Founding Principals of History Check in Real Time Action

The History Check project is more than a mobile app.  Its about giving, sharing and collaborating.  Through the stories of each community we are able to create a presence that educates, entices and forms lasting memories for people.

My story, today does not involve the mobile app, History Check, directly, but instead involves the spirit in which this grass roots project was created.

Yesterday, I received a call from our local librarian asking if I could come an tell a little local history to a group who had paddled the Athabasca River from Jasper and had stopped in to learn more about Smith, my home town.  Always looking for opportunity to share history, I hopped into my van and headed to town.

When I arrived I discovered that the group, whose headquarters are in the Kananaskis area in southern Alberta, were a group of high school students with two team leaders – 10 in total.  As I do not have permission, and I will be sharing some names later, I will not mention the name of the group.

Tucked in the local library, while we were served hot chocolate and snacks, we had a great group discussion about local history which touched on Indigenous history, the Klondike Gold Rush, steamboats and fur trade, German Prisoners of War, and the Alcan Highway with a few other tidbits thrown in.

Outside the weather was frightful.  In addition to hard, heavy rains there was a large amount of lightening and thunder.  None of it promised to leave anytime soon.  Through a cooperative effort of Ruth, our librarian, myself, and our local municipality, the MD of Lesser Slave River, we were able to offer these rain soaked kids, what to them, were luxury accommodations in our local community hall.

One of the young men came to me and said “I have never experienced hospitality like this.  Stopping in Smith and the memories that holds will stay with me forever.”  And this is the spirit in which History Check was born.

It was recognized by the group as a whole that northern Albertans show a degree of hospitality to impromptu visitors that they have never experienced before.  It is not something I have ever been able to put into words as different mindset many northerners have, and I strongly suspect that while we are conveniently remote, we still carry the subconscious recognition that our lives could depend on our neighbours at any given moment.

While I live here and see this on a day to day basis, for those visiting northern regions, this mindset  is like a breath of fresh air.  I went this morning to see the group off and was presented with a page of hand written thanks from each of the group.  It was a reminder of why I do what I do, and a recognition of a life style I consider second nature.  I hope that the young people don’t mind if I share.

“Thank you for sharing your knowledge on Smith and the Athabasca River.  Your stories will be told again to make the river a much more interesting place.  I love the history of the Smith.  The place would not have been the same without you.” Daniel

“I once again admire the near-endless generosity that resonates from the small towns and cities of Alberta.  It seems as through the hospitality felt in Fort Assiniboine has been magnified tenfold in letting us use your car to transport our gear and sharing your knowledge of Smith.  I hope you have a wonderful years ahead of you filled with more experiences, for I know any other traveler(s) would be more than lucky to meet you.  Thank you so much.  I am thankful for the goodness in your heart.” Zach

“Thank you so much for teaching us about the history of Smith and the Athabasca River.  Thank you for helping us get our gear to the complex from the river.” Lance

“Learning the history of Smith and spending the night in your town has provided us with stories for the rest of our lives.  Thank you for your kindness.” Wolf

“I loved learning your stories about Smith.  You went out of your way to meet us and teach us about your town.  Then you went even farther and helped us find a place to stay and transport our gear.  I won’t forget your kindness.  Thank you so so much.” Anabelle

“Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of Smith with us and letting us put our soaking gear in your car.  Your amazing kindness and generosity will definitely not be forgotten!” Emma

“I really appreciate your enthusiasm and energy that you put into your stories on the history of the area.  Your generosity and kindness in helping us transport our gear will not be forgotten.  Thank you.” Tianna

“We were so fortunate to have encountered you on this crazy adventure.  I was so intrigued and fascinated by your stories of the history of Smith.  I will never forget your undying generosity and kindness.  I wish your adventures (are) as life changing and incredible as ours in your future.  Thank you so much.” Toik

“Thank you so much for being a huge part of our river trip.  Your knowledge of the Athabasca River & surrounding area put so much perspective on our adventure and I can’t wait to share the stories you’ve told us again.  Smith would not have been the same!” Julia

“Your stories about Smith and its history were outstanding.  Your help while we were coming to the complex was so helpful, you are such a blessing to us and everyone around you.” Stephan.

All of the above thanks, truly reflect upon the attitude in which the History Check mobile app was born.  We are a grass roots initiative born of caring and sharing.

Smith is one of many communities across the province with the same goals in welcoming outside guests.  History Check is an outlet, using current technology to convey that message.  We invite everyone to share their story and support us through content contributions and through the financial support of business advertising and other contributions.  We have an outstanding and epic opportunity to present Alberta to residents and out of region guests by telling our stories.

Feel free to contact me at any time for more information at on any aspect of this project, and how our business model incorporated inclusion and collaboration.  We have designed it to be a supporting business.  ~ Sheila

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