Some may say that I'm pretty naïve and assume that I see the world with rose-coloured glasses, but the Estevan community keeps fascinating me in the best way possible, and I insist I have pretty clear thinking. And here is why.
Now that COVID-19 restrictions are off the table, many events and activities are back and flourish more than ever. For me, as the general reporter, it means that my work weekends become as busy as they used to be in 2019. But after this forced break, everything seems fresh, allowing me to see things and people from a different perspective.
This last weekend started off for me with an event at the Trinity Lutheran Church, where Shelley Boyes of Choose Life Ministry – a place that helps women who got lost in their lives get back on track, overcome addictions and find their way – shared a story of how she ended up creating one of the very few facilities of this kind in North America.
And while her story included a tragic personal page, as did the stories of some of their patrons, what impressed me the most that day was the problem-solving approach she followed. She wanted to do something to make it better, so despite all the challenges and difficulties she'd face along the way, she brought together something that indeed made a difference for dozens of women, which means changes for the better for hundreds if not thousands of people around them.
My next stop that day was the motocross. To tell you the truth, it was my first time at the facility. And that's where it started getting to me. I came down to that nicely organized place, where many families were enjoying their afternoon watching their kids, partners and friends race. It was interesting to watch and awesome to be there. And I couldn't resist thinking that I know no other place of the size of Estevan or bigger that would have what we do.
Before moving to Estevan, I lived in Winnipeg for a while, and of course, for most of my years, I lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, and explored many countries, cities and towns around it. Besides, some conscious travels gave me an idea about other places such as several communities in Poland, Israel and others.
And never have I ever seen that people would just come together and get things going like they do in Estevan. In Russia, most things were done through the federal budget, which meant they usually took a long time and were fulfilled the way the government saw it, or never came to fruition at all. In other places systems were more or less decentralized, so they served the real needs better. But it always came from above.
My last stop for the day was the Sun City Prop Busters Radio Control Club's fly field – another first-ever experience. A group of people that just love flying little planes or driving R/C vehicles got together some 30 years ago and got it going. They organized a club, certified the field, built a nice clubhouse, finished a 1/10th scale R/C truck racing oval and started a bump and jump track, all so that they and others could have another option for having fun and enjoying a pretty unique hobby. They wanted something, and they got it done. Check mark.
None of the three stories above, much like stories behind many other facilities Estevan has, would be possible without, first, someone's will and dedication, and second, the support, be it financial or physical, from people in Estevan. Thousands of people are behind everything our tiny community (on the global scale) has and enjoys. Those are people who know that if we want to have something, we have to do it ourselves. And that's something I've never seen anywhere else. Definitely not to Estevan's level.
Saturday had me amazed, but apparently, that wasn't the end of my emotional journey.
On Sunday, I stopped by Woodlawn for their 60th anniversary for Regional Park status. With this one, I was pretty sure that at least things like bigger parks are not fuelled by local initiatives.
I was there listening to the memories about how the park has been developing through the years, and I realized that I couldn't have been more wrong. While I'm sure the process of acquiring a status for the park is done through higher levels of government, we'd never have the two sites at Woodlawn Park flourishing the way they are if not for local people, who dedicated thousands of hours of their lives to bring it together. We'd never have any campsites, dog parks, outdoor gym, boat launches, shooting range or anything else we all can enjoy there, if not for those people of Estevan that set their minds and got it done.
By the end of the day on Sunday, I was sitting on my deck and thinking that while Estevan wasn't really a place I chose to move to, after meeting all these people and discovering their superpowers to make the world around them a better place, it's definitely a place a chose to live in. And I'm forever grateful to Estevan's amazing community.