I get asked all the time, "What is your job?", and I say, "To grow the population of Lunenburg County." To that they say sarcastically,"Well, that sounds easy enough."
The truth is, the reality of the work involved in growing the population keeps me up at night. It's complex, so tricky and challenging that I'm constantly thinking, not just about my job, but about the jobs I have nothing to do with. Things such as immigration, municipal bylaws, water treatment and the condition of our highways. All of the things that help determine whether people move here or not. So as daunting as my job might be, my success also hinges on whether or not a lot of other people do theirs.
Just for fun, here's some insight into what my job is all about. My job is unique, it's unlike anything I've ever heard of - or even seen anywhere else. The uncertainty and my ability to build my path as I walk it is actually quite fun and right up my alley, but it's not without its own peaks and valleys.
A typical day might look like this: After perking a coffee I head straight for my email. And interestingly enough, every single day, there is an email from at least one newcomer, an inquiry from someone trying to move here, or someone who lives away and wants to bring their family here. They want to know what options they have, what jobs are available, what housing opportunities there are, what school their kids might go to, what dance clubs there are and if we have a competitive hockey league. Not just for kids, but for grown men and women. Anything you can think of, and sometimes stuff you've never thought about, they want to know.
And we get to work. I learn about their life, where ever it is they're from. Currently I am working with a couple from Ohio who've just bought a home in Petite Riviere, a lady from California who wants to move to Lunenburg. And a family from Peterbrough. They've all decided to move here and are now contemplating all the logistics of how to make that happen. One family has a special needs child so they want to make sure that all his needs will be met here. It really makes you hard look at our community through different lenses, in this case of accessibility. I'm learning so much!
And then there is my lovely new friend Pam. Pam from England. She moved to Wolfville initially, but then once she experienced Lunenburg, she wanted to move there straight away ( I talk like her after we've had a conversation). She called me to help her find an apartment and a job. Knowing people helps. I made some contacts to try and help her find a suitable rental space, while keeping an eye out on jobs that might suit her skills. Ultimately she found her own lovely place. She's a long way from home, and that cannot be easy. I want to help Pam settle in here. I'd like her to create a life she loves here and stay here forever. Plus she volunteers, she bakes and she's hilarious! A community can always use more of that. An English accent never hurts either.
Aside from helping people create a life they love in Lunenburg County, I scour the internet looking to share stories about Lunenburg County; stories that I will share on our Facebook Page that embody how welcoming we are as a community. There is no shortage of those.
Then I look for stories around the country and beyond; communities we can learn from and communities who can learn from us, and that is what is helping us build our Canadian Tour. We're touring Canada, promoting Lunenburg County as an incredible place where anyone can create a life they love. Some of these other communities might need a little hope or lack the opportunities that we have in spades! I'm learning about them by reading stories on the internet. But some of those stories, I also read in my inbox.
People who've read about the tour are sending me emails and asking me to come to them; they want to learn about Lunenburg County and what we have to offer. I've heard from a young family who worries that they've got no other option but to give Alberta another try, even though their first attempt was unsuccessful. "The money's good, but there is no balance and we have a young family," the new mom lamented to me about the fear of leaving Atlantic Canada once again.
But perhaps the best part of this job, and trying to grow the population of Lunenburg County, is hearing all the stories of people who've moved here, their challenges, successes and why they love it. These newcomers have great ideas on how we should spread the word about our community. If you're one of those people, I'd love to talk to you. If you've simply got a great idea or want to chat I want to talk to you too! Nothing's off limits. Nothing's too crazy. So please, connect with me. Reach out. We're all in this together!