A famous songwriter once sang, ‘You want to be where everybody knows your name’. Lately, I’m getting the feeling that Ladysmith could be one of those places.
For the past two weeks, since I started with the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle, I have been impressed by the warm greetings of either my name or ‘Are you the new reporter?’ by people I’ve never met before in my life. It’s the familiarity of being in a small town and it feels like home.
Having been born and raised in the Alberni Valley, you could easily say that I know a thing or two about small towns.
Back in 2002, I made the great leap over the pond to go to journalism school in Vancouver for two years. Imagine the culture shock of going from living amongst family in a city of 18,000 to living alone in a metropolitan area of approximately two million. As youngsters in a small town, many of us swore we would move away and never return. Dazzled by the big city lights, I was convinced that I, too, would leave Port Alberni behind.
But it wasn’t until I returned and saw my quaint little town through the eyes of a mature young reporter that I fully understood the inner workings of what fuels “community,” and realized how valuable it was to have grown and thrived in an environment where that mentality is widely cherished.
The spirit of community is the heart of any small population. It’s what drives us to do good things. It’s pride in the purest sense of the word. And it’s here in Ladysmith, where I’m now watching that same spirit unfold.
As I settle into my role at the Chronicle, I will be spending a lot of time observing and educating myself about Ladysmith and the issues that affect its residents, both historically and currently. I like to think of it as, ‘Getting to know you.’
For three years, my husband and I have lived on the outskirts of Ladysmith in Cassidy with our two horses and have become very fond of the area because of its central location. We are looking forward to getting involved in activities the town has to offer, such as the local theatre. As a reporter, I look forward to telling your stories and capturing photos that you can one day look back on and say ‘remember that great day when…’