About The Holdin' Ground Project

The Holdin' Ground Project preserves the traditions, values, and spirit of the municipality of Bay Roberts - through documenting  traditional skills, music, stories, local history, customs, language, points of interest, etc [Note: Carrying out the project took longer than anticipated. The New Horizons program granted extensions because the delays were caused by unavoidable circumstances.)

The Objectives

The objective is to record the intangible history of the community before older citizens pass away and it is lost. The recording will include how to perform tasks such as building / repairing boats (punts), preparing or mending cod trap, barking nets, developing and maintaining kitchen gardens, repairing fences, preparing traditional recipes and crafts. It will also include recoding traditional stories, music and dance, games, traditional methods of celebrating holidays and occasions such as weddings and births, story telling (ghost and fairy stories), local history, history of organizations and churches, local sites of interest with traditional names, and local heroes and persons of interest.

The Holdin' Ground Project encourages seniors to contribute their skills, experience and wisdom to the social well-being of the community, since the seniors will be adding an essential component to a larger community project.

It promotes the involvement of seniors in the community and shows them that what they know and what they have experienced is important to the present and to future generations.

It will enable seniors of all ages to share their experiences, values, wisdom and enthusiasm with younger seniors and other generations.  Because of growing up at a time when people had to go to work when they were very young, many of these seniors have limited literacy skills. This project will introduce them to modern technology and through interaction with interviewers and other seniors will improve their comprehension and literacy skills.  It will make them feel part of the world as it exists today.

Project Activities

Decide on exact elements to be included in the "The Holdin’ Ground: Saving Our Cultural Heritage Project.”

In March of 2009, Dale Jarvis conducted a workshop on gathering intangible cultural heritage with those involved in the project. He emphasized two main points:

  • Limit the number of topics to be covered in order to ensure in-depth information
  • Make sure there is a plan to present the material once it is gathered. He pointed out that information gathered in this type of project has frequently ended up in storage, uncataloged, and no one ever sees it.

Some of the Partnering Groups who attended the meeting/workshop.

Dale Jarvis
Dale Jarvis, ICH Officer Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador
Betty Jerrett
Betty Jerrett
Bay Roberts Heritage Society
Councilor Clarence MercerCouncilor Clarence Mercer
Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation
Marjorie Mercer
Marjorie Mercer
Cooperating Teacher from Ascension Collegiate
Councilor Phillip Wood
Councilor Phillip Wood
Heritage Liaison Committee
Agnes Butlerl-r Agnes Butler, Marjorie Mercer

Although a list of 5 topics was generated, not all the interviews fit into these categories. The students allowed each senior to talk about what he or she knew. Over time, it is hoped that all topics will be covered.


  1. Students from Ascension Collegiate Senor High School conducted the interviews. First, we thought that 50+ Club members would drive students to the interview site. However, liability issues made this impossible. Other arrangements were made.
  2. Students chose who to interview, sometimes that person was a relative, and sometimes a well-known, well-respected community member who was not related to the student in any way.
  3. Students prepared lists of questions in consultation with their teacher.
  4. Students made initial contact with seniors to be interviewed and established suitable time and place for interviews
  5. 50+Club members checked material collected for accuracy.

Editing and Presentation

  1. Information collected – including photographs, audiotape and videotape - was edited, in some cases by the students and others by Mr. Brian Dawe of Eastlink for presentation on DVDs and on this website.
  2. Students went to the 50 Plus Club, teaching the members how to use their new computer and sound equipment.
  3. Completed DVDs were distributed to Ascension Collegiate, the 50+Club, the Bay Roberts Heritage Society, and the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation.
  4. A launch/social is being organized so that seniors can see the results of the interviews & they be available questions by the community & the press.
  5. During the Holdin' Ground Festival, there well be a showing of the results of the project for the general public at the 50 Plus Club.

Evaluating Project

  • So far, the reaction to the project has been overwhelmingly positive by all those involved.
  • The number of hits on the website and the YouTube videos will be measured to determine how many people are accessing the information
  • A survey of the various agencies who have DVDs will be conducted to see how many people are looking at the information.


Seniors Use New Equipment with lessons from students and other community members.

Introduction to Google
Students introduce seniors
to Google.

Ascension Collegiate Helpers
How to send email

Ascension Collegiate Students
Students and seniors enjoy the experience of working together and learning from each other.

senior using notebook.
Reading Email

Rick Olsen of Hands of Olsen
Rick Olsen, former employee of IBM and owner of "Hands of Olsen" leather crafts, shows seniors
how to find recipes.

Neddal Ayad of Baccalieu Consulting
Neddal Ayad of Baccalieu Consulting shows seniors how to set up a traditional music playlist
on the computer for the sound system for seniors dances.

Bay Roberts Town Council Workers
Workers from the Bay Roberts Town Council set up shelving to store the new equipment.

Workers from Town of Bay Roberts
Workers from the Bay Roberts Town Council set up the new TV, which seniors use to preview videoed interviews and to show them to the public, as well as to view other material which is of interest to them.

New shelf
New shelf build by workers from the Town of Bay Roberts.

Thank you to NEW HORIZONS FOR SENIORS Human Resources and Sikills Development Canada