When determining how NOW Lunenburg County was going to go about the business of increasing the population, it was clear that step one was talking to those people who have newly settled here. Who better to share with us what we're doing well and not so well when it comes to welcoming new people? There were many themes in these discussions.
One overwhelming theme was that, when people move here, there is no support system in place, or any organization charged with helping them. Finding a beautiful home, finding meaningful work, those weren't difficult at all! But learning that dog owners get together on the beach most Saturday mornings in Petite Riviere; that a live band plays once a month at the Mahone Bay Legion, those are important pieces of information typically learned from locals after living here a while. In order for new folks to create a life they love in Lunenburg County, we need to spread this information far and wide for all to know, especially newcomers.
We were told time and time again that we ought to have some sort of an ambassadors program or a welcoming committee; a group tasked with ensuring that new people are finding what they need here. Perhaps what they need is here but they just can't find it. Or maybe it's not here at all, and that's something we need to investigate further.
We've put together a team of Lunenburg County Illuminators: people who've committed to helping newcomers create a life here. This group is comprised of people from all different walks of life. Some who've lived here all their life, who have their thumb on the pulse of what's happening in Lunenburg County. Others are new to the area and know first hand some of the wants and needs of newcomers. We have young people, retirees, couples, single folks, people with kids and people with dogs.
They came together for a lunch and learn to discuss the Illuminators program and how it will all work, what exactly is involved and what are the expectations. We also wanted them to help build the program. Like all the community gatherings of NOW Lunenburg County, this is not a dictatorship. We collaberated and discussed how to make the program even better. And that's where you come in!
This group of Illuminators is not an elite club where access to it is limited! In fact, not only do we want new members, we need new members. We need you, the general public, to be Illuminators too. Do you have a newly-settled neighbour who is struggling to shovel their driveway? This might be a good opportunity to introduce yourself, give them the name of your snow-plow driver, or give them a hand removing the show. Did their dog run away and now they're feverishly running around the neighbourhood trying to find them? Perhaps you can look too, or post it on the Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network Facebook page for them. Are they a family with a hobby farm? Maybe they're not aware of our incredible 4-H Club and would really benefit from learning more about that program. By helping someone else in any one of these small ways, that would make you an Illuminator!
You'll be hearing much more about and from our Illuminators in the months to come. We'll also be posting challenges: ways in which you too can illuminate Lunenburg County. We want to put together a list of 150 different ways you can illuminate Lunenburg County, in honour of Canada's 150th Birthday, and we need more ideas! Please share your thoughts with us. That's just another way that you can shine a light on your community.
In the meantime, here are 5-ways you can illuminate Lunenburg County:
Don't forget to like and share our Facebook Page to keep up to date on what we're doing to grow the population of Lunenburg County! NOW LC Facebook page
Over the last two years NOW Lunenburg County has been working within our community in response to the Ivany “Now or Never” report. Throughout the course of our work we have organized three large open public meetings, worked with several community initiatives, convened smaller business groups to develop action plans focused on the labour challenges of Lunenburg County; all while gathering data on the economic, social and educational challenges facing Lunenburg County.
NOW LC has always held the intention of moving the conversation towards action. All of this work has cumulated with the hiring of a full time Population Growth Coordinator, Tina Hennigar. The role of the Coordinator is to increase the population growth and promote Lunenburg County as a place where it's possible to create a life you love.
One thing was clear when Tina began her role at NOW LC, waiting for people to come to Lunenbug County would not work. She would have to go out and find them and tell people about the incredible life that awaits them in Lunenburg County! In response she created an office on wheels. The NOW LC RV is a mobile office and billboard. People who are intrigued by the notion of moving to Lunenburg County and creating a life they love, can come in, have a coffee, and discover jobs, real estate and investment opportunities, as well as activities and events that are available here.
We have big plans for this project, and you will certainly hear more soon so stay tuned! In the meantime, we invite you to visit the NOW LC RV at Christmas on the Lahave, Saturday November 26 on King Street in Bridgewater. Please stop in and say hello. If you you have information or news to share with Tina, you can reach her at email@example.com or call her at 902-523-5725.
Don't forget to connect with us on Facebook. Join our Facebook page and share information about jobs, homes for sale or rent in the area as well as investment opportunities.
Lastly, check out our new website and share with friends who want to move home. Our website has been updated with information on real estate, rental properties, employment opportunities, and information on investing opportunities, such as starting a small business in Lunenburg County.
We are excited to introduce Tina Hennigar as our new Community Advocate. Tina has extensive experience in marketing, helping to promote and grow local business and most recently working as a Development Officer to raise funds and awareness for the local hospital. She has an abundance of knowledge of the South Shore but even more enthusiasm for it.
NOW Lunenburg County has learned many things since beginning their work in 2014. Many community meetings have been hosted leading to projects that have solved, and continue to solve real problems in our community, and now, they’ve hired a community advocate to help do the work; the work of growing the population and the business community and working with the community ensure that we’re meeting the needs of newcomers and locals alike.
In the coming weeks you’ll be hearing and learning more about the work of NOW Lunenburg County. You can help us build a sustainable, engaged community through population growth. Tina will be reaching out to stakeholders but in the meantime she would love to hear from you. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 902-523-5725.
In working to develop a strategy to help grow Lunenburg County, we sent a survey out to our network and members of our community that have moved to the area. What better way to find out the decision making process for moving to Lunenburg County than to ask the actual people who have moved here.
We were fortunate enough to have 74 respondents (54 from Lunenburg County) to our survey. Below is a quick list of interesting results from the survey:
This survey was short and the sample size is relative but we were looking to gather information quickly as we continue to work through our focus on population growth in Lunenburg County. Respondents provided us with excellent and thoughtful answers to our questions. This information will inform us as we continue our work.
Taking Action: community tools to support youth, newcomers & innovation
Inspired Conversations is the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia’s annual initiative that brings together business leaders, community builders, and philanthropists from across the province to discuss the evolving role of philanthropy and the exciting opportunities it can create in rural communities.
This year we've teamed up with the Nebraska Community Foundation to learn from their unique and inspiring model that uses philanthropy as an effective tool for rural revitalization. It's the perfect time to start adapting some of these tools in Nova Scotia and we want you to share in the learning.
Join us for a webinar on August 23rd, 2016 @ 12:30pm (AST) you will hear from Jeff Yost, President & CEO of the Nebraska Community Foundation as he sets the stage for how community funds have sparked economic development, kept/attracted youth and dramatically changed even the smallest of communities in Nebraska. Register now to reserve your spot for this FREE Webinar.
This is the kick-off to our 2016 Inspired Conversations Series which continues in September with 3 community work-sessions and a panel discussion in Sydney, Antigonish and Lunenburg.
If you want to continue the discussion, join us in person on September 21st at the Mahone Bay Centre for a morning workshop. Reserve your seat today! It's going to be an inspiring conversation that you won't want to miss!
For more information visit the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia.
WHAT I LEARNED AT THE GEORGETOWN CONFERENCE
MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER - Bernice Theriault
I had heard the buzz after the first Georgetown Conference and began thinking about what I could learn, what I could bring and how I could help make my community a better place to live work and play. My role with Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation is Communications and Events Coordinator. We know firsthand the importance of sharing our work and engaging our community. Our organization has been quietly working in the community since 1993. We work with species at risk, such as Atlantic Whitefish and Roseate Tern. We also monitor water quality and climate change adaptation.
Georgetown opened new doors to share information about our partnerships on the Bridgewater Community Energy Initiative and sustainability planning.
I sat in on a discussion about community owned energy. I learned that there are many people in Atlantic Canada looking for renewable and green energy projects. I shared success stories of youth engagement, and building awareness using youth. It was exciting to learn about new opportunities to engage youth.
I listened carefully as those who had recent amalgamation talks shared the good, the bad, and the unexpected difficulties in that conversation.
Georgetown was validation that we are having the right conversations in our community. Atlantic Canada may not be on the exact same page, but we are all in the same chapter.
In terms of solutions the focus of the conference, I walked away with many new connections and resources. I will use those resources to build on the work here in my own community. The biggest lesson – we are moving forward together! I have already followed up with a number of connections and look forward to continuing those important relationships.
FEELING EMPOWERED - Michelle Greek
I love Lunenburg County and the opportunities that are presented by rural life. My husband Jason and I have chose this place to live, to raise our three children, and to start a business because we know there is no greater place than right here! Lunenburg County is filled with caring and compassionate people and beautiful scenery.
I attended the Georgetown Conference 2.0 on June 2nd-4th as a representative of the New Germany Area Promotion Society (NGAPS). The Georgetown Conference was incredible! The conference was filled with people who all share the passion of building vibrant communities in rural Atlantic Canada by doing something great. We didn't all know what that "something" was, but we all like to see positive action.
The part of the conference I enjoyed the most was listening to the 20x20 speakers. The videos of the 20x20 speakers are on the Georgetown Conference 2.0 Facebook page for anyone who wants to view the presentations.
Each of the nine speakers enthusiastically talked about 20 slides for 20 seconds. The speeches were fast paced, filled with knowledge and motivation to "just do something". Two of the nine speakers were from Lunenburg County; Andrew Button and Elspeth Mclean-Wile.
Another motivating part of the Georgetown Conference was discussing obstacles while trying to get things done in the community. Chef Michael Smith summed it up the best for me: Creativity is often spectacular when you are constrained and forced to think outside of the box. Embrace the constraints. Challenges are wonderful and lead to magical results.
I left the conference feeling empowered and excited to go home and spread good vibes throughout Lunenburg County. I hope I am achieving my aspiration.
Keep up to date with NOW LC events, projects and learnings. This page is updated regularly - come back and check it out!