Among them was newly elected Tumbler Ridge Councillor Beverly Litster, who says she’ll be taking the knowledge that she gained back to her community.
“I’m going to build a different group of community members so we’ll have a diversity plan with that of engaged people, and then from there, develop an action plan and work with Northern Health to make Tumbler a much healthier community that it is today.”
Not only was the session a chance for participants to learn more about how individuals, organizations and communities themselves can improve their health, it was also a chance to network and build relationships with stakeholders. Litster says she’s taken away a better understanding of the need to get the right group of diverse people who have a vested interest in the community to get the process going.
“I met some really great people and it’s going to allow me to build a network for myself for other resources,” she explains. “You have to gather people together to make things work.”
Back home, she’ll be reaching out to seniors groups, major employers in town, RCMP, local government officials, and healthcare providers, as well as other community groups that might be able to play a role in improving the community’s overall health. Litster understands that the way everyone sees a healthy community is different, so having a variety of input is key to success.
“I’ve come to realize that everyone’s definition is something different, and so it’s going to be a challenge to find something that’s common and then to tweak people’s perceptions and move something forward.”
She acknowledges that the session is the first step in a long journey to improve her community.
A Healthy Communities session was held in Terrace earlier in October, and a third will be held in Prince George on November 13.