Summerlanders find reasons for gratitude

For many, Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate the many other blessings in their lives.

Another Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone for Canadians and while it has been traditionally a time to give thanks for the year’s harvest, for many it is also a time to appreciate the many other blessings in their lives, like family, friends and the community in which they live.

Members of the Facebook group, Summerland: locals helping locals were asked recently, why they were thankful to live in Summerland.

Although Sandy Babyn felt there were not enough words to describe all the reasons she was thankful to live here, she was able to cite many of them.

“I am so thankful to move into an environment that embraces people being friendly and trusting each other,” wrote Babyn.

Because she is a person who embraces the rural lifestyle, Babyn is very appreciative of the agricultural industry in Summerland. She values being able to obtain local produce at the weekly markets and in the many orchards scattered throughout the community.

She also enjoys the music and cultural experiences offered by the many talented people living here.

Describing Summerland as a “sports haven,” she lists biking, hiking, triathlons and other sports competitions as activities to be involved in, if one is so inclined.

But that is not all. “Then there is the magnificent Okanagan Lake, with its spectacular beaches,” she writes. “The water is so clear and great for swimming, paddle boarding, boating, fishing or just a float in the water.”

Janet Sheena Lacey agrees with Babyn. “It’s a cool place to live, especially if you have a paddleboard,” she posted.

Victoria Laine wrote, “I’m grateful to live in Summerland because it’s small enough to see friends regularly and because it’s so easy to walk out my door into nature and the winters are mild!”

Sharing some of those same sentiments, Tannis Baptist Smed posted, “I am thankful to live in Summerland because it has small town charm, beautiful mountains, a gorgeous lake, mild winters and friendly people…who could ask for more?”

Therese Washtock mentioned that she was “thankful for the smell of pines, the great views of everything beautiful around us and the climate.” She was grateful too for all the activities available to do and the many places to go.

Living close to family is the reason that Brigitte Engelman is thankful to be here in Summerland.

People living here are passionate about their town and are happy to express the many reasons why, as the Mahons found out when they were scouting around the Okanagan, looking for a place to settle.

“People from Summerland are so strong for their town,” said Kayt Mahon, during a recent interview. She explained that when they first stopped in Summerland, everywhere they went, people would stop and be willing to talk about their town, many telling them that ‘there was no better place to live.’

“It was so awesome, the consistency of people who were just zestful for living here. Now we’ve turned into those people,” Mahon said. “Three weeks in and we said ‘we’re going to grow old here.’”

The Executive Summary in the newly released Cultural Plan for Summerland states that what people say they value most about our town are the arts, the character of the community, the quality of life, the history, the heritage and the local agriculture.

These findings were based on more than 2,300 comments from the town’s people.

For Sylvia Riverside, it is those people for whom she is most thankful.

“Even if you feel alone,” she said, “if you walk downtown you will be greeted by someone and often have a little chat…just because you can.”

It would seem safe to assume from all of the above, that the community was among the many things that people gave thanks for this past weekend.