Moving to my new town – Campbell River, BC

Have you ever moved to a new town or city?  I know a lot of people who have relocated numerous times since their high school days.  I’m one of those people.  I joined Katimavik, a federal volunteer program for youth between the ages of 17 and 21, in 1996 after graduating from Hillcrest High School in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  As a part of the Katimavik experience, I lived in Northwest River, Labrador, then St Mary’s, Ontario, then onto Mont Joli, Quebec.  From day one, I was living with eleven people so I had the built in comfort of knowing someone in each new community before I even arrived.  But I also met a lot of amazing residents of those towns; people who were contributing to the overall well being of their communities through leisure, volunteerism, spirit, and general kindheartedness.  My Katimavik group worked with trail restoration projects, arts festivals, recycling facilities, conservation authorities, botanical gardens, heritage projects, and school groups.  Residents opened up their homes and their hearts to us, and in turn I felt very much a part of the communities in which I lived.

It’s interesting to me to reflect back on my first move away from home, and how, 17 years later, in the city of Campbell River, BC, it is the residents as much as the awe inspiring beauty of the natural landscapes, who are shaping the way I feel about where I now call home.  And sometimes it’s the people factor – the sociable factor – that is most difficult to capture when one is describing a community.  Even as I type this, I am struggling to explain how much the residents of Campbell River seem to rally around one another to support the various causes and special events happening in this small city.

Just today, I shed a few tears as I attended the 20th anniversary celebration of the Beaver Lodge Lands Trust.  I’ve only lived here for a few months, but the heart and soul that was displayed and communicated by the speakers was so genuine, I couldn’t help the tears from rolling down my cheek.  I am truly thankful that people I have never met put in countless time and energy to ensure that I have a sweet place to ride my bike and breathe in clean, foresty air.  And did I mention that the Beaver Lodge Lands are right up the road from my house?  And that if I went down the road, I would be at the ocean?  But that’s another post altogether:)

Back to amazing residents.  I urge you to look around your community at the people who are making a contribution to your quality of life.  Join in a local celebration, say hello to people you pass on the trail, look up the history of a park that is special to you – give yourself the opportunity to connect with your new community.  I’m putting myself out there, making friends, and learning about where I live.  And where I live is amazing!

Laurel