By Lynda Shadbolt

I think we all feel better when we have a sense of belonging and a feeling of connection. We live in relationship with ourself, our family, friends, community members and ultimately with all of life.

We are social beings, and I think when we feel alone, isolated or separate is when we struggle. I know that I found it hard in COVID when I couldn’t do my regular activities that kept me connected.

I was sitting with friends at a cafe the other day when my husband, Jim, joined us. He sat down and told us a few stories from his morning at the curling rink. He was so happy. Curling has been a part of his life since he moved here.

I found myself thinking  about the time when I permanently moved to Haliburton because of my job at Bark Lake. It was 1987, and I was new to the community, living in Gooderham. I wanted to meet people and had never curled in my life, but decided to give it a try.

I will always remember how Don Popple, Art Dawson and many others were so friendly and made me feel welcome right away. Every week, they asked me lots of questions about my life, and for some reason, I told them I had a boyfriend named “Egbert” who lived in Huntsville.

They laughed and laughed and referred to him as “Eggy” all year. The year end curling banquet came, and Jim came over from Huntsville to go with me. We had a lot of fun with everyone that night when they finally learned his name was Jim.

The whole curling community welcomed us and encouraged us to stay. 32 years later, we are still here and Jim is still playing with Don Popple (Jim owes Don 30 years of rent on their shared locker).

What I love about this story is that it highlights the importance of community and friendship and of having something to belong to. We are happier when we are joining things we love whether it is hockey, line dancing, singing, acting, skiing, church, attending a book club, yoga etc. We love to belong.

The curling club not only attracts seniors and adults, but has a program for young people as well. Our high school and elementary curlers have done really well over the years and continue to do so. A sense of belonging is important at all ages.

For 46 years, the curling club has sponsored the Home and Cottage Show as a way of raising funds to support the curling community. This year the show will be held on June 2-4 and you can support it by attending or by renting a table. Between 2,500 to 3,500 people attend the show each year and so it is a great way to promote your club or business.

If you want more information, you can check out the website. Activities like curling make our community a great place to live.