By Jennifer Vardy Little
They all had different reasons for going to the Georgetown Conference earlier this month, but 13 delegates from Kings and Annapolis counties left with a common goal: to do something.
Yarmouth’s Mayor Pam Mood and other speakers at the early October conference in eastern Prince Edward Island on “redefining rural” issued a call to action to delegates to get something done.
Local delegates who shared their experiences and stories at a forum on the "Road from Georgetown" hosted by KingsCountyNews.ca at Acadia University Oct. 24 have taken up the torch.
“Don’t be afraid to tell our stories,” Ed Wedler. “It doesn’t matter how small the story is or how massive – don’t be afraid to tell the world.”
Telling our stories, the Annapolis County resident added, will help people remember our communities. And that’s a big part of redefining rural.
“We have to unearth and discover the under the radar entrepreneurs,” Wedler said.
- Read more special articles:
- Kings County delegates headed to Georgetown
- Ivany "passionate about our rural communities"
- On the road to Georgetown
- All Hands on Deck featured at Georgetown Conference
Kentville resident Laura Churchill Duke wants to make it easier for people to learn about what’s happening in their own communities. Two years ago, after friends asked her what they could do with their kids for fun in this area, she founded the website ValleyFamilyFun.ca to share news about what’s happening. It has grown to become a community of 2,000.
“A common complaint from residents is that they don’t know what’s happening in their communities,” Churchill Duke said. She pointed out communities like Wolfville hav addressed that gap and send out newsletters to residents to tell them what’s happening.
“I would love to have this implemented in Kentville. Will there be resistance? I don’t know, but I’m going to try.”
Trying is key, said Jane Nicholson of Annapolis Royal.
“I loved the feeling of just get it done - get off your arse and get it done,” she said of her Georgetown experience, adding she agreed that rural areas don’t tell their stories enough.
“The whole thing is about talking and connecting those stories.”
Look at the positives as well, Madonna Spinazola urged. We often consider outmigration of youth to be a problem, she said, but young people should be allowed to fly.
“There are communities that are crying about outmigration, but it’s a good thing. We want our children to go out and explore the world, see new places. We don’t want them to stay here forever,” Spinazola said.
The key, she said, is being able to attract them back to the rural way of life.
“We want them to come home, as well - come back to the most beautiful place in the world. We can’t always look at it as a negative; we need to focus on the positive.”