By Andrea Arnold, Associate Editor/ Reporter

Over the last several weeks, I have heard the word community more times during the course of interviews than I can count. Just this week alone I heard from a couple who moved here because they were looking for a place to live with a strong sense of community, and another who is excited to become part of the community through relationships.

A few weeks ago, a conversation brought up a fact that I have always admired about the community of McBride. That although we are so many different groups separated by jobs, religion, or age, if your barn burns down, those differences no longer matter.

When I lived in Calgary, I tried to build a small sense of community through coworkers and neighbours, but I never felt that I was successful. I could borrow a cup of sugar, but that was the extent of it. That is one of the reasons I left the city. I didn’t leave with the expectation that I’d end up back in McBride, but I’m glad that is how it worked out.

Being away from this community that I grew up in for as long as I was, I came back with a newfound appreciation for the strength that lies within this valley. 

Shortly after I arrived, I witnessed two business rivals set aside their differences to help an injured resident, illustrating perfectly one of the reasons I came home. I have attended weddings and funerals that have brought together people from all walks of life to show a united level of support for the individuals involved.

COVID did a number on the community and the united feeling wavered. I noticed a blanket of self-centeredness and negativity. The isolation from one another and the ease of social media complaining was evident.

However, in the last few months I have noticed a switch. There have been very few disparaging comments on social media, and the divisions between groups in public settings seem a little blurred. 

Newcomers are using social media to ask for help finding resources, or advice, and the really great part is that not only longtime residents are providing answers. The new arrivals are extending a welcoming and helpful hand to one another. Some of the newer residents are even stepping up and spearheading community events.

This increased feeling of community brings a smile to my face. It is my hope that those who call the Robson Valley home continue to build on what has been started.