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Newbies unite with Ladysmith Newcomers group

A lot of socializing happens online through their Facebook group
The Ladysmith Newcomers group meets on Facebook and in person.

Many Ladysmith residents consider it to be one of the nicest, most ideal towns on the Vancouver Island and aren't surprised to see it growing. The Ladysmith Newcomers group wants to make sure it's also one of the friendliest, by helping people new to the community.  

It is a friendship organization made up of people who are new to the community providing an opportunity to meet other newbies through various activities.
“I co-founded it a few years ago with Barbara Martin, who has since moved back to Saskatchewan," said Marc Edge. "I am now working with a lady named Kelly Lawrence, who is the manager of Gulf View Estates, across Davis Road from Coronation Square. This is really a helpful situation, as we both live in Gulf View and we have the opportunity of using the common room there for some of our Newcomer activities.”
Lawrence organizes a Texas hold-em tournament once a month.

“That is a fun event and it’s not just for our members, it’s open to anyone, they just have to let us know they’re coming,” said Edge. The group hosts pot-luck dinners and such as well.

“There are no really regimented, scheduled events,” Edge said. “Most of what we do is done through our Facebook page.”

Membership in the group is done through an online Facebook presence and the group’s site is strictly limited to their members.

“We’ve had a couple of tries, by scammers,” Edge mentioned, “but overall it’s a pretty good system. I’ve probably denied a local or two because they haven’t changed their location on their profile, but other than small items such as this we have a good system.”

What defines a newcomer?

“We had discussed this at the start and felt that two years was a good amount of time for folks to have found their niche, but I’ve been here more than two years now and have tried to resign, but they won’t let me! I still feel like a newcomer. Not only did I get here during the pandemic, but I spend most of my time writing, so I’ve hardly gotten to know anybody.” 

There are no regular meetings, just get-togethers.

"Kelly usually organizes our events such as picnics and the pub night and pot lucks," Edge said. "The pub nights, which I organize, are a couple of nights a year and they are held at the Fox n Hounds, in Ladysmith. We get their back room and it’s a good way to meet people over drinks.”

A lot of socializing happens online through their Facebook group.

"We get a lot of questions, from new folks in town and there are a lot of local inquiries. We’re more of a virtual group. It’s a great way to connect with old friends and even new friends.” 

The Facebook group is closed and folks interested make their inquiries and Lawrence or Edge will check it out. Edge said there are currently 730 virtual members.

"Again probably a lot of them aren’t really our members, they probably don’t live in town, but we do try and screen as much as we can. The last pub night we had there was over a couple of dozen members, so we do have a decent membership,” he said.

The group does not have an executive.

“I try and keep it very loose,” Edge said. “When I started it up I did get an email from a fella, from the previous Newcomers group, and he sent me all sorts of information about insurance and stuff like that. That’s the last thing I wanted to get involved in, we wanted it loose and welcoming, more like friends gathering.
“The virtual meetings give us a chance to chat about a lot of local things, and various people can be involved, where the in person meetings are the chance to meet with the people you’ve been online with. That’s when we talk about experiences both here and in our previous locations.”
Edge said anyone interested in joining the group is welcome to contact them.

“It’s easy to get in touch, just go to Facebook and look up Ladysmith Newcomers Group. We’re just waiting for Kelly to organize our next potluck and then I can organize the next pub night. We’d love to have you.”

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