EDITORIAL: Have faith in our community, and make sure to tell others

Alberni Valley businesses had the chance to shine on April 26…

Alberni Valley businesses had the chance to shine on April 26 during the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Community Excellence Awards, and they did just that in front of a sold out crowd at the Italian Hall.

The awards have expanded to 18 now, recognizing businesses for everything from excellence to service, social media presence or sustainability. There are awards for citizen of the year, youth of the year and women in leadership. They highlight veteran businesspeople as well as those who are breaking into Port Alberni’s economy.

A week later, the Young Professionals of the Alberni Valley held their first awards, naming a distinguished alumni, a change agent and a valued partnership. The award categories were well thought out, and speak to the direction this organization is headed.

It’s important to recognize good business practices and celebrate successes. The chamber has done this, and so has the YPAV. Their efforts have been noticed within the community, as well as outside the Alberni Valley.

The latter points to why it is so important to proudly promote our community outside our boundaries.

Anthony Everett, the president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island, raved about the professionalism and celebration of the awards. Everett was the keynote speaker this year, and he talked about how communities don’t do enough to blow their own horn.

He related stories from two communities where he has lived and worked, hearing residents telling visitors to go elsewhere for products or services—the message being, ‘there’s nothing important in our community.’

Everett pointed out this attitude is counter-productive to a city’s success.

Take the tongue-in-cheek ‘Worst Place to Live’ social media campaign from a few years ago. Those of us living in the Alberni Valley who were in on the joke and the sarcasm thought it was hilarious. Those who promote our city for a living, though, sought to stamp out the campaign because the jokes didn’t go over so well for people who weren’t ‘in the know’.

The Alberni Valley has a lot going for it, and has a thriving business scene full of entrepreneurs and people who have faith in our community.

We need to take Everett’s advice and show others that we too have faith in our community, and are willing to crow about it.

— Alberni Valley News

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