Our communities priorities

Since deciding to offer as a candidate, I thought I should learn more about the communities in other areas. I have been looking over the needs assessments and the most recent report against those priorities.  I found both the data on the areas, the priorities established and the results achieved very interesting. Below I have listed the priorities for each area and hyperlinked the document with most recent results. (below the table)

Before starting to look at the differences in the communities in the Horizon Health network, it was important to recognize  the 12 factors that they consider  when determining  what influences our health., namely:

  • Income and Social Status
  • Social Support Networks
  • Education and Literacy
  • Employment and Working Conditions
  • Social Environment
  • Physical Environment
  • Personal Health Practices and Coping Skills
  • Healthy Child Development
  • Biology and Genetic Endowment
  • Health Services
  • Gender
  • Culture

The Public Agency of Canada Social Determinants of Health are: 10% Health Services, 40% Health Behaviours , 10% Physical Environment and 40% Social & Economic Health Factors. 

Tobique and Perth Andover Area

Carleton County

Nackawic, Harvey, McAdam, Canterbury Area

Oromocto & Area – 2018 Priorities

What influences me to be a volunteer?

I was fortunate to grow up and still live in a world with very strong role models. Growing up in a family of twelve, losing our dad when there were still seven at home, it was a crazy busy childhood. Maybe that’s why I still crave being busy and yet can still cherish those quiet moments.

Our family is a true reflection of that saying: “it takes a community to raise a child”. I grew up in an era where it was easy to become independent as a child.  It was safe to send me to the store to pick up groceries needed for lunch or leave the house to play in the morning and never check in until supper.  If I did something wrong or went somewhere I shouldn’t go, my mom knew it before I arrived home. It was not unusual for me or my siblings to be disciplined or reminded of our manners by other adults.

I never thought as my mom as being a strong person at that time. Now, even knowing she had outside help or the chores we all had to do before sports activities, I know how challenging life must have been. She had to be strong. Days before my mom passed away, the doctors met with her and talked to he about her condition and her choices. She made the choice of no extraordinary measures and never faltered in her faith and her resolve. That was one more thing she did for her family and showed the true strength of our mom.

I come from a family of volunteers.  Most have been involved in various fraternities and always worked at community events.  Doing the chicken dinner at Harvey fair days was one of our family traditions and I remember those days fondly. I can still here “Chicken, come and get your chicken” ringing in my head.

My dad was a volunteer. My brothers and sisters have chosen to contribute in so many areas that are personal to them: volunteering at animal sanctuaries, community municipal positions, leadership roles at church, community boards, community dinners, fundraisers, Red Cross, Ability NB, education related, sports related; the list goes on.  I married into a family of volunteers.  While my mother-in- law chose things related to her love of curling, golfing and politics, my father-in-law chose SPCA, Rotary, ODD Fellows and other fraternal organizations. Stuart of course has been involved in so many organizations, sometimes seven boards at once while working full time. Ducks Unlimited, Nature Trust, nursing home board, Kings Landing, Chamber of Commerce, national and regional organizations related to the office products industry, Lake Associations and again the list goes on.

As a teenager the Recreation Centre was being built and a focal point in my life.  While there were so many that I think involved in the donation of land, resources and time to build it, I think often of Jennie Fletcher and Fran Little working the door at dances knowing if I misbehaved  in any manner they would know and there would be repercussions. Jennie offered her basement to my first volunteer work, Secretary of the Kindness Club. There were as many strong women role models as there were male role models.

I look around my community (and every other one in NB) and know without volunteer Fire Departments, Lions Clubs, Masonic Lodges, Curling Clubs,  Churches, recreation centres, Skating/Hockey rinks, craft guilds, health and community services, and all those other organizations, we would not have communities.  We would not have families returning “home” to live.  Our communities are built on the life blood of volunteers. It is community that makes us proud of where we grow up and want to be part of something great. I like being able to say New Brunswick is a great place to grow up.  

So, I could sit by and hope other people hold the values of strong family, strong community the same way I do, or I can be involved.   I look around now and see younger people (Younger being a relative term) stepping forward and being community leaders, leading change and feel nothing but pride.  Many are following in the steps of great role models in their family and community. They make me want to be part of that change. Yes, sometimes I say, “I am going to back off doing a few of those volunteer things”, and then another great cause or need comes along and now here I am, ready for the next challenge.

What does the Regional Health Authority Board do?

The successful candidate for the Regional Health Authority will join the board for the Horizon Network. The Board is mandated “to control and manage the business and affairs of Horizon strives to build and maintain strong and effective relationships with its communities through open public Board meetings on matters relating to the general governance and operations of Horizon.” 

A five-year strategy identified four strategic directions and highlights the importance of working with community partners and clinicians. The 2019-20 fiscal year is the last year guided by Horizon’s current, five-year Strategic Plan. Over the past year, Horizon began reviewing the current plan, and a new Strategic Plan is being developed.

One of the tools used is the Community Health Needs Assessments. CHNAs help identify priority areas in the community that need attention and support the development of action plans to address them.  You can find information on your community/area here: https://en.horizonnb.ca/community-health-needs-assessments-map.aspx

Why do we vote?

While thinking about why people should vote for me I began thinking about why I have voted in the past.  There have been times where I had to motivate myself to go to the polls.

For example, if you don’t live in a municipality and cannot vote for a mayor or councilor, then you can vote for a candidate for a Regional Health Authority or a District Education Council. What if you don’t know those people?  Or if there is no one offering for one of those positions, what will motivate you to go out for that one candidate?

I grew up in a family environment where voting was always a responsibility. The first year I went to university my grandfather made sure that I intended to vote, knew where to go, etc.  Of course he also made sure to ask me if I knew who to vote for as there was not really a choice in his mind.  At that age I felt as if your identity was based on the party you voted for where in later years I understood that the party or candidate needed to reflect my values.  I also voted because it made me feel a part of a group I wanted to be part of, the adult world. Grownups voted  hence, I vote I must be a grown up also.

Sometimes voting can seem pointless. We may want to vote for a candidate that we do not anticipate will win. (There is always hope). Voting for me is more than my “civic” duty to vote. I vote because I believe it makes a difference, even if my vote is lost.  Even losing votes can say a lot and make a difference.  If a party or candidate loses in a close vote, perhaps the winning party/candidate may take a closer look at why so many people voted for their opponent.  People often vote when issues are personal to them or they have strong opinions, at least that has moved me to polls in the past.

Sometimes it is inconvenient to go to the polls to vote. It can be time consuming in our busy lives, weather may be bad, and there can be lines, which in the current environment can be intimidating.  Luckily now we can vote by mail if we wish.

If I have made the effort to find out about a candidate and fulfilled my obligations to vote, I feel entitled to voice my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, everybody is entitled to an opinion but along with rights come responsibilities and for me personally, these two things go hand in hand.  Maybe we vote due to the social expectations of those we know. Perhaps we like to support someone that think can produce concrete results or best represent our needs or values.  There are many reasons why we don’t bother to vote but lots of reasons why we should.

Regardless of your reasons, or who you vote for, just decide to vote.

April 12

When I began thinking about offering as a candidate there seemed to be many seats in municipalities, District Education Councils (DEC) and Regional Health Authorities that were vacant and no one offering as a candidate. Currently out of all the municipalities, there are 12 where elections will not be held due to lack of candidates; vacant positions may be filled, but no elections will be held.

For Regional Health Authority positions, either vacancies are filled or there will be elections. By contrast when I look at the DEC s there are six sub regions where there are seats and no one offering in those areas. I find this interesting but not sure why there are not candidates offering. I know that education is as vital in our communities as health services. I don’t know if this is an abnormal election year. Perhaps it is parents who normally express interest and they are more tired and busier this year with the pandemic. As we are not blessed with children of our own, volunteering for education or school related activities is not a volunteer area that I have given much thought. The population of NB is aging and health is of concern to “us seniors” . Without quality education will we attract or retain our young people in our communities?

These were just questions that wandered through my thoughts today. In future posts maybe I will talk about some of the reasons I have been involved in community activities and volunteer work in general. If someone has the answers to some of my rambling questions, drop me a line; in the meantime it is just food for my thoughts.

April 9

Nominations closed today at 2:00, there are three other candidates offering for this subregion. This subregion covers areas from Hoyt, Fredericton Junction, Central Blissville, Geary, Hanwell, west to Brockway and McAdam and as far north as New Denmark and Nictau. It includes Upper Kingsclear, Zealand and Burtts Corner but not Keswick.