In 2014, as a fresh graduate from Sydney Academy, I wanted nothing more than to leave Cape Breton. I was yearning for freedom and independence. I think that’s pretty typical for most 18 year-olds. A lot of people thought I wanted to leave to be in a bigger city, but that wasn’t the case. It’s funny because most of my friends headed to Halifax, some stayed here, and I moved to Sackville, New Brunswick, and spent four years at Mount Allison University.
I always had a pretty strong sense of community- one that only got stronger after living in a VERY small town of 5,000 people. It’s such a cliché, but Mount A and the Town of Sackville really helped me find myself and grow into the person I really wanted to be.
By 2018, when all my friends were deciding what was next for them, I was really struggling. There was one thing that was clear, I loved community. And there was no better community to learn from than my own. After four years away, I moved back to Cape Breton and began a very exciting new journey pursuing my MBA in Community Economic Development.
Once you live away from home for a little bit, you truly appreciate everything about it. The reasons I wanted to leave so badly in high school very quickly became the things that made me fall in love with Cape Breton all over again.
I moved back as a completely different person. One that wanted to make other people see the things that make my home such a special place. It helped that I surrounded myself with incredible people. I forced myself to get out and get connected. I’d be silly not to thank my Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation and Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce families for helping me do this.
Now, 2 years later, at 24, I’ve started my career dreams and advocating to make my community a better place every single day. I know we have a lot of work to do and I know there are so many of us in Cape Breton with the same goal. I’m a firm believer that in order to get things done, we need to work together and share our ideas. For me, becoming a board member of NextGen Unama’ki means I can do exactly that.
I’ve been looking for opportunities to join a board that supported a cause I’m really passionate about and that’s why I am so excited to join the NextGen team as one of the newest board members! The work NextGen has done over the years has proven that they’re truly a catalyst for engagement and use their voice for empowering young leaders to be the change.
Great things are happening in Cape Breton/ Unama’ki and I cannot wait to see how we can work together to reach our full potential. I hope that I can play a role in encouraging and inspiring more young Capers to get involved in their community, the same way that so many did for me!