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It really is who you know, and that’s a good thing
This September marks a personal milestone.
Exactly one decade ago, armed with a motley mix of pens, a beat-up film camera and, for reasons that still escape me, an ironing board, I skidded my rusted, un-trusted, old Jetta down a gravel driveway in Yellow Point and began to officially call Cowichan home.
Although I didn’t know or appreciate it at the time, the moment I stepped foot into the sun-roasted brick and history-thick office of the Ladysmith Chronicle I began growing connections — I became a part of the cast and crew of the never-ending, character-rich feature called Cowichan.
We live in what can only be described as a well-connected community.
Here, like the ever-flowing, underground water table, relationships run long and deep and are the source of much sustenance, change and growth.
People don’t just know their neighbours — they know their stories, their histories, their pasts.
And on ball field bleachers, in early morning breakfast meetings, at backyard barbecues and community events across the region, there is a constant interaction and engagement happening, which is strengthening those connections.
It’s social networking the way it was meant to be. It’s called life.
It’s taken me nearly a decade to begin to understand just how important those relationships are, and the subtleties that play into how the future is shaped.
Much has been written on the old adage that it isn’t what you know but who you know that will get you ahead.
While this is still very true, it is also important to consider how you know people, meaning how you treat them, the quality of your interactions and the genuineness and honesty of those interactions.
In a relatively small, connected community like Cowichan, it is easy to know a lot of people.
But there’s a major difference between the superficial, toss-aside offerings of saccharine soaked slices of ripe cheese served on platters of platitude and a real reciprocal relationship.
And in this community there are plenty of experts at the latter.
They are called leaders.
Recently, I was able to witness firsthand the major effect an honestly engaged person can have on shaping the future.
Along with some 60 other supporters, I packed into the overflowing Duncan City Hall council chambers in hopes a local business would be giving the green light from the elected officials to expand.
It was a diverse crowd who had gathered, many friends and many strangers.
And all were there with the sole purpose of supporting an individual, a stalwart community member, who had formed a genuine relationship with each.
We’re fortunate to live in a community where this type of engagement can take place, and to have such an array of people who are genuine in building real relationships to help define and shape the future.
A decade ago when I first arrived, I certainly didn’t understand the significance of the connections.
From where I sit now, I can think of little else that matters as much.
Aaron Bichard writes for newspapers and recycles them. Connect with him at email@example.com.