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Kings County Advertiser Oct. 15 editorial

Roads from Georgetown: What can you do for Kings County?

 

Annapolis Valley delegates at the Georgetown Conference earlier this month have many stories to share, but the key message to take away from the three-day sessions on “redefining rural” was to get on with the job.

More than 250 “doers and producers” descended on the tiny eastern Prince Edward Island town to talk about what might be done. Community organizers, thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs, musicians and a few government-types put their heads together and sparked ideas.

Many conferences generate hope, enthusiasm and good intentions, but much of the time, delegates go home to their usual routines and the momentum fades.  It isn’t a three-day conference that will make a difference to the future rural communities – it’s people who do something about making life vibrant and the economy who will make a change.

Local attendees have already started applying some of their inspiration to launching projects and also to small things – things like welcoming new neighbours into town.

As Lisa Kamperman said, there is a personal responsibility to look around and say,  “that is something I can do.”

Taking personal responsibility – whether it is taking cookies to someone who just moved in, volunteering to get a task the town needs done, investing money in a local cause or just speaking positively about where you live – is what is needed in all of our communities.

Too often, we rely on governments to make things happen, then whine and complain when a program doesn’t miraculously solve our problems.

While government investment is a key part of rural development, it is not the be all, end all solution. If it were, there wouldn’t be the problems of rural decline.

While the conference was not geared to politicians, one regional elected official made a strong impression on Kings and Annapolis county delegates.

“All I saw was my hometown that needed some leadership,” Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood said about her All Hands on Deck project, part of a co-operative initiative with the Yarmouth Vanguard.

The project drew nearly 500 people to the Yarmouth’s arena for a brainstorming session about what could be done with the resources a hand. It was a powerful event.

“That is the power that I see here. I see a whole room full of leaders – don’t downplay that. What our communities are looking for is leadership. Some of our communities are lost and they are looking for someone to lead them.”

She asked her community “what can YOU do for Yarmouth?” and residents stepped up.

If we want to keep our communities, big or small, thriving we need to step up, give our all and co-operate.

What can YOU do for Kings County?

Newspapers Atlantic, of which the Kings County Advertiser and Register are members, was a key organizer of the event and the commitment of community newspapers to rural living doesn’t stop in Georgetown.  Readers are invited to join us at Roads from Georgetown Oct. 24 at Acadia University’s BAC 244 to hear more from local delegates and discuss ideas for keeping the spirit of Georgetown alive and thriving.