Investing in communities

By Lynda Shadbolt

Published March 19 2019

Jim and I had the pleasure of attending our first ever “stag and doe” last night in the cozy village of West Guilford. We were a wee bit hesitant to go because we weren’t sure how many people we would know but off we went. Of course we were welcomed with open arms. I don’t know why I worry about these things because we live in a very friendly county!

It was a Saturday night and people were there to celebrate the young couple and to have fun. There were games to play prizes to be won snacks on the tables and great music for dancing. People of all ages were participating and since it was the eve of St. Patrick’s Day everyone was wearing green. It was a community gathering that was simple and full of life.

I talked to Ryan Vanlieshout who I haven’t seen in years. I remember him as a young boy playing his accordion with his grandfather at events in Haliburton. Ryan is 23 years old now and is working for hydro and training to becomes a linesman. He still performs country music with his guitar and has been invited to play gigs in Las Vegas and Florida later this year. Ryan has a background in rodeos and still participates in calf roping events. I find it so interesting to find out what the young people in our community do after high school and how they compose their lives with their interests and work. There are just so many possibilities in life. A thousand ways a million ways to live a good life.

As I looked around at everyone having fun at the party I found myself thinking about the horrific events that happened in New Zealand this past week. Innocent people killed while worshipping. It is so hard to understand how these things happen and what a person can do to stop it. It is very complicated. It’s times like this when I am incredibly grateful for my life in Haliburton. We have so much to be thankful for. And we can’t take any of it for granted. So many people work so hard to make our county work through their jobs and through volunteer work. There is so much good will here. I am thankful to live in a county that is continuously trying to move forward provide more opportunities for people of all backgrounds and income levels.

All politicians – locally provincially and federally – have a responsibility to keep investing in creating communities where people feel accepted and inspired and able to learn and experience. People need the arts sports social services libraries affordable housing museums health care roads employment that pays well good public education and outdoor spaces to live well. There is a price if we invest in our community and there is a price if we don’t.