It’s a given — with the New Year upon us, we ponder resolutions and changes to make 2018 better.
Much of that is personal: we want to lose weight, quit smoking, rid ourselves of bad habits. But how about turning our attention to what we can do to make changes in our community?
Community is an extension of our personal self. We can be a product of that environment or we can do our part to bring about the change we want to see.
With that in mind, here are five things you can do in 2018 to bring positive change to the Osoyoos community.
Get familiar with Granicus
Did you know you can follow along with Town of Osoyoos Council meetings from the comfort of your home?
The Town provides live (and archived) video coverage of regular and special council meetings using Granicus, a digital service suite that includes online broadcasts.
The broadcasts are organized by agenda item, which means you can skip all the boring stuff like adoption of minutes and account approvals and watch the debate on local items of particular interest to you.
That means you can get a pretty good grasp of what Council is up to by spending about 15 minutes twice a month watching your computer.
To access Council meetings, visit osoyoos.ca and follow the Council link.
Join a local credit union
When it comes to banking, most people don’t have a clue about the differences between a chartered bank and a credit union. That’s too bad, because doing your “banking” with a credit union is a great way to build your local community.
Credit unions are owned by the local members, who elect a local board of directors to provide oversight to credit union business. That generally means more community input on how generated profits are disbursed — they’re usually returned to the credit union’s membership or invested in the community.
Contrast that with banks, which are generally owned by shareholders located outside of the community. Virtually all of the profits — upwards of $35 billion in Canada annually — go into private pockets.
Both offer many of the same services delivered by Canada’s largest banks — usually with lower fees — including online banking, deposit security and in-branch services.
Share your recyclables
Osoyoos is home to several community organizations that provide an alternative to discarding unwanted clothing, furniture and other household items. Rather than sending those items to the dump, consider donating them for inexpensive purchase by other residents in the community.
The Southern Okanagan Association for Integrated Community Living (SOAICL), through its Community Living Auxilary, operates a Saturday morning flea market in Osoyoos. The market offers everything from furniture and household items to tools, books and recreational equipment at a fraction of its original cost. All of the items are donated, with proceedings going to support SOAICL efforts.
The market runs between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 8905 Main Street, downstairs from Double O Bikes.
Across town, in the Osoyoos United Church basement, the Dorcas Ladies Thrift Shop offers gently-used clothing and small household items donated from within the community.
Proceeds from the thrift shop, which has successfully operated for more than 50 years, are returned to the South Okanagan community with donations to local organizations and charities.
The Thrift Shop is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Its entrance is at the back of the church.
By the way, there are other places to donate in the community, among them the Osoyoos Food Bank and the Gift Cupboard.
One of the best ways to invest in Osoyoos is to shop in Osoyoos. That’s because, on average, for every $1 spent in a local shop about 63 cents will be reinvested back into the community.
Shopping locally means you’ll save on gas and wear and tear on your vehicle, you’ll save travel time and, as an added bonus, you’ll get to know your neighbours a whole lot better.
Best of all, you’re living the golden rule: doing for others what you would want them to do to you.
Shopping locally includes supporting local restaurants and other services.
Instead of dwelling on all of the reasons you don’t shop locally — a perceived lack of selection, higher prices, etc. — why not look for the reasons it makes sense to spend your money in town?
Get out more
The more demand there is for Osoyoos events and services, the more they will be provided. It’s that simple.
Want to see more entertainment in the community? Attend the events currently offered. Help sell them out. Like to see more recreational programming? Zip up the Nikes and head for the door.
Join a service club. Many of the more established clubs — the Elks, Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, Rotary and Soroptimists — have local chapters and are always looking for new members.
More than 70 other special interest clubs host regular local meetings and get-togethers.
Getting out more is a great way to make new friends, better understand your community and contribute in a concerted effort to help with community-building.
Best of all, it will keep you off the couch.
There you have it: five easy life changes that will improve the community you call home. It’s January 2; get started today.