ago, we opened ourselves to something different ... something very different ... and we were rewarded.
Just outside the Fairmont's Bear's Paw Lounge was a staircase that led to a casual seating area where a decades-old kayak served as a backdrop. We decided to set up shop there rather than inside the lounge, thereby scoring an out-of-the-way table that was still positioned along the pathway of any hotel guest going to or from his/her room.
Fairmont's Hot Springs Resort played host to the Gyros from March 12-14. The dinner, shown above, capped off a fantastic weekend.
Aside from the dozens of "Hi, how are you?'s that came our way as guests ambled by, there were at least a half dozen times where a guest stopped for a prolonged chat. One of these guests was Gerry Glassford, of Edmonton. Glassford, as it turned out, was a member of the Gyro Club, a group of about 150 people who were using the Fairmont Resort as a base camp for the weekend.
At the time, we were only so familiar with them as to call them "the noise" we were hearing at all hours of the day, regardless of where we were in the Resort. These folks knew how to have a good time. And before we knew it, we were being invited to one of these "good times" the following evening. The next night we headed downstairs to where the event was being held, a dinner and cocktail party in the bowels of the Fairmont Hot Springs.
For our SnowSeekers team--a group of young 20-somethings dressed in jeans and barely buttoned shirts--it was like walking into Oz, only instead of munchkins, these strangers were immaculately dressed seniors. We had no clue what to expect, but, as I said, we opened ourselves to the experience. We seated ourselves with Glassford and his beautiful wife, Alice, and proceeded to have one of our most memorable nights of the season.
This group of Gyros encompassed only one district of a larger whole. Gyro is divided into eleven districts that stretch from Prince George, B.C. to Palm Beach, Florida; from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Long Beach, California. It's a truly international group with over 4,000 members.
What it is, though, is a friendship club, "Affording men of character the opportunity to nurture friendships and exchange ideas in an open environment," explained Glassford. "It's fun for fun's sake, and friendship for friendship's sake." The group that had assembled at the Fairmont--District VIII--consisted of sixteen different clubs located in Southern and Eastern B.C, in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Eastern Washington, and Northern Idaho. Glassford's own club, in Edmonton, is the district's oldest, having formed in 1921. Twice a year the district gathers together--once in the winter and once in the summer--to guide the affairs of the fraternity and reaffirm the philosophies it stands by:
Gerry and Alice Glassford, of Edmonton, enjoyed a wonderful meal with the SnowSeekers crew.
Power: which symbolizes the power of friendship.
Poise: which demonstrates the steadiness of friendship in times of trial.
Purpose: which keeps the balance wheel of friendship in men's lives.
The name Gyro, as explained by Glassford, was taken because "The gyroscope symbolizes the ability to maintain a desired course and attitude regardless of outside influences." In this spirit, the Gyro gatherings are a venue for a free exchange of ideas, where every member has a right to his opinion and have that opinion heard and respected. It's a beautiful, worthwhile venture. Being in the company of these people, who were so happy and vivacious (not to mention hilarious), for just one night was enough to lighten all of our spirits.
Having just come off the whirlwind that was the Olympic Games, our team needed to re-center ourselves, which is just what we did with the Gyros. The degree to which were were accepted was amazing. You'd think I'd been a Gyro for ten years by the way I was treated. Everyone was super friendly, welcoming, and, not to brag, but I received not one dessert, but three. I'm a growing boy, I guess.
Friendship is something that most of us take for granted. We forget that these relationships need to be nurtured and cultivated, lest they wither away into something less than what they once were.
The Gyros' commitment to friendship, and nurturing these friendships, was an eye-opener for me. With a little work, and a lot of fun, friendships can last a lifetime. The whole SnowSeekers team would like to take this opportunity to thank the Gyros for taking such good care of us that night, and for reaching out to such a rag-tag group off oddballs eating dinner in a hallway by a kayak. It was one of the highlights of our trip, of our year, even, and something we'll remember for a long time.
For more information, visit http://international.gyro.ws.
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