A Lower Nicola resident is planning ahead and making the effort to connect folks once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control and social interaction is safe again.
Vanya Beck, who moved to Lower Nicola in 2016, believes in the power of a positive community, and was inspired by her own tight-knit, hometown neighbourhood in Kamloops. She is using a Facebook group, ‘Lower Nicola Grapevine’, to help brainstorm ideas and recruit volunteers.
“I want the Community to feel more connected to the environment and the people, to have any type of support when they need it,” said Beck.
She has put forth a wealth of ideas including a clean-up day at Smith Pioneer Park, community pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet clubs, yoga classes, a moms and tots group, and the distribution of geo caches, to name a few.
“I would love to see a senior’s group where they can go on drives or field trips, lunches, and maybe even an overnighter in Kamloops to see a play,” said Beck.
“Of course, most of these things are on hold because of COVID, but now is the time to get things in place. If we had a community short bus, we could do youth outings, senior outings, whatever we can think of.”
Local businesses are also welcomed to be part of the group, and contribute in any way they see fit.
“Courtesy Corner Store has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years. hopefully they will start posting specials,” said Beck.
“As well as Nana’s Hitch’n post, the Aberdeen Pub, liquor store, and Kuipers. We have a spot on the group where people who sell Avon, Watkins, Epicure, etc. will be able to link their home business.”
Beck hopes that volunteers will come forward and help to organize events and clubs, post COVID.
“So many things that we can do, we just need some ideas and volunteers,” said Beck.
“Like connecting people with shared interests, for example a walking group, a hiking group, a jogger’s group. Different people out here do classes on certain things such as glass work, I went to a class a couple years ago at Miller’s Farm. It was so interesting and fun, and I came home with my creations. I need people to totally take over organizing the individual items and groups, and use the group as a way to get everything out in one place. I would ask that the people who run at Smith Pioneer Park, Aberdeen Pub, etc. to please message me and let’s work together!”
There has been an increase in illegal dumping and trash in general accumulating in the neighbourhood, and Beck hopes that an ‘Adopt a Road’ program could be initiated.
“It doesn’t have to be a large area,” said Beck.
“Pick your spot on the map and pick away at it. All of these things cannot happen without volunteers whether it be running a group, supporting a group, or donating some time to build a red library box.”
Beck believes that while we are living under social isolation and enduring a global pandemic, connection is still an integral part of our lives.
“Most importantly, I want to promote interaction among residents,” said Beck.
“Positive communities can work miracles. Bringing communities together is more important than ever. As well as keeping spirits up during this tough time, it also helps to build solidarity.”
Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald