Growing up in Port Morien then, there always seemed to be adults who selflessly volunteered to offer guidance and leadership to the youth of our community. We all remember who they were and are grateful for their dedication. They have stepped in to take over the rink, coach ball teams, volunteer as scout and adventurer leaders, guides, lead church groups and the list goes on.
The time and effort put in by these volunteers has had a positive and lasting impact on our formative years. This tradition of volunteerism continued when my own children were growing up in the village.
One only has to look at recent school enrollment to realize that there are far fewer children in our local communities than there were in years past. However, there seems to be a local mini “baby boom” lately. Once again, volunteers came forward to organize activities for the benefit of these young people.
The Donkin Morien Community Association was formed last May and incorporated into the condominium share register in July. The president of the group is Katherine Snow (full disclosure – she’s my daughter). She is part of a very motivated group. Their mission, as stated on their Facebook page, is to “build community and create spaces to play, gather and grow.” Their initial objective is the improvement of playgrounds in Port Morien and Donkin.
The group has an ambitious program. They sponsored a bake sale during the Legion Country Market, then turned to preparations for the Halloween season. On October 22, they sponsored a Halloween party for children at the Donkin Fire Station with admission by voluntary donations.
In keeping with the Halloween theme, the following evening a book launch was held at the Port Morien Legion. I had donated all proceeds from a ghost story book I had written called Spirits, Specters and Restless Souls to the group. The event was hosted by CBC Mainstreet host Wendy Bergfeldt. Attendees heard a captivating presentation on the “Black Brook Witch” by Susan MacNeil Singh. Susan works at the Beaton Institute and has family roots in the area. The first printing of the book is sold out and orders are being taken for more.
The group also has ambitious plans for the future. An online draw is in preparation. The draw will take place at a community social event sponsored by the group on November 12 at the Donkin Fire Station. A number of Christmas ideas are also in the works.
Planned improvements to the two play areas will address accessibility issues. Current equipment will be upgraded and new components will be installed. The cost could reach $100,000, but initial fundraising has been very encouraging. Many members of the community and outside have supported the group’s efforts and made generous donations. This prompted the members of the Donkin Morien Community Association to work even harder to achieve their goals.
The association always welcomes new members. If you would like to join the group or make a donation, you can reach him on his Donkin Morien Community Association Facebook page or by email at [email protected] Books can be ordered until November 9.
Community spirit is alive and well in many of our local communities. The Donkin Morien Community Association continues this community-focused heritage and tradition. Citizens are still volunteering their time and effort to provide our children with improved recreational facilities and social activities. More importantly, based on my experience growing up, they help create treasured childhood memories that will last a lifetime.
– Ken MacDonald is a retired teacher and school administrator and community volunteer. His family goes back seven generations to Port Morien, where he has lived most of his life.