Tuesday, March 3, 2020
It seems that everywhere I go in the county these days I run into another young, interesting and interested person who has come back from college, university or travelling, to live in the county. Or, they are new to the area and have chosen this area as a new beginning. Either way I find myself thinking about when I first arrived here over 30 years ago. After 2 years of working at YMCA Camp Wanakita, I started a new job at the Bark Lake Leadership Centre. I was renting a house in Gooderham and was starting to compose my life here. I didn’t know anyone and so I decided to try curling as a way to meet people. That single decision influenced how I was welcomed into the county and my decision to stay and build my life here. I have never looked back. I was fortunate to be welcomed by so many kind people. Don Popple, Art Dawson, Phyllis Woodcook, Bunny (whose last name I can’t remember), The LaRues. and so many more people. They made me feel so welcome from the very first night of curling. They were genuinely interested in who I was, what brought me here and what would keep me here. I am forever grateful to all them. Everyone needs to feel welcome when they take a risk to start somewhere new.
And so all these years later I find myself thinking about my responsibility as a community member to support these young people by getting to know them, learning about their services, products and skills that they are bringing to our community. I try to listen to their ideas of what they want to have happen in the county. I try to ask good questions and be enthusiastic! I think we all have a responsibility to be mentors in our own ways. And lots of that is happening. I think we can still do a better job. I especially think our county and municipal governments need to make every effort to connect with these younger generations and find out what their future looks like. What do they need and want. It is easy for people, and I include myself in this, to say “we’ve tried that before and it didn’t work”, or “there is no money for that.” The world is so different today than it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago. What is possible now is different than what was possible 30 years ago. What is needed now is different that what we needed then. We absolutely must keep an open mind to new ideas, especially if we want these people to stay and be the future politicians, business people, educators, parents, volunteers, artists, trades people etc.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said “Do your little bits of good where you are, it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” We all have a responsibility to support our younger generations as they bring their bits of good to our county!