Columns — 13 March 2018

Rhonda Beckman

Published: February 21, 2018

Last week I started to detail some of the results coming out of the recently posted survey to the Revitalize Red Lake facebook page.

This week I would like to address some of the comments that were made regarding the Revitalize Red Lake group itself. One person wrote, “I find it is cliquey. The revitalize RL meetings/groups/projects are very intimidating. Not welcoming at all.” When Revitalize was first initiated, we had monthly meetings that were open to the public. We advertised that we would like to develop volunteer groups and gave workshops based on how to volunteer without burn out, etc. We did brainstorming sessions about what kind of changes could occur in the district and there was a TON of positive feedback. There were four of us in the core group which has whittled down to two of us. (The others are heavily involved with other community initiatives which bring creative ventures to the district.) We met during the day to organize meetings so that we could bring information to others in the community and always welcomed everyone. What I truly need to re-iterate here very strongly is that Revitalize Red Lake is not about being a private club. It’s about YOU taking action for something that YOU strongly believe in. Even with the minimal amount of volunteering that has happened, I have personally decided that I am going to take action and do things that I feel benefit the community. That is why I have been adamant about getting the reclaim room at the new transfer station up and running. It’s important to me as an individual.  I also run the Facebook group almost entirely by myself and do all monitoring of posts, et al. I make all of the posters that advertise different events on my own time as a volunteer. I spend time meeting with municipal members to learn more about how I can work with the municipality and support their initiatives. I write articles, like this one, about Revitalize Red Lake. Aileen Yakiwchuk, the other member of Revitalize Red Lake, cruises around town with me as we talk about derelict buildings and take photos of people’s Christmas lights. We have draws and contests that support members of the community. Aileen is on several committees and brings back information so that we can figure out ways to support different volunteer initiatives. We take money out of our own pockets and time from our personal and work lives because we love this town. If that’s considered cliquey and intimidating, so be it. I simply ask that you go ahead and take action on your own. It’s doable and you don’t need me to do it.

Another comment was that the Revitalize Red Lake page should not advertise home based businesses. Home-based businesses are a huge, important part of the community that gives so much to the local economy. Twice a year, the CCDC runs a trade show specifically for home based businesses. Have you ever gone to one? It fills up the whole Legion hall and has over 400 people on average walk through the doors. They are just as important as the other businesses in Red Lake and we invite them to all advertise on Mondays on the Revitalize Red Lake page. We notice that most large businesses in the community don’t, but the offer is there for them too.

Someone asked if we should consider changing the name since it is assumed that Red Lake is now “revitalized”. I think we’ve still got a ways to go. There are so many issues that the community has come forward saying they would like addressed, and I believe until that happens, we are still in revitalization mode.

But other than that, the feedback was spectacular and gave me the incentive to keep on doing what I love to do. Here’s what some of the comments were: “Thanks for all the hard work! I’m not there anymore, but grew up there, and I really love watching the community evolve and grow,” “I love this! Keeps me informed without having to go look for info,” “Perhaps the newspaper can use some of the postings for a regular feature. It’d be great to see what folks are thankful for and perhaps the events that will be happening in the area.”

Now that you know what the consensus is for Revitalize Red Lake, and you have a bit of an idea of how the group itself works, what are YOU going to do to take action in the community that you love?! We’d love to hear about it and more than that, we’d love to see you take action and do it!


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Jennifer Parsons

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