With today’s column, I want to address a theme that’s come up a few times, but that I’ve never directly addressed before.
In the past, I’ve written columns about how I often here that there is nothing to do in Cornwall, especially not for kids. This is absolutely untrue, especially when it comes to activities for kids.
Just this past weekend, there was a two-day concert in Lamoureux Park, organized by Cornwall Tourism, that was free for children 12 and under. The Cornwall Outdoor Club held a paddling seminar in Guindon Park on June 30. Outside of weekend events, there are also regular acting classes, sporting clubs, and other kid friendly events going on every week. Most of these events are shared on social media or in our newspaper, on our website or both.
Yet, there are still those who say there is nothing to do. My point in this column is that I still unfortunately hear those who highlight the negatives in Cornwall. When I see posts on social media that are negative about different aspects of Cornwall, I first wonder why the public does not celebrate all of the good things Cornwall has going for it, and why the poster is not doing something themselves to solve this problem. Yes, it is much easier to make a Facebook post about how there is not enough for kids to do to keep them in Cornwall, but it is a lot harder to actually go out and do something about it.
Just the other day, I heard a graduating Holy Trinity student answer the question, what are you doing next. His response was that he wanted to go to Algonquin College in Ottawa for Agriculture. I think that is a great field to get into, we need people to grow the crops of tomorrow, but I asked him, did you know you could do that here in Cornwall? The Ontario Emerging Jobs Institute (OEJI) offers an Agri-tech program that not only bestows a post-secondary level diploma upon completion, but also a job placement afterward.
My point is that it is not just adults who should be community minded and thinking about ways they can address the negatives they see; it is young people too. A lot of young people have the desire to leave Cornwall and go to the big city and travel. I had that too in high school and in university. “I don’t want to be in Cornwall,” I’d say at the time, seeing and feeling as if it were a dead-end, but it isn’t, and it doesn’t have to be. Your life and your community are what you make of them.
Instead of looking at Cornwall and seeing dead ends, I see a community that is extremely giving, has a rich history, and an abundance of opportunities. Are there things that Cornwall can do or features that should be built to make the community better? Of course, there are, but the City needs energetic and innovative people, especially young people, to build those things.
Cornwall offers an opportunity that you cannot get in Toronto, or Montreal, or Ottawa, or New York City and that is the possibility to make a real lasting mark, one that will be felt long after the person who made it is gone.
I learned about another ambitious youth in Cornwall. This St. Joes student graduated this year and has spent most of her life volunteering in our community, so much so that she’s already been
recognized with the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. Imagine that, a teenager, from Cornwall, has already been recognized with one of the highest civilian honours in our country and she did so by helping her community. I hope this young lady does leave, and goes off to school, and gets smart and fills her head with wonderful ideas, but then I also hope that she comes back home and uses that knowledge to make a big impact.
What do you think readers? I want to know how we can make our community better? Is there a future for youths in Cornwall who choose to stay? Email me a Letter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org