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District of Vanderhoof - Council Message

December 2012 - Mayor Gerry Thiessen

Stepping out of your comfort zone

Recently, I was invited to say some opening remarks at the Community Dialogue Event. The purpose of the evening was to see how Vanderhoof could become more inclusive. It has been 70 years since my family moved to Vanderhoof and I think it has shown itself to be a very welcoming place to call home. My grandfather moved here at the same time as about 40 other families. They couldn’t believe the opportunity they found and all the friends they made. After World War II many Europeans found this a great place to call home. I remember in the 60’s many of my friends were Americans who moved here, they have assimilated and we are all very much the same. Recently we have had a number of others move to our valley and it’s producing some very positive results.

In the next decade there will be a lot of new jobs coming to Vanderhoof, and the challenge will be: ‘How can we convince these new families to make Vanderhoof their home?’ We have been working hard to make sure we have trades and technical training for people who are already living here, but we need more people who will move here, and stay, because they feel welcome and included.

At the Community Dialogue Event I was impressed by a group of Grade 7 students from WL McLeod School. They have taken the initiative to be mentors to new students by inviting them along as they go through their day. These young citizens are great examples of what we all need to be. Can you imagine how families would feel if they had a local family who took them under their wing by participating in recreation activities together or inviting them over for dinner and introducing them to some of their friends. Think about the young moms that could use another mom while their husband is working, wouldn’t that remind you of that special person who welcomed you when you moved and needed a friend.

We are coming up to Christmas season; I encourage each of you to take time to look around you and invite someone new over to your house or to attend a community Christmas event with your family. Take time to reach past your comfort zone; you won’t believe how good you’ll feel.
This has been a great year; there has never been a more exciting time to live in Vanderhoof than right now. If we are really going to benefit from all the opportunity, we need to have input from as many as possible.

On behalf of the staff and Council for the District of Vanderhoof, I would like to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and look forward to a great New Year!

~ Mayor Gerry Thiessen