If you are reading this column on Aug. 1, it marks the 30th anniversary of my first day working at South Peace News.
Thirty years! I was actually young when I arrived here but my caricature hasn’t changed a bit!
It is very rare an editor stays at a single publication this long. Some move on, some tire of the same old routine, some just do not like the community they live it.
I was born and raised in Fairview. I lived there all my life, except the two years in Lethbridge while attending college, and a few months in Peace River. I am often asked by Fairviewites why I stay in High Prairie. It seems like our fair town has a bit of a bad reputation.
So, why do I stay? The best reason is I have excellent employers who are more than fair. It’s hard to top that.
Besides, High Prairie is not unlike most communities. We have our problems as do others. When I visit Fairview and go to the coffee shops, the conversations are remarkably similar. Just the faces and names change.
High Prairians bitch about politics and taxes. So do Fairviewites.
High Prairians bitch about Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau. So do Fairviewites.
High Prairians bitch about high prices. So do Fairviewites.
High Prairians bitch about the fact there is nothing to do. So do Fairviewites.
The list goes on and on.
Hate to tell you this, but High Prairie is not unique.
If the whiners would get off their asses and volunteer and/or contribute, quality of life would improve immensely. I could cite a very large list of volunteer organizations who contribute greatly to the region. Most are led by volunteers. We would not enjoy such events as the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo and High Prairie Light-Up if it was not for volunteers.
Add to that all the sports and recreation organizations, community hall groups, dance, etc. and you have a thriving, vibrant community.
If you want to make a difference in your community, volunteer and become part of an organization. Lend a hand in making your community better. Start a new activity. If you complain there is nothing to do, start an activity you would like to see happen.
Groups and organizations all across Canada are crying for help, as an aging volunteer base is not being replaced by the younger generation.
I have enjoyed 27 years with the North Peace Hockey League, 16 with the All Peace Minor Hockey League, a few with fastball, the Festival of Trees committee, High Prairie Community Beautification Association, and the High Prairie and District Museum board. Together, without grabbing the calculator, I have 60+ years in total in trying to make my community and my region better. I know that’s peanuts compared to others, but many more than others.
Did I make mistakes? Yes!
Was I part of a successful organization? Yes!
The fact is home is what you make of it. Contribute to making it better. Volunteer. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
Next week I will return for a visit to Fairview during holidays. I will be asked how long I’m home for.
“High Prairie is my home,” I will tell them. “I’m only here for a visit.”