By Andrea Arnold

Moving back to the community I grew up in has been a really great and strange experience. It feels like the community never really changes, but at the same time, everything has changed. It is a bit of a mind scrambling concept when I really think about it.

It seems really strange that people I went to school with, or a few years older, hold positions making decisions at the Village office, when once upon a time, those jobs were held by ‘old’ people. Businesses that have been cornerstones of the community for many years are experiencing changes in ownership or management. The Robson Valley Pet Hostel has closed its doors, McBride has recently gotten a new CAO, Robson Valley Home Hardware has new owners, and Advantage Insurance is transitioning its signage to Integris to name a few.

It isn’t just businesses that are experiencing change. The organizations that are run by volunteers are also experiencing change. One of the big troublesome changes is that the membership in many of these groups is dwindling due to age, and burnout.

The generation before mine is getting tired. Tired of working, tired of volunteering, tired of keeping the community rolling.

It is time for not only my generation (as I am in the middle and I know there are capable individuals younger than I), to step into some of the roles that have been held by the same people for year after year after year. This is true across the valley.

Events such as Pioneer Days (McBride), Valemountain Days (Valemount), our local legions, Canada Day, slow-pitch tournaments, Family Day events, curling bonspiels, minor hockey, figure skating and Christmas celebrations have had some of the same organizers making them amazing for many years. If we as community members want to see these events continue at their same level of amazingness, we need to step up, help and learn the ropes. If any of the key players in any of the events were to walk away, we would lose a wealth of valuable information, resulting in a less than spectacular outcome.

As the winter months are upon us, there are fewer opportunities for us to gather in social environments, and any newcomers to the community may be left feeling like a stranger until spring thaw and people start being out more. Getting involved through volunteering is a way to combat the feeling of winter isolation.

Let’s instigate a change in this regard by all looking for ways to get involved, taking some of the pressure off the existing priceless teams of volunteers. Volunteering for a common goal is a great ice breaker for new and old residents alike.

This action could result in meeting new people, making new friends and maybe even starting a new favorite community tradition.